This weekend marked the first races of my second Cat. 2 mountain bike career. Well, technically, I've never been a Cat. 2; it was still Sport last time I did it. While catting down was a really hard decision to make, I think it was the right one, at least for now.
Saturday was a pretty good day for the most part. I did the STXC, but wussed out on the downhill, because it started raining really hard. I thought I had a shot at clearing some or most of it dry, but wet was another story. I think now I will officially concede my attempts/plans at completing the DINO downhill in the near future.
The short track went pretty good, I think. I expected to feel bad since I'm still really off my form due to my break from training, but I didn't feel bad. I honestly didn't feel much of anything, except the normal pain one expects to feel in that sort of situation. However, it was just bike racing pain and it wasn't distressing, so I guess that means I felt good.
I was the only girl in my class, so I'm now the Cat. 2 "state champion" for STXC. More importantly, I finished within what I felt was a respectable distance of the Pro/Cat 1 girls. Two of them were extremely good cyclocross racers who are way out of my league, but I was able to stay within 2 minutes of the third and fourth place racers. Considering that they usually beat me by 30 minutes in full-length XC races, that's pretty good.
Today was not so good. As I mentioned, the sky opened up at the conclusion of the short track races and it continued to pour until early this morning. The course was a muddy mess and my priorities quickly switched from racing to staying upright and going fast when I could. There were four girls in the class, but the top two were badassedly fast girls who just started racing this season. They finished within seconds of eachother in a time that would be good for the usual crop of Sport/Cat 2 women in dry conditions. I finished about 20 minutes later in third, in a time that was pretty terrible, but not unexpected, considering the mud. So, for today, catting down didn't save me one bit of butt-kicking, but it did save me one lap of mud-filled torture, and for that I am grateful.
No one was around to snap the requisite mud-covered pictures of me after the race, and I didn't want to sit around in the muddy kit longer than I had to, so here are my attempts to document today's conditions.