I went to Versailles without a lot of optimism about how I would do, but I still went because, good or bad, I wanted to know for sure. It turns out that it went okay.
I came away from the Muscatatuck race more than a little mentally broken. I can't really explain this, except for the fact a I'd been struggling in my training since May, it was obvioius that I wasn't going to be getting my Cat 1 upgrade back this year, and I let a woman racing in a bra top and old lady perfume push me around.
I'm not really sure how much I trained since that race, but it sure wasn't much, except for the weekend when I did the Nashville 90 on Saturday and four hours MTB on Sunday. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it is that I want from the rest of the season and what I need to do to get it. I decided that since I was feeling really down on XC racing, I should go to Versailles and it give it one more shot on a course that I liked, and if it went badly I could skip Logansport and Town Run. I took a few days off and committed to start my base training for 'cross and the Berryman Epic this week, whether I was feeling good after Versailles or not.
So I showed up at the race late and with little preparation, but also with little worry. I told myself to "just do it" and whatever would be would be. This meant that I took off at a pace that felt good to me and didn't look to see the order in which we reached the singletrack. When we got there, I found myself on Amelia Nelson's wheel and figured that was a good place to be and I should just work on staying there. So I stayed. And stayed. And stayed.
When we reached the Cliffside trail, I got a better view of what was going on. I was fifth in a train of girls and the leader was not going that fast, and wasn't doing much to allow the passing efforts of the girls immediately behind her. I have a feeling this probably happens to guys all the time, but it's a rare occurance in a women's race. I struggled with the multiple stall outs and accelerations, which required more effort and yielded a slower pace than I would have done by myself. Then a couple of Cat 1 girls got through and broke away, and I was left with just the two girls who had finished immediately ahead of me at both BCSP and French Lick. While the category leaders were well ahead, I was satisfied with the opportunity that was presented before me.
I started feeling taxed and got gapped by the two girls ahead. Jeni, who had been wisely biding her time a few bike lengths back while we all ran each other over, used the opportunity to make her move and passed me. She quickly passed others as well and was gone. I soon started feeling good again and bridged back up to the other girls to find that they had slowed to a pace that I found excessively comfortable for a race situation. Amelia let me through not long after, and I made a fairly aggressive pass (yay me) around Christina, then took off after Jeni. I rode hard and could tell I was making up ground, but I ran out of trail. I finished 14 seconds behind her in 4th place.
So now I'm feeling a lot better about the rest of the year. I'm actually looking forward to Logansport, although I'm still ambivalent about Town Run. I'm excited about the DINO 6/12/24, although I keep flipping back and forth about whether I want to do the 6 or 12 hour solo. I want to accomplish more than just doing four laps faster than last year, but I don't think I'm fast enough to do five, so I kinda want to shoot for the 100-mile mark in the 12 hour. However, a 12 hour race would take a lot out of me, and I want to be recovered in time to give a proper debut to the tiny, adorable, and super light Giant TCX W that arrived yesterday. (Pictures when it's finished.)