I’ll go first this year and kick off the riders stories, as the coaches only get to do the practice races. I arrived at Fort Ord to see many riders with their fresh race plates riding excitedly around. For close to half the team this was their first race ever. It was not my first ride at Fort Ord, but it was my first race there.
I found a few riders and did a pre-ride with them. The course didn’t have much climbing. It was a fast ride with lots of flowing single track. Riding in Tilden, we don’t get much of this. We’re used to hills and fire roads.
The first start was casually organized. The riders just lined up where they thought the start was at about the time listed in the race flyer. About 10 minutes after the scheduled start time, the race official came out and organized everyone. Shortly after, they were off. I rode around the course to watch riders go by and cheer them on.
I did my warm up with other riders from the team. Our race start was just as confusing as the first, but we were eventually organized and sent off. At the start, I kept John in my sight hoping to keep pace with him. I kept up with him for almost 2 laps before falling back from his group.
With the pressure off, I still rode hard, but enjoyed it a bit more. It was fun to see many riders from the team when we passed at intersections. It was also nice to have a crowd cheering me on. Each time I rode past someone I knew I tried to work on my race face smile, but I suspect I’ll crack up when I see those photos.
I finished feeling good about my race, and excited for all of my teammates. Overall the team did great. Many completed their first race. Many made it on the podium. I saw a lot of accomplished racers out there today. I hope all had as much fun as I did.