This was by far the most bizarre race I’ve done, mainly because I race XC and this was my first ever road race. Rather than an all out sprint at the start, the race began with a gradual ride down San Pablo Dam Road. For the first few miles I was in the middle of the pack, constantly being passed by incredibly aggressive riders and slowly getting pushed farther back in the pack. My main goal was just to not crash.
After 20ish miles we reached the first climb and the pack began to separate as the pace increased. Funny enough this shifted me from middle of the pack all the way to around top 10. Then this became even more distinct after the Papa Bear climb. Finally I had caught up to the other riders on my team, all of us being in the top 10 riders.
Then on the flats of the 2nd lap, just as before, the more aggressive riders passed me and I was shot back to approximately 20th. My goals, after seeing I was able to stick to the front, were trying to stick with the lead pack and to again not crash. As we got closer to the Mama Bear climb the pace began to pick up, then as we hit the climb I had to do a slightly high pace, still nothing compared to anything I’ve done before in XC. As we rode through the hills the pack became increasingly more separate.
Then finally on the last climb my teammates and I were in the front and went to a full out effort, going as hard as we could for the 3 minute effort. All of us together until the final 200 meter sprint, which was the most brutal. During that sprint I was able to move from 4th all the way to 2nd, beating one of my teammates but losing to the other. As soon as I passed the finish line my legs failed and I had to coast over our group of parents. I reached them, set my bike down then instantly collapsed onto the ground and sat down, my legs completely shot after the all out sprint. This was by far the most unique race I’ve ever done but it was also a super fun race and I look forward to racing on the road in the future.