For the 3rd round of the US Cup, we were back on the dusty slopes of Bonelli Park in San Dimas, CA. The course hardly resembled the first version only a few weeks prior--it was far better despite a chewed up track with plenty of loose corners, braking bumps and enough rocks to carefully consider tire selection. This was an HC level event, which means there are enough UCI points up for grab to attract some top-international racers.
I came into the race virtually tied with Erin Huck for 5th place (only a few points separated us) in the US Cup series and confident in my form, equipment and support. I decided to race my Air 9 RDO hardtail as the course had a lot of short, punchy climbs and I believed that bike would give me a slight advantage climbing. While the descents were rough, I’m used to rough; and there were no stretches long enough to cause major separation.
I finished in 6th place that day and wasn’t sure if I should be laughing or crying at the finish. I felt both extremely disappointed and excited over my performance. There’s a big difference between 5th place and 6th place, and I essentially gave away a podium spot in one of my most pathetic crashes ever. I went over-the-bars on a rock feature in the last couple minutes of racing. While unscrambling myself from my bike, both of my calves seized up and I wound up momentarily immobilized on the side of the trail as Georgia Gould made her move. This hurt a little extra as I had somehow managed to pedal my way from 8th place up to 5th in the last two laps of racing and was clearing making up time on the front of the race. My legs felt great. I felt strong on all the punchy climbs (so I made the right bike choice) and I kept reminding myself that I wasn’t hurting quite as bad as I had hurt doing some intervals the week before. Apparently those intervals worked, or at least the memory of them did.
Since we race short track in the afternoon, I used the morning to get in a little endurance training on board my Niner BSB and ride some of the roads around Bonelli Park. It felt great to pedal the morning after such a physical race, especially since I hit the deck hard and had my calves cramp so bad. Short track is one of my favorite formats of racing, it’s fast, tactical and requires some intense focus--and then it’s over. The Bonelli course is extremely fast and doesn’t lend itself to much separation unless there are some team dynamics at play. In a really disappointing repeat from the day before, I wound up OTB once again, chased for half the race, made contact with the lead group with two laps to go and then got schooled by a very savvy Emily Batty on the last lap and botched my chance for a podium finish. The crash occurred when I tried to avoid a rider who overshot a corner, wound up outside the course tape and hit a gigantic stump (which I never saw until it was directly in front of me). Once again, it was completely my fault. I was in the wrong spot and didn’t give myself any room to maneuver. Apparently, I’m keeping myself motivated for the next two weekends of racing.
While we didn’t plan our reunion for #NationalSiblingDay last Friday, my twin sister, Shannon, showed up in SoCal that day and we spent most of the weekend together. She had some good heckles (“Go faster, Chlo!”), which helped. We also had a great dinner with the Arizona Devo riders the night before the race. As always, the support from Kenny Wehn and Stan’s NoTubes was crucial.
My teammate, Kaylee Blevins had a solid race, finishing in 25th in the XC in a stacked field. It was fun hanging out with her over the weekend.
Thanks for checking in!