Angel Fire Pro XCT C1

Angel Fire Race Result:

Pro XCT C1: 10th
     8,500 feet: the start line of the Angel Fire Pro XCT. 300 feet: the elevation I’m from. Knowing that most of the competitors were from elevation, I knew that this race would be all about patience for me. I had a great start and relaxed into a position in the middle of the pack. I focused on keeping a high cadence up the climb and keeping myself below the red line. I reached the top of the climb in 9th and got risky on the descent which was crawling with loose dirt and berms. Going into the 2nd lap I was relaxed and completely within myself so I increased the speed a little more, moving into 7th place and gaining. I felt my confidence rising and I was happy to be in the packing and fighting for position. Descending in a group really forced me to hone in on my skills and take new lines in order to make up time in the downhill. On the 3rd lap my effort caught up with me; after about an 8 minute steady climb, the climb became steeper and it seemed like the air became thinner. I had to back off a bit in order to recover for the final two laps. After such a strong start the last thing I wanted to do was slow down, but I had to show the elevation respect in order to come back even stronger in the end. I came through the 3rd lap in 10th and held a steady pace on the 4th, and finally giving it a big punch to  make up time on the 5th lap. I was happy to finish in 10th, especially as a sea level girl breathing through a straw. It was the perfect practice for the national championship which will also be over 8,000 feet.
On Sunday, my drinking straw became a coffee stirrer as I suffered in the short track. I knew I had no time to be patient in such a short race and I went from the gun and held on strong for the first few laps.  Once I was hypoxic I relied on the downhills to make up time and I had fun railing the descents. The steep stair sections were a good opportunity to practice airing it out and landing with arms deprived of oxygen delivery. Up next I’ll be heading to Mammoth Mountain in a few weeks to get there early and acclimate to the elevation for the USA National Championship!
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