Day 6 of BC Bike Race was FUN! Every time I ride my bike I feel some element of joy, but today I felt like I couldn’t keep the smile off of my face.
Today was the shortest day of the race, but short definitely didn’t mean easy. The stage featured 12 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing and descending. The start was similar to other days, but with a few more punches as we fought for the singletrack. The singletrack came up more quickly than I expected and we bottlenecked into the trail. I found myself waiting and trackstanding as all of the riders attempted to weave through the technical features. Since the race was shorter, more people were able to suffer up the climb together. I found myself wishing the race was longer because at this point in the week, with the fatigue in my body, the longer days will suit me better.
Finally, we reached the top of the climb and I engaged my dropper seat post. The fun was just beginning. This stage is known for its gnarly and technical trails. Since I began this career of mountain biking 3 years ago, technical descending has always been my demise. For awhile I felt like my strength on the climbs could make up for my fears on the descent, however, in the last year or so I have worked exceptionally hard to take my descending to a new level. I’ve done shuttling, clinics, and constantly pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. I’ve had a great support team.
Today as we dropped into the descent my tummy was in knots. I was nervous about what was waiting for me around each corner. I continued to drop in off of every rock and into each root garden. I passed men who were walking the tricky sections and I kept wondering how much more technical it would get. I made plenty of mistakes, but rode everything and never questioned my ability to make it. I glided over sections that only a year ago would have left me twittering at the top.
There was a timed downhill section on course with a competition of its own. I finished 3rd in the downhill split. This was a big personal victory for me. I gained a lot of confidence in myself on the descent today. I gained confidence in my ability to go with the flow and to ride sections I’ve never seen before without hesitation.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. BC is making me a better bike racer. After approximately 16.5 hours of racing, and other 3rd place finish today, only 3 minutes separates me from 2nd. There’s one more stage tomorrow and it’s going to be a long one. 37 miles and 5,500 feet of climbing separates me from the finish line and you can bet I will give it every single thing I have during every second of this last chance stage. Thank you for following me on this journey.