This weekend the team stayed close-by to race at the Lees McRae mountain bike weekend. They typically host an extremely technical and challenging XC race, and this year was no different. We started below the Mill Pond and sprinted up the gravel road to the start of the trail. It was tough climbing right at the start, and we had to fight for position along the climbing switchbacks to the top of the mountain. It was about 300 feet of climbing in the first mile and a half. The descent was worth it though, and we were sent down a technical rock garden and most of the downhill run during the XC course. The mud was slippery on the rocks and I crashed a few times unfortunately, but neither my bike nor myself got hurt. I was passed into fourth going into the final lap, but stayed in fourth place through the finish. It was a tough battle, but I was hoping for a better finish the next day at short track.
Short track was held at a different part of campus next to the dual slalom course. It started on the grass but quickly climbed up into the woods, went over a log pile, and wound down to a creek crossing before circling back to the grass. I was able to come off the start line in second and stayed in that position for two laps before making the pass on the climb and hanging on in first. I had never been in first place at an SECCC race before, so it was all I could do to ride as hard as I could for the remainder of the race and try not to mess up in any of the technical spots. With two laps to go the second place rider was gaining on me, so I tried to make up time on the climbs and in the technical creek section. I was able to stay away and hold the gap until the finish and was simultaneously exhausted and thrilled when I came across the line. It was extremely exciting to be able to win my first race in this conference, and I’m looking forward to racing in the ACCC next weekend at Virginia Tech.