My First CAT-1 Race / Fontana Pro XTC

Leading up to The Fontana US National ProXCT was sort of like a chapter in A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was battling a sinus infection that was draining into a gnarly cough. Also a couple days prior to Fontana, I crashed on one of the trails in Vacaville and sprang my wrist. I was super bummed that my first Cat 1 national race would possibly not go as planned. I still kept my hopes high and wanted to make this trip to SoCal worth it. After a long drive down, I was ready to stretch my legs and check out what Fontana had to offer. This course surprised me on how technical and steep it was, but I had faith my Schwalbe Rocket Rons could help me in the rocky loose stuff. After riding the Cat 1 course multiple times, I felt comfortable on the lines I scoped out and looked forward to riding it at race pace. My race was early Sunday morning. I woke up around 6, still feeling under the weather.

I did all my pre race rituals and lined up on the line amongst some of the fastest Cat 1 girls in the nation. I was super nervous. All I could think about was to just ride smooth and controlled. The start of the race was a blur with the SoCal dust blinding everyone. I was in top 10 with the lead group in sight. I kept on digging in on the long paved hill to pass as many girls as I could before the technical accent. After settling into about sixth position, I wanted more. I was using so much effort and energy to clear all the technical climbs and to grab some positions. After that, every single steep climb felt so grueling. I was not feeling my best but I kept trying to make gains. I was nervous to hit the decent knowing my wrist was not as strong as I needed it to be on this hard edged rocky terrain. I finished my first lap of three strong. I heard the leader had put about 5 minuets on me so I knew I was completely out of contention. As the nerves settled, I rode solo to the finish. I honestly could not wait to finish this race. I came into the finish line in seventh, with my body thrashed and my lungs burning with dust. I felt disappointed that I could not preform my best. I did not train this hard to get seventh in my first Cat 1 race. I'm going to keep going hard in training and hopefully come back recovered and stronger next race. Thank you everyone for wishing me luck and who were cheering me on out there. 

Stay tune for my NICA race report from Granite Bay this weekend!