Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Howell Mountain Race Report

by Piper Ehlen

Want fast, narrow, fun singletrack? Then Howell Mountain is the race for you. Not very technical, not a lot of climbing. Just a lot of fun, winding singletrack. What more could a girl want?

Race morning started with a good warmup around this cutesy Napa town and some chatting with the Matt's (Cerkel, Leonard, Berman). I made my way to the start line and found some smiley Bellas (Karen, Daphne) and we're off. A few minutes of fireroad and we're in the
trees, out of the hot Napa sun and into some super narrow, easy, smile-producing singletrack. What a blast.

A few easy climbs toward the end of each lap gave me the opportunity to pass a few Sport women and men. Unfortunately, I was passed by a Cabo Wabo rider that I had been fending off for nearly the whole race. I never caught her again. I made my last pass on the flat fireroad at the end of the second lap, a Sport woman who I thought I would have to battle until the end, but I hammered past her and gave all my energy in the hopes of leaving her in the dust - which I did. As I sat at the finish line trying to recover from the last push, I waited for her to finish and she was a full minute behind me. I guess I didn't need to push as hard as I did, but it was good for me all the same.

I finished in 2:27, 3rd in Senior Sport Women.

What a great way to spend a Sunday in Northern California.

Piper

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