Wednesday, August 09, 2006

NORBA #5: Brian Head Race Report

by Kathleen Bortolussi

Race: NORBA #3
Location: Brian Head, Utah
Weather: Fair and clear
Place: 2nd
Course: LOTS of climbing, rocks, cows, views = EPIC

I have to say this was the most epic mtn bike race I've experience. 85% of the course is single track for the 27 mile single loop. We raced on Saturday and on Friday I did the most idiotic pre-race ride I've ever done. One complete loop, minus the beginning evil climb such that I was totally spent for the race. I thought there would be a bail out but there wasn't, oh well.


Photo Credit: Bruce Grubbs

Luckily the master women were relegated to doing the sport distance, which for once I was happy about. The race begins with a 3.5 miles climb from 9300ft to 11,000ft. The first 2.5 miles are on the road, pitching to 13% at one part, and then you climb the rest on a fire road until you hit the single track. Lots of rocks but smaller than those in Vermont. Meadows of wild flowers and fabulous views of the amazing Utah geographical wonders. Since I was pooped I sort of rode this race, deciding to enjoy it since there was only one other women in my category and she was from Park City. I've dubbed her Roxanne-the-man, since she looked rather....a.....buffed and fit, shall we say. Oh did I say that...oops. Coming from sea level, and being off the bike for 6wks, I figured she could win and I'd enjoy my ride and take second (which sounds much better than last). The sport race definitely cut off a lot of the climbing which I was thankful for with my empty gas tank. I'm glad I did it in the pre-ride so I at least saw the entire course. I had to pull over for a few of the pros that came through, including Kristen and Noel. It was nice to see some other Bellas during the race. I even noticed a few cows chomping flora amongst the trees as we traversed the ridge. This was a tough race for me, even riding it easy, as I'm just riding again and my gas tank is father empty. I just think the course is epic and that it was a great experience and it really ups your skill level and your interest level. It's hard to imagine riding those boring fire roads again. Now we are in Aspen getting prepped for Snowmass. We pre-road the short loop yesterday and it's another tough course. These courses are long, at elevation, and have grueling climbs. This one starts with another 2.5 mile exposed fire road climb. If the climb doesn't exhaust you the altitude does, it's just a matter of which one gets you first until you settle into your pace. I'll let you know how this one turns out. Congrats to Kristen, Noel, and Jen at Brian Head and to Alex Fabbro who placed 1st in the Super-D. I've got a pic of me alone on the podium, a silly fun Bella shot.

Ciao Bellas,
Kathleen

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