Mia Meets Bike

AWWWW.... My fake daughter is growing up so fast!

Race 1: ESC Powder Ridge Recap

So Powder Ridge … it's not my favorite place to race. Almost every time I’ve raced there, I get 2nd place. The first, and only time, I’ve ever won there was amateur women my first year racing enduro. The course just has this one stage that really is not my style of riding because it's a bike park flow trail with bigger jumps and a big drop at the very end that I always lose all my time on. There are two trails that have some good sections of tech though, but the stages are so short at Powder that it's hard to make up time on the tech sections. Anyways, the race overall was pretty good, but I left disappointed.

This was my first race of the season, so I expected there to be some mistakes and usual first race nerves to get over. I had done my usual fitness training over the course of my spring semester at school but with more of a focus on strength than cardio, and I focused a lot on proper nutrition, which definitely made me feel good going into the first race. I felt really strong and powerful on the bike, which I haven’t really felt on a bike in a long time, or ever, so that progress during the off-season really helped. I also have professional coaching this year to work on the specific skills to get me to go faster, which definitely helped during this first race.

Pre-ride on Saturday went pretty well. I got a bunch of laps in and felt like my lines were dialed and that I was locked in. I felt really good in the tech, which I expected, but I still felt slow on the jumps. I tried to remind myself to focus on what I’m good at to make my time up, which was this one raw tech section on stage 3, which my coach said, “I was cooking through.” The highlight of my day though was doing this one drop at the end of Stage 2 that I never thought I would ever do, and it was really big, in my opinion. It took a combination of trusting my coach and having other teammates hyping me up to get me to do it. My hands were shaking a ton after I did it because the adrenaline was pumping a lot, but I was really proud of myself for doing it and handling my nerves. Doing that drop set the tone for the rest of my pre-ride and race because it made me more confident in my skills and speed. I even hit more jumps throughout the course that I normally wouldn’t be able to do.

There was a threat of rain for race day, which I wasn’t super happy about, but luckily it didn’t rain. Stage 1 went pretty well. I made a few mistakes in my lines, but I do that in almost all of stage 1s in any race because I’m not quite warmed up yet. It still felt pretty fast, but I know I could have gone faster. Stage 2 was the stage I was most excited for but also the one I was dreading the most. I hated most of the stage because it was all jumps that I really couldn’t clear and they slowed me down a lot. The end of the stage was the drop though, which I was so excited to do, and I could finally get a professional picture of me doing something sick. The stage overall felt ok, but I definitely wasn’t going fast, which showed in the results. It sucks but now I know what I need to work on before the next race. Stage 3 was the stage I felt the fastest on, and the one I was the most excited to ride. The top part of the stage, which had the tech, went really well, and I was riding smooth and fast. I only made one small mistake in the first half, but I still felt like I was flying. The end of the stage is when it went bad. I was sprinting on the last fire road straight before the last two jumps, but three stages converged in this one fork, and I couldn’t really tell which way I was supposed to go until the last second, so I tried to change my direction, but it was too late, and I ended up washing my front wheel out in the gravel and crashing. That crash took at least 15-20 seconds, which really sucked because the rest of the stage went so well, and I knew I made up a lot of time on it until the crash. Anyways, I tried to get over it as I climbed up to stage 4 but I was just really mad and frustrated with myself. Stage 4 ended up going pretty well. I felt pretty good and only made a few mistakes. Stage 5 also went pretty well, and one of my coaches got a really nice video of me through a rocky chute, and he said I rode it really fast and smooth, so that made me happy. I did make a few mistakes too where I grabbed my brakes a little too hard, but I’m going to work on that.

Overall, the race went well for the first race, but I still have some major things I need to work on. I finished the race in 2nd. Now I normally would be pretty content with this, but I was really disappointed in myself and how the race went. The crash was a stupid mistake that cost me the win and other little mistakes and my inability to do bigger jumps. I’m getting over it though because I also need to remember the positives from the race like doing a big drop and hitting the tech with speed and confidence. I’m definitely faster than I was last season, but I want to see that in my race results. Next up is ESC Glen Park, so I’ll be working on some stuff until then!

Sweet pic and wow! That's a big drop to have in an enduro race in my opinion. I love jumps but also not a fan of having that kinda course in an enduro race. Seems weird to try to go fast on a trail that's meant for fun and if a racer is not a jumper - they've definitely screwed. Congrats on the podium though and all the leveling up!
Great race report Mia and congrats on the result and the drop! I was there on Saturday for practice but didn't see you. I did the drop which is pretty scary, I think I convinced myself it was same height as the drop at top of Tempest (it's not!). I crashed at the end of the day on Saturday coming down the loose, rocky chute towards the top of Wild Turkey with a bunch of orange tape on left (run 5) and sprained my hand so couldn't race🙁
Race 2: ESC Glen Park Recap

Glen Park is awesome. That’s basically all I need to say. If you have never been there, you should go. The trails are really fun and fast. The climb is long but not bad. There are also a lot of chutes off the top that you can use to mix things up and hit different features.

After the first race of the season at Powder Ridge, I was really motivated and pushing hard for this race. I knew what I was capable of, and I didn’t get to show that at Powder Ridge. I wanted to make sure I was the most prepared I could be for Glen Park because it is my only local race of the year. I rode Glen Park at least once a week for about 4 weeks before the race.

The pre-ride for the race went well. They cut some new loam trails for the race that I wasn’t really expecting and they connected some of the chutes differently, but I personally feel that the race course was the best from any enduro race I’ve done at Glen Park.

So race day … I woke up the morning of the race feeling like I was hit by a truck. I had felt like that the past two days of pre-riding, but I just assumed it was a cold and that it wouldn’t affect me much, but I guess it did. I decided to take some Children’s Motrin and pre-workout and push through what I was feeling. My anxiety before the race was pretty high because of not being confident in how I physically felt and some of the other women I saw that I would be racing against. Usually the anxiety goes away when I start climbing the transfer for the first time, and this time it was no different. I can usually make a mindset change when I’m actually on the bike and lock into my race and block everything else besides my bike, me, and the stage out of my head.

Stage 1 is most often my worst stage because I’m not warmed up yet and my nerves are high, but I had my coach at the top of the stage with me, so he was able to help boost my confidence and get me going. On stage 1, I felt pretty smooth and pretty fast, but I felt kind of weak towards the end of the stage. I was happy to just put down a clean first stage that would keep me focused on the rest of the day.

Stage 2 was the stage I was dreading the most because it had a relatively long climb in the middle of it, but I was also excited for it because a new loam section was put into it that I really enjoyed. Overall, the stage felt pretty good. I pushed on the climb as much as my body would allow me, but I knew if I was feeling better, I could have pushed harder. Either way, my technique seemed like it was good and I had relatively few mistakes except for feeling a little weak.

Stage 3 was the stage I was looking forward to. It had the famous meat report chute on the bottom, which I was super excited to hit. That stage went well overall. I only made one notable mistake in a corner, but other than that it felt smooth and fast.

Stage 4 was a little rough. I felt really good at the top, but then I almost crashed in a corner going into some steep turns, but I was able to take the compression and save it. Then, at the little road gap, I landed kind of nose heavy and I don’t really know how. Then the cherry on top was that I clipped a tree with my handlebar on a final steep chute that I was able to save, but it knocked me off line and I totally stalled out in the next corner. My stage was not as clean as I wanted it to be, but I didn’t crash and still pushed where I could.

Stage 5 was my favorite stage of the whole race. It started off with a climb, which sucked, but at least it was short. Then, it went into my favorite twisty s-turns that I have so much fun sliding and drifting through. Those turns pop you out into the “rock garden”, which is just so fun when you hit it right and fast. Finally, it ended on a new loam section that was almost too much fun. My run went pretty well. I bobbled in the rock garden a bit, but I still went fast and I hit the loam section well, so I was happy.

Overall, my race went well. Besides feeling weak and tired, this was one of my first races where my technique felt good. I ended up finishing in first with a 30 second gap to second place. That made me feel really good and it has given me a slight boost in confidence. My coach was also really proud of me and the gap I was able to put in 2nd place, which always helps because he knows the expectations I put on myself and how that mentally plays into my racing. It was also really nice to have some awesome spectators there including my two real coaches @JimN and @Wrong Way Dan. I also found out a few hours after the race that I probably felt really weak and tired because I have a bullseye rash on my back from a tick bite, so I might have Lyme disease. It was a very eventful day of racing then going to urgent care, but now I’m on antibiotics and feeling better, so it’s all good.

Great work kid! I have to say, now that you learned how to jump....There really isnt any place on that course I can make time on you now. Little bits here and there, but after our pre ride I was like, NFW anyone in your class will have a chance. (I refrain from telling you this stuff before a race). I just have to hold you off until im 50....then whatever...you'll just be beating up on a feeble old man. 😂
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