At this race I felt like I belonged yet I was still surprisingly nervous before the start. I knew I was prepared but my heart and mind were racing. I began questioning myself. I began questioning everything. I hoped to finish in less than an hour, but was that realistic? How muddy would it be after all of the rain the previous week? What would the course be like? I had ridden at Mountwood multiple times, but never on the section of trail that comprised the novice race. Would the race course be more technical than the sections I had previously ridden? I tried not to worry about the other riders, but I couldn’t stop myself from sizing them up. Some looked really fast. Is it normal for novice men to shave their legs? Some were riding REALLY expensive bikes. Would I finish dead last despite actually training? Would I reach the first climb at the back of the pack and have to follow a steady stream of novice riders pushing their bikes up the initial climb? Should I continue letting everyone crowd in front of me at the start line, or should I say something?
Within a flash, the race was underway and all of those thoughts were out of my mind. It was a mass start for the novice class that included men, women and children. The first 1.8 miles of the course was a double-track gravel road climb. These factors combined to create total chaos as everyone fought for position before reaching the single-track. I was eventually able to get on the wheel of a guy in a blue jersey who was riding at a good pace. I followed blue jersey guy for a few miles passing a lot of the aforementioned men, women and children as we rode. We eventually met up with Cassa Reeder, another KSD newbie. The three of us rode together for what seemed like miles before I somehow got by them before the final downhill.
The race was a huge success for entire novice KSD crew. Cassa won the women’s novice division. Angie had a great first race finishing 5th of 11 women in just over 58 minutes. Amie also finished strong despite going over her bars. (Amie is still learning the meaning of keeping the KNOBby Side Down.) I beat my one hour goal by 10 minutes and finished 9th out of 32 novice men. Mike also beat his time goal and finished 19th.