US Nationals @ Mammoth Lakes, CA
My first nationals in the US were quite different from what I was used to. Especially the altitude gave me a hard time. We raced at an elevation of around 8000ft (2500m) which means 35% less oxygen in the air and a heart rate which can be almost 20bpm higher than on sea level for the same effort.
I started well, sitting in the 2nd group as 3rd of my class for about 10min but then I wasn't able to catch my breath anymore, the heat and dust gave me the rest. I know I trained hard and was prepared, but today I felt like a V8 engine running on one cylinder - although I don't think that the other riders felt better, maybe they were just stronger! The single trails were fun and the descents kind of technical and rocky.
I was really glad I rode on my new Specialized Epic with full suspension! For the finsih I managed to beat a rider from my class in the sprint by 0.2 sec and ended up in 6th place - knowing that podium is top 5 I felt a little dissapointed, but this way I can ride another year in Cat.2 and try to do better next season. I will post more about the trip to Mammoth soon!
Special thanks to Castro Valley Cyclery, Specialized, Cranks n' Chains and my "crew" Alex (pictures), Bob and Rich (feed zone)