You’re racing. You’re half way in, the fatigue is building and the burn in your lungs is weighing on your mind. It’s ok though, the Aid station is just around the corner. You roll in at top speed, looking for your bag or bottle being held up, and grab it smoothly, transitioning food into your pockets and the bottle into your cage. Within 30 seconds, you’re out of sight, mind already focused on the next section of trail to overcome.
Christa comes from a small town in Colorado called Edwards. Her family, which revolves entirely around ski racing, were sucked into the Vail valley when her parents were young, and they never left. Having found their spot on a hill overlooking the White River national forest and the New York Mountains, their home is a secluded paradise that fulfills every aspect of a relaxing mountain retreat. After racing in Winter Park at the weekend, we headed to Edwards for a couple of days to catch up, say hello to family, and enjoy riding around the Aspen lined singletrack in the cool and damp weather.
I’ve really missed competitive Mountain Biking: I haven’t done enough of it this year. My return to Colorado set the stage for a return to the wonders of XC racing, and I was really happy to race in Winter Park this last weekend. I started my Mountain Bike career in the Grand Valley, at the headwaters of the Colorado river, and it’s great to continue it now. My first XC race was a collegiate race in Sol Vista, just down the road from Winter Park. I raced in the ‘B’ category, and came an emphatic second after feeling like my sea level lungs were about to explode.
It’s been a whirlwind landing back in Boulder after nine months away. Coming into Denver via Iceland was a breeze, and I’m going to recommend IcelandAir to anyone who will listen from now on. My bikes came out of the airport machinery looking a little mangled, but a quick check over reassured me they were OK, and the haste to find Christa and get back to Boulder stopped me inspecting them any further.