The start for Pocahontas is a beast - wet field, off-camber trail, more wet field, loose gravel, stupid, narrow-pointy-bendy bridge, more gravel, fire road climb, gravel, fire road, finally the trailhead. It was a fast start! I am cautious on gravel and when we hit the trail I think I was in fifth place. I passed #4 after the big creek crossing and once I recovered from the starting sprint I picked up the pace until I caught #3. I rode behind her for a while until I felt strong enough to pass and then I decided to try and catch Sonya and Melissa, who were currently in 1st and 2nd place.
I found them eventually though I kept losing them on the climbs and then making it up on the flat and downhill sections. They switched place a few times and towards the end it was Melissa, Sonya and me. If I could keep it up, a podium finish! A mile or so from the finish, Sonya hit some rocks and crashed right in front of me (quite spectacularly - she's very graceful!) and nearly gave me heart failure. She was okay and told me to keep going, so I chased after Melissa. I finally caught her and we rode the rest of the way to the finish line. I was exhausted and didn't have much left, but in hindsight I wish I'd tried harder to pass her! She pulled away far enough at the finish that she totally had it. I was delighted with 2nd and Sonya came in almost immediately afterwards in 3rd! She's a trooper.
Usually I end up by myself in races, so it was pretty exciting having some ladies to compete with!
|obligatory podium shot|