Hey guys, guess what! Yassss, it’s Jemma with the race report again. Because guess what! I raced! First FSC race under my belt. Why such a big deal? Well, besides anyone’s first race being a great thing for them, I’m usually the photographer. So, I do the pre-ride keeping in mind epic spots to take photos. Trouble is, I’m not that epic of a rider, so often I cannot complete the entire course. This time it was different. Instead of crazy elevation in concentrated areas with gnarly roots, rocks, and steep drops off the sides of the trail like at Haile’s and Alafia, San Felasco was a much more beginner-friendly. That didn’t mean it wasn’t difficult, David will fill you in on that shortly with his Single Speed version of the race report, but I was able to complete the course and thanks to Ron Roswell, I discovered that with my single lap, it was unlikely I’d be lapped which took away my other race fear, being in the fast people’s way. So I figured, why not?
Now just because there aren’t overly technical parts doesn’t mean this wasn’t a hard course. The sheer speed that you can carry is like trying to tame a wild horse. Just because you can go down that fast, doesn’t mean you should. The course was particularly dusty and loose this past weekend which made for a lot of dirty riders as well as some nice spills. I saw more than one person with a bloody knee or scraped elbow Sunday, usually accompanied with a smiling face, so it’s all good.
The course started out with a LOOOOONG wide double track going downhill and then up. I thought I could maybe get a jump on the other person in my class who wasn’t an eight year old (I mean, I KNEW she was going to beat me) and it was also her first race if I used the advantage of my weight to propel me super fast downhill so I could use that momentum to get back up the other side.
Unfortunately what goes down doesn’t necessarily have to go back up, so I was pushing it to keep a decent momentum and get back up before diving in to the first bit of dustytrack, I mean, singletrack. By that time, my other first time racer buddy had caught up to me, so we rode together for a bit until the next long bit of downhill, at which point I used my same strategy to get a little space. Once again, that turned in to a loooong slight uphill before diving in to more single track, at which point she caught me again.
It was actually nice to have someone to chat and ride with for the 45 minutes or so out there. Maybe I could get used to riding with a bit bigger group, but this was a good start. It was especially nice to just encourage each other along the way out there, knowing we were in it together.
The single track was pretty fun for the most part. A little bit rooty, but nothing scary and certainly always an easy line option if you can make the decision quickly enough. The day before on my pre-ride, I’d been surprised by a few sections and had to get off my bike, but during the race, while I was still not totally expecting it, I knew what I needed to do to get over it and at that point it was just down to believing in myself.
I remember one part in particular that on the pre-ride I felt very uneasy about. It’s a decent descent with speed and then you go between two very thick trees with a humpy root in the middle. As I approached, I had a little conversation with myself,
“Oh, here’s that tight rooty thing again. Do you think you can make it? I don’t know. Well it wasn’t as tight as you thought it was yesterday, so what the heck, you can do this, go! Oh yeah, there’s some roots right after but whatever, you can do it! Just goooooooo!!”
So I sent it! And I made it and I was so happy! My race buddy tells me that’s where I pulled away from her to snag second place. How cool is that? And even cooler was getting those cheers back from everyone when I got to stand on the podium. 🙂 Thanks, friends!
What a friendly fun first race experience. Because I was riding novice class, it was almost just like riding with a friend or two with no pressure except whatever I wanted to put on myself. In the end, I had a great time and my only regret was not getting to cheer for the white wave like usual while taking pics! I think that’s my favorite part of racing, cheering on the riders, knowing that so many of you feel happy to hear me yelling random stuff at you while you’re suffering out there.
Stay tuned to hear what switching to single speed was like for David, and not only that, but full-rigid! He got a lot of raised eyebrows at his decision, so you’ll have to hear how it went. Thanks again for reading and for being a fun family of people that we can always look forward to spending time with!
Meanwhile, check out in the full FSC #5 gallery and sneak peek below!