Napa Valley Dirt Classic

April 25, 2006 at 4:58 pm (Mountain Biking)

Napa Valley Dirt Classic

Originally uploaded by StormyPetrel.

Last Sunday was the Napa Valley Dirt Classic, a cross-country (XC) mountain bike race near Angwin, CA. I've been mountain biking for almost seven years now, but this was my first race. Team SHP strongly recommended I register in the sport division, despite the fact that I am out of shape and have never raced before.

The start was staggered, with Sport going just after the pro and expert racers. After a brief road climb we were on the trail. I was able to keep keep a decent pace for the first 4 miles or so, but my lungs and legs were not conditioned for the long haul.

The course itself was awesome. A mix of singletrack, doubletrack and fireroad, there were almost no flat sections to speak of. You were either climbing and descending, and tackling technical challenges to boot.

Around mile 15 my right quadriceps cramped up and I had to sit on the side of the trail for 10 minutes massaging it out. After that I couldn't crank hard for fear of recramping, so granny geared /walked most of the climb up Howell Mountain.

Ultimately I finished with a time just over 3 hours. Pretty bad….not even in the Top 5 of the beginner division. But none of that mattered when I crossed the finish line. The feeling of accomplishment was immense. I know I had pushed my body as hard as I could, and I'll be back again (and in better condition).

Distance: 22 miles
Time: 03:01:42
Avg. Speed: 7.3 mph


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