Date: July 12, 2015
Race: H2H Race #6, the 20th Annual Bulldog Rump
Location: Andover (Kittatiny Valley State Park), NJ
Rider(s): Danielle Ferland
Sunday’s race for all cat 3 riders was two laps of a ~3.5 mile loop through the Kittatiny Valley State Park in Andover, NJ. High humidity made the temperature feel significantly warmer than the 88 degree forecast claimed and without a cloud in the sky, the shade from the trees could only help so much. The course itself was a bit more technical than the Lewis Morris Challenge with some steeper climbs with lose rocks and roots, forcing most riders to walk up portions – I was no exception there. However, what sucked about the uphill was made up for in the downhill and some fun twisting single track. Staying Hydrated was a major key even if it was hard to catch a breath.
Having not been able to pre-ride the course due to weather and schedule conflicts, the first lap was an adventure. I always prefer knowing what’s coming to gauge how much/when to push and when I should stay steady to conserve energy, but there was a certain excitement that came with taking each turn as it came. At the whistle, I was able to lead the pack out through the first climb. It felt really good. The second climb, my chain popped (ugh) allowing a rider or two to pass me. No worries though, fixed it in a snap and caught back up. I flew down the next hill, leaning hard into the corners, just living it up.
Midway through the first lap, it was me and another rider attacking the front switching on and off – what a super nice lady. She had never ridden the course either so we were both feeling it out as we went. Getting slowed down by another hill we had to run up, another rider was able to make up our gap but I was able to maintain a slight lead… then my chain popped off again (it’s going to the shop this week, don’t worry). Lost the lead by one but at the top of the hill, I knew I could make it back on the down – that is until I noticed another rider was fixing a flat on the hill half way down. I lost some of my speed and focus, trying not to hit the rider. He was okay, but I caught a bad line and even though I wanted to keep going, the rock my tire couldn’t make it over had a different idea. I’d like to think that the image of me being ejected from my bike was actually as epic as it is in my head. I was able to unclip, do a quick tuck-and-roll, then jump back to my bike make sure I didn’t get in anyone else’s way. The girl behind me seemed duly impressed so I felt like an action movie star. Most importantly, I thankfully avoided all the rocks and came out of it with only minor scratches and bruising.
The second lap was much less eventful and felt much faster since I had a better sense of what was ahead. Sadly, I wasn’t able to chase down first place, but I was able to snag second!
Cat 3 Women’s 19-39 Results:
Danielle Ferland – 2nd place