Race Date: 6/29/2014
Race Type: Mountain Bike
Race Location: Casupito, Aragua (Venezuela)
On Sunday, June 29th 2014, our Venezuelan re-pat, Claudia Penaloza, threw some knobbies on and took to the dirt. She entered the 2nd race of the Venezuelan MTB Gatorade Circuit in Casupito, Aragua, a traditional format mountain bike race in Central Venezuela. The all-dirt, 3 x 4.3 mi loop, had a total of 2460 ft of climbing, to Claudia's advantage, but there were plenty of tight turns, obstacles, moguls, and a long descent that taxed her mostly on-road training. She started out strong in the "Expert Women" field, equivalent to a Cat. 2-3, and moved into 1st when the previous leader (Jenny Gomez) went down in the dry river bed. Maintaining her position throughout the first climbing section, Claudia soon dropped down to 3rd after skidding out on a sharp and steep left turn at the beginning of the singletrack. She raced the next loop in 3rd but reached the 2nd place woman (Annabelle Guitard) on the climb right before the descent... but Claudia had to stop at the water station because she'd lost a bottle in the fall and had ridden the entire second loop dry. She completely lost sight of Annabelle on the descent and didn't see her again until the start of the long climb, where she finally reached and passed her. Claudia was just able to maintain the lead in the descent and approach to the finish line, where two hairpin turns alerted her to just how close behind Annabelle was. With an unexpected 2nd place in a very friendly field, Claudia was ecstatic with her first MTB race in almost a decade.
Claudia Penaloza: 2nd