This was a totally different event for me, but very unique and fun! It contained a technical competition and a cross country race. First, you begin with the technical competition, where each rider tries to complete 5 sections with three man made obstacles and each obstacle is worth one point. Then, once you finish this course, you go to the natural course. Here you complete a track containing sharp corners, natural obstacles, and poles to go between. These two courses give you a total of 24 points. For every point that you do not receive you are held back 20seconds at the cross country start.
After working really hard on all of the obstacles, I waited in line for my start to come. I watched my U17 competition one by one do their best on the course. Finally, it was my turn. I headed into the first section containing three circles made by bottles. Every circle smaller than the first and you must keep your back tire in the circle while moving your front tire around the circle. During practice I had this section aced and I was ready to go. I rode into the the circle and began to turn my tire. Oh crap... I lost balance and stepped down. I lost all three points for that section, but I had to refresh my mind for the next section. Here there are three pieces of wood with sharp turns to get to the next. Each block got higher and you had to get both wheels over it. I headed into the section, hopping over the first one with easy. Then the second... got it. Next, the third... front wheel over.... lift second.... a little bit of front brake... and the wood it the cement. So close, but received two points.
I moved onto the third section. Here you had to do no handed without touching the lines. I received two points here after barely touching the line in the third part.
Now, onto the fourth section. Here, there are three different balance beams to complete. The first one was wide and smooth, check. The second was skinny with a wood bumps, check. The third was pretty smooth with a few turns, check. Few... all three points.
The final section was one of the hardest, containing sharp turns and a log to get over in the last part. I made it all the way to the log, but then messed up, getting two points.
I was finished with this course with a total of nine points and made my way to the next course. Here, I made my way through the trees and poles. Because of the slippery mud I had to step down a few times, making me loose points, but I still had a pretty good round.
The rows of the U17 boys and girls were lined up at the starting line. I was 2min 40sec back from the leader. Bam! The first row was off. Every 20seconds another group left the line. I stood waiting and counting all of the girls who left ahead of me. Finally we were at the line watching the clock. Seven girls to catch.... 10seconds.... 3 laps..... 5 seconds.... Bam! We launched off the line and the race began. My goal was to catch as many of the riders as I could and I was already feeling good. With my head down I headed up the climb. Two girls were right ahead of me and I went for the pass. Alright, two down five to go.
I began the rocky single track and got behind another girl. She sped up her pace and I held onto her wheel. We reached the descent and she slowed down. Her foot out of the pedal as she skidded and stepped forward on the slippery roots. I followed her into the second lap and she went back into a fast uphill pace. We pasted another rider, four to go. Before the first descent I went for the pass and used the downhill to get a gap. As I reached the next climb I saw another rider ahead of me. I went for the pass and headed into the next fun downhill. The turns were slick from the light rain earlier, but it was still an incredible trail. I headed into the third and final lap, with only two girls ahead of me. It was time to go all out. With my head down I began the road climb. I reached the first descent and got stuck behind a guy. As we went around the corner I could tell that there was another rider ahead of him.... was it a girl? We reached the next climb and I was able to take the pass. Now only one more to go. Again, I pushed my legs up the steep hillside, reaching the downhill with a small gap. Through the trees, off the drops, around the slick corners, and over the roots and I was enjoying every bit.
As I reached the grass near the finish, I could see the first place rider on the next corner. I stood and race towards her, but reached the finish first. Glad to grab a second place at this unique and exciting race!