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Chequamegon 40 - Gabi's first race amongst "big names"

As a part of the Lifetime Grandprix racing series, this race attracted the best racers of America to our state. What an opportunity for me to see "where I am at".

To a race there is a good amount of luck and other variables. Not always does one have a good day or circumstances show up surprisingly.

As many of the women racing described, this course was a bit chaotic since we were a big group sticking together for a long time, and muddy sections made it a make it or lose it game if any mistakes were made.

In my case I was feeling mostly like I feel before every race, a bit tired, a bit "lazy".

We made it a little trip to a cabin with the family (Nathan, Nathan's mum and our three boys, 9,11,13). We arrived two days earlier to enjoy the area with the kids, get settled and also pre-ride parts of the course.

In the morning of the race I was more occupied with the kid's needs, that kept me distracted and I guess less nervous.

After a quick warm-up I lined up at the very end and the start is a gras uphill.

It was my first experience in a race like this so I wanted to feel out the pack and race style and not waste randomly efforts.

I kept quiet in the pack, conserving a lot of energy. I felt like I was barely working since the climbs were very steep and punchy but also very short. I think for a first experience it was good to feel it all out and get to know each of the riders, wheels to follow, wheels to avoid.

I decided to keep saving energy until the decisive climb, the "FIRETOWER" about 3mins. long. For that I really wanted to enter it first since I knew that some might slip and unclip and it was the most important moment to split the big group. So I made some effort to move to the front just in time. At the end of the climb I got passed by two riders and couldn't hang on by just a bit**, ending up in a chasing group until the end of the race. That's when things ramped up and the pace got higher and higher with zero tolerance for mistakes. Gladly I made it to the final meters where it was an open field with a sprint to the finish for 3-9th places. I was in a good position and able to grab 4th place which I was really happy with.

** Here my excuses :) /explanation why I think I couldn't hang on. I was on the limit just turning the pedals because the climb was so steep. My bike is not the lightest (about 11kg) neither am I focusing on being super light anymore since I had huge health problems with that. I didnt expect two girls to stay away with a strong pack chasing but the slippery downhills didnt make it easy for me to get more speed. Def. technical skills I need to get more comfortable with.

I AM HAPPY with how it all turned out and for the opportunity pretty well used to show up out of nowhere as a unknown name but representing Wisconsin as the 2023 State Champion.

It was a good wrapup for my first mountainbike season. I don't plan on racing much more mountainbike and would rather try out more XCM style, Gravel and Road.

Hope you enjoyed my race report, let me know what you think.

Follow me on Instagram for content about my life and bike journey. Click @gabriela9guerra

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