Then the race was held at Purgatory , a ski resort 30 miles north of town and 2000 ft higher , but on this occasion this venue was reserved for the downhill and dual slalom events . The cross country course was located above town at Fort Lewis College . I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed by this . As far as I am concerned the higher and the harder the better . Although this was a challenging circiut , it can best be described as ” a sea level style course at altitude ” . In other words it was a racing course as opposed to the climber’s benifit I had been expecting ! I chose to ride my hardtail , as the descents were not particularly rough and the lap was super fast . It was also likely to be a short race . Not only do I take in to consideration the nature of the terrain , but the estimated time we will be racing for too .
Although mountain biking is an individual sport , my team mate Barbara and I were united by a common goal – to eliminate Alison Dunlap . In order to tighten her grip on the overall standings , Barbara knew she had beat her and I desperately wanted to win the race .
After a short loop mainly on pavement the track plummeted , so a good start was essential . After my pathetic effort (at the start) in Vancouver , I knew that I had to be much more aggressive . I led the field around the start loop and then Barbara took over on the opening downhill . Sure enough Alison was glued to Barbara’s wheel , however she could not hold it for long . On the kilometer long drag that followed , I accelerated across the gap to join Barbara leaving the rest of the field trailing in our wake .
Towards the end of the first lap , on a long section of single track , my foot bounced out of my pedal . It was sometime before I was able to reengage and this allowed Dunlap to rejoin me . Going through the start / finish Barbara had a 10 second lead , but behind us , Mary Grigson was charging hard . Riding way above her limits , Alison exploded on the climb . Mary however was on fire . She passed me at the mid point of the race and Barbara shortly afterwards . The distance between Barbara and I hovered between 10 and 20 seconds on the third and final lap , but Mary was gone for good .
Although I had hoped for better , I was very satisfied with my third place finish , which lifted me to third in the overall world cup standings . I knew fatigue was begining to set in after over 5 weeks on the road , but I had accomplished a great deal . My NORBA win was a real bonus and proved that on a high alititude course that favours climbers I am a serious threat . However if I am to mount a real threat at the World’s I need to take a short break , but this will have to be postponed for a couple more days as this weekend are our National Championships where I am determined to defend my title .”