Photo: Calvin Collander

So I just finished up at Port Angeles. Obviously I went there to win, I won there last year and wanted to defend my win. With that said, I knew it would be tough racing against some of the best girls in the world....Rachel Atherton, Tracy Moseley, Jill Kintner, Buhly, Strand, Jo, Anka, name a few! Tracy Moseley put down a killer time as did Rachel Atherton and Jill Kintner...they all stepped it up big time. So many guys got chicked! :) Love it.  It is so rad to race such fast girls, it just pushes you to another level which is exactly what I want.

I felt like I was riding consistently which was really good for me. It's a big season this year and I really want to work some of the bugs out early on, consistency is one of them. A result here and a result there is not what is going to take me to the next level. I think that probably 80% of my runs on the course were timed runs, consistent timed runs, so I was well aware of what I was capable of on the course. I felt like I was riding good all weekend but not great, I just didn't have the confidence to take it to another level. I always crash in practice...I didn't crash once in practice this weekend. Sounds weird but that's when I know I am confident and testing my limits and that's what I like. I love going into a section fast and on edge but 100% confident that you are going to make it though...and that confidence is what makes you.

When it came down to the final, I tried to hang it out when I hadn't really been hanging it out all weekend...definitely a mistake there but better to learn here than a World Cup, right? When you get loose, you cannot have to be confident, no ifs, ands or buts. I messed up a pivotal section up top (because I hesitated) slipping on some roots and just barely avoiding disaster but I lost my balance trying to recover and came unclipped and pretty much came to a stop in a section where exit speed is essential. That was definitely a blow for me as it was near the top and my focus drifted. When I got to the step down, I crashed into a tree...never had a problem there before either. Somehow I managed to stay attached to my feet were still clipped in but I was hanging on to the tree. The impact knocked my brake out of reach and I couldn't get it back so I rode the rest of the course with my rear brake...definitely sketch but kinda fun in a weird way, I just felt like I was playing with fire about to get burned the whole time. ha.

I knew that I could make it on to the podium with a cruiser but just getting on the podium wasn't good enough for me at this race. I am going to be racing against the best girls in the world all season and it is going to take a hell of a lot more than a cruiser to be up there with them so there was no better time than now to figure it out.  I missed the podium by less than a second and it would have been kind of sweet to make it given my ridiculous run but whatever, not too bothered by it. Bring on the World Cups!!!

Photo: Sven Martin/VitalMTB

Katie Holden