Maybe it was the course. Maybe it was my attempts to fuel in the days leading up to the race. Maybe it was the rain earlier in the week. Whatever, it was it finally came together for me.
First, I have to express my gratitude to Chris for getting my bike ready. Components are/were starting to wear and in the last week or so. I have needed to swap out my rear derailleur and both brakes. None of these components were functioning properly and finding replacements was needed--especially for the brakes. Earlier in the week I had to walk some descents because stopping was not happening.
Second, the course was awesome. The Snowbird course has never been particularly popular, but they cut new single track and it is a blast to descend. It is a little more techy which I think might have played to my advantage. The course was moist and tacky too given the rain we finally received this past week.
There were only three of us in my category and I again started off in the back. I was able to move into second on the climb when it opened up and then stayed reasonably close to the leader. I knew I would descend faster and be able to move ahead on the downhill. After getting by her, I tried to ride smooth and found some flow. I was constantly looking over my shoulder as I climbed certain I would see some competition nipping at my rear tire.
Coming through the start finish after my first lap, a cheer went out for "Heather". I looked to see where she was but could not find her. It still startled me and I told myself to keep pushing. I constantly felt like there was someone right there, but I didn't see anyone again.
Two years ago at this race, three of us finished within seconds of each other and I lost out this added to my paranoia.
In the end both Chris and I did well. And that makes it all the better.