Idyllwild Spring Challenge – Idyllwild, CA

Just outside Palm Desert up in the mountains at 5300 feet sits the town of Idyllwild, which offers some of the best riding and racing I have yet to come across.  The cross country course was a 27 mile loop course of some sweet buffed-out singletrack.  And that’s no exaggeration….it’s awesome and I highly recommend checking this place out!
This weekend’s stage race would begin with the long cross country on Saturday and then end with the shorter Time Trial and Super D events on Sunday.

Idyllwild's Buffed Out Singletrack

Idyllwild's Buffed Out Singletrack

My hubby Chris and I were staying in Palm Desert with family, and the weather differences were huge between there and Idyllwild.  It would be 70 degrees in the early morning when we left for the race but then it would only be in the 40’s once we got up into the mountains!  It was quite the climate change in a 1 hour drive!  Rest assured, though it was a beautiful weekend with highs in the 60’s.  Perfect race temps!

Cross Country

In addition to the cross country course being fabulous it also offered some superior climbing.  There were three hills, all of which had Queen and King of the Mountain awards and primes for the first lady and man to the top of each one. �
I punched it as hard as I could up each climb because I was seeing $$$ signs instead of stars like I normally do.  It worked, as I grabbed all three Queen of the Mountain primes!!!  Once at the top of the course I had to find my way down to the bottom safely, while still punching it up and over power climbs to get there.  I hadn’t pre-ridden this part of the course so each fast approaching corner was a new experience!  There was a lot of DH to be had and after all that climbing I would have to say that we earned our turns!!
As I made my way down the wooded trail, the boys pushed me as they always do and they were a pleasure to ride with.  Coming in safely and smiling across the line after a three-hour race was the perfect way to end the day while nabbing some nice cash for the win too!

Time Trial

Sunday was a busy day with two races, the Time Trial and the Super D back to back, starting almost right in the town of Idyllwild itself.  I hadn’t pre-ridden either course, so getting on these trails early was imperative.  I was able to get a lap in on the Time Trial singletrack and get warmed up just in time to hammer out my race lap.�
We were all being shot off the line one minute apart, with the Pro Men in front and Expert Men behind.  Yikes!  Don’t want to get caught – pressure was on!!
I had a goal of doing the TT in less than 20 minutes but a chain issue requiring me to get off the bike and hang out in the middle of the singletrack to fix it for what seemed like an eternity put me 9 seconds over that goal.  Bah humbug!   At least I finished!

Super D

Immediately upon completion of the Time Trial I jumped in the car and Chris drove me over to the Super D to check it out.  I didn’t want to do a Super D without seeing it first and there was little time in between races, so we had to rush!!
After taking a good solid look at the course and enjoying every last minute of all the downhill (a Super D is 80% downhill and 20% uphill), Chris picked me up at the bottom in the car and we headed back up to the top for the race start.  They were again sending people off in 1 minute intervals with me being sandwiched in between the pro and expert men.

A Good Day!
A Good Day!

The goal again for myself was 20 minutes or less for the Super D.  I not only met that goal, I was also was able to catch up to the Pro man ahead of me!
My Super D wasn’t without incident, unfortunately.  Even after pre-riding everything I still managed to blow a corner losing all my momentum.  That was really annoying but I was able to get back on track fast enough to start bombing down the hill again!
A weekend of family, sun, wins, primes, trophies, plaques, medals, money and some of the best singletrack out there was the perfect weekend!  And if it weren’t for my sponsors I wouldn’t be doing what I love.  Thanks to all of them for every last speck of support!

–Kathy Sherwin

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