Race Report from Gianluca Ambrogio : CCCX MTB XC RACE #1 February 12, 2023

This was my first XCO race in a MTB Series. As first time and not knowing exactly what to expect, I’ve decided to join Cat 3. I had no real goals for the race other than do my best.
The starting line was in a paved section that would join the trails at about 1/3 of the course. People were in line by age groups, starting with 30sec gap between each other: first in line Middle School, last in line Cat 3 55+. My strategy: do a hard sprint effort on the paved section to gain as many positions as possible, be in the front at the first corner and avoid traffic on the trails. This strategy would have allowed me to gain time from my competitor in my age group and position myself with less people on the trails to pass. Strategy has worked as I was able to gain about 20 sec gap from the second in my category from lap 1 and expanded it to almost a minute by lap 3.
With less traffic in front of me I was able to a set a decent pace and gain distance especially on the short and sharp climbing sections. Even if not  a very technical course, I really enjoyed the fast rolling trails that allowed to gain more confidence in corners and set a faster pace lap after lap and ultimately win the race in my category.
I definitely enjoyed it and it was fun!. However, I don’t think I will complete all the events in the MTB series. Instead I will try a different course (maybe more technical?) in a different location and step up in category. I’m thinking about TBF racing in Sacramento next time. If anyone else in the team is planning of doing it, I’d be excited to learn from more experienced racers (XCO is not my specialty after all) and have fun together.

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