2016 Cycling Recap: KC Holley

KC Holley is a member of KÜHL’s Cycling Team. She’d rather be in the mountains than anywhere else.


2016 Recap

My unspoken focus in 2016 was endurance events. I still competed in typical cross country length races, but placing well in endurance events was my goal. I took first in both the XC and EXC series of the ICUP.

Desert Rampage ICUP XC
Result: 4th Place Elite Women

True Grit 50
Result: 4th Place Open Women

The week after Desert Rampage, I raced True Grit, a 50 mile (or so) race on the technical terrain of St. George, UT. This race is tough, but fun at the same time.

Starting in Santa Clara, things unfolded as I anticipated. I’m not good riding in a group so I lost some time, but again I expected this. Once we hit the rocks, I started to find my groove and started picking off competitors. By the time I got to the Zen Trail, I was in a better position and making up lost time. Zen went well, and I got a quick feed. I still had to get through Stucki Springs, which I dreaded, but then I knew it was just fun stuff to the end.

Stucki wasn’t that bad, and I didn’t blow a tire on the Rim Trails. All that was left was Barrel Roll trail which is just plain fun. It wasn’t a smooth ride, but I could see third place in front of me. With this motivation, I pushed hard. I never caught third place, but I finished less than a minute behind her.

Cactus Hugger ICUP XC
Result: 5th Place Elite Women

Thaw Massacre ICUP EXC
Result: 1st Place Elite Women

The 50 mile Thaw Massacre takes place in the iconic rocks of Moab. I love Moab and know the course so I love this techy race. This year included the same trails as last year with minor variations. I was super excited. It rained and rained the day before, so the race was delayed a bit which allowed for some nervousness to settle.

At the start I made sure not to panic about positioning, but I’d hoped to be in a slightly better place entering the single track. I made more aggressive passes than I normally would in order to get to the front. I couldn’t sit back on the technical portions because that’s where I can take time. I reached the front and rode smoothly and consistently to the finish.

12 Hours of Mesa Verde
Result: 1st Place Coed Duo

I always have a good time at Mesa Verde. It stages in the shadows of Mesa Verde National Park outside of Cortez, CO. The trail system is known as Phil’s World and is an amazing mix of techy rocky sections followed by smooth BMX style rollers. It has a little something for everyone.

I compete with my husband on a Coed Duo team. A bunch of friends come down, we camp, and have fun competing. Our toddler adds an additional level of complexity to the race; she’s our secondary baton we hand off in the timing tent.  Luckily she’s good natured and doesn’t seem to mind acting as our baton. But ‘recovering’ between laps is a bit more complicated!

Chris always takes the first lap, and he was on fire, coming in with a great time. I try to hold a quick consistent lap time throughout the race in hopes of not losing his lead. I did fairly well with a time difference of about three minutes between my fastest and slowest (last) lap. We finished first in our category and 11th overall.

Stan Crane Memorial ICUP XC
Result: 5th Place Elite Women

Wasatch Back 50 ICUP EXC
2nd Place Elite Women

A two-lap, 50-mile race at the outskirts of Heber, the Wasatch Back 50 provides a great climb, fun descent, and a mix of mountain beauty. I find myself struggling to stay in touch with the competition on the climbs, but I make up time on the descent. This works well on the first lap but is more of a gamble on the second lap. This year it was more of the same. and I scratched my way into second with the leader in my sights at the one lap mark. The pace was too much on the climb of the second lap, and I lost the leader. I wasn’t able to make the time back, but I was pleased with second.

Rage at Snowbird ICUP XC
Result: 2nd Place Elite Women

Brian Head ICUP EXC
Result: 2nd Place Elite Women

The trails around Brian Head are amazing and can be super techy and rocky. This course has a killer road climb in the middle of it, so I opted to ride my hard tail. I wasn’t sure if that decision would haunt me on the descent, but I thought it was worth a shot. It paid off for me! I minimized my losses on the climbs, but still rode smooth-ish on the descents. I was completely blown, my body rocked, by the end, but I was able to take second against some notable competition.

Sundance ICUP XC
Result: 2nd Place Elite Women

Draper City EXC
Result: 1st Place Elite Women

Historically, I’ve struggled on this course both at the endurance and cross country distance. Nonetheless, I was determined to have a good day. The course wasn’t closed so oncoming traffic made this race scary. I had a close call that almost took me out of the race mentally, but I stuck with it. I was leading and knew maintaining was pivotal for the overall. I kept expecting competitors to catch me, but I kept the lead to the end for the win.

Park City Point 2 Point
Result: 7th Place Female Open

This quintessential mountain bike race always has the toughest competition. After a fast start at Round Valley, the course climbs up and through Deer Valley, up and down to Park City Mountain Resort, and then up to the Canyons. Exasperated by 50+ miles of leg fatigue, the rocky, rough descents at the end are particularly challenging, plus I had bike issues that made the rocky sections harsher than they should have been. Despite some dark times, I persevered and finished just off the podium in over eight and a half hours.

Kühl Editor

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