For Stacey Barbossa, Saturday was heavy – yard work, ripping stumps out of the ground, then dancing at a wedding, then the prospect of racing mountain bikes on Sunday…

Stacey can never say no to a busy day and was able to cross all activities off the list.

Better yet, at the Williams Lake MTB race, which is the first stop in the NYS MTB Series, she entered the Pro/Open. “I wasn’t too tired,” Stacey said. “The one o’clock start was a real blessing.”

The morning felt smooth and non-rushed and she was able to get onto the course and spin an easy lap – if there ever is such a thing at Williams Lake, a private course nestled at the foothills of the Catskills mountains, technical and uber-fun riding full of tight rock gardens, short climbs, and cave exploration.

As Stacey put her front wheel on the start line, she was incredibly relaxed. Stacey is training hard, in her final months of foundation work before she starts to elevate her power curve with two blocks of build training.

As an athlete, Stacey responds incredibly well to training stress – with a medium power curve, she is a rider with very few weakpoints. Her training currently is focusing on raw leg strength and developing her upper aerobic capacity. She typically feels very strong during these phases of training, based on her superior aerobic conditioning.

Stacey Barbossa is an aggressive mesomorph – she is a hard athlete, a fierce competitor with an athletic build, thick skin, and excellent posture. Classic traits of mesomorphs are being vigorous, courageous, direct, and dominant.

The whistle blew and the group lunged off the line. Stacey could feel her legs were in a good place and gassed it hard and blasted off the front. Then she sat up – not the time of year to be doing things like that in competition, in a race this arduous.

Elite Endurance Training Systems stablemate Kristine Contento-Angell and current NJ Pro/Open MTB State Champion was pedaling in front of her.

Kristine’s cadence was smooth and strong.

The two of them rumbled up the climb together, accelerating back and forth in front of one another.

Stacey passed her on the flat section and then flubbed a short, steep uphill, and Kristine scuttled by, her technical and climbing skills in a superb place.

Stacey rode behind Kristine for a long while. Kristine was taking very good lines and moving at a fast speed.

Does Stacey stay behind and match the flow? Or does she try and make the race harder, to capitalize on her fitness? Once onto the fire road, she decided to go for it. No guts, no glory, right? Stacey accelerated down the road and got the gap before the next stretch of singletrack.

“I admit that I wasn’t the most awesome on some rocky sections,” Stacey said. “I could hear Kristine’s advice. ‘Go OVER the rocks, don’t try to go around them,’ and she was right. I threw it down where I could… on the flat, fast fire road sections, trying to get out of her sight.”

Stacey races hard and she never looks back. And she knew Kristine was lurking.

The course pops the competitors onto a grassy section of twisties before the start/finish.

The two women could see each other as she wove their way across the field. Stacey kept the throttle open, excited to rip back into the woods. “With each lap, I was more confident on the gnar,” Stacey said. “I was having a blast.”

Stacey was catching a few men who had started in front of her. Every time she passed a rider, she knew it was a blocker between her and Kristine. The two racers were dialed in that second lap, Stacey’s best in terms of technical execution.

By the third lap, Stacey was feeling the fatigue. “My mind was messing with me as I thought just one more lap, but two more for the Open.”

As she popped out onto the grass, just before the final lap, she could see that Kristine was close behind. Kristine could smell blood and was coming for her. “I’m coming for you!” Kristine yelled, grinning.

“There is no way you are going to catch me,” Stacey yelled back. The moment was awesome, two friends contending for overall victory in the Pro event. With a murmur of laughter, the spectators must’ve thought they were insane.

As she passed the spectators in the tents, Stacey laughed and said, “Oh crap, I better hang on now!”

The race was on, a real dogfight: Kristine was strong and agile, confident, and fast in the slower technical sections of the Williams Lake rock gardens. Stacey felt like she had to press, really push her limits in all the tech.

The final lap was gut-check time. You have champion, you have not champion. Ride fast and ride clean and stay on the gas.

Like many days when your best is absolutely required, Stacey was able to ride a very clean final lap, was able to maintain a gap on the charging MTBNJ rider. As a champion MTB competitor herself, Kristine had zero give up.

“This was a hard course, challenging in many ways,” Stacey said. “The short, punchy climbs suck the energy from your legs and then the flats beckon to you to let up, rest and relax, but that can’t be the case. Especially not for me. It was all on, all the time.”

Post-race, Kristine said, “I had a great time, had a great workout, felt like I was trucking along. The first lap Stacey and I dueled. I knew I didn’t have the reserves for a huge push. She slipped out of sight and I tried to reel her in. I kept trucking, never giving up. Racing with Stacey was so much fun. I finished twenty seconds behind.”

This weekend, Stacey is racing her MTB at Ramsey’s Revenge in Delaware and Kristine is racing up at the Kenda Cup Millstone race in Barre, VT.