|Photo: Justin Tamplin|
Right from the gun, she rode an aggressive race. "The holeshot was a left turn on to loose dirt, so I knew there was the potential for carnage," she said. "I gunned it off the line, got the holeshot and push hard up the first hill."
She was in the front for the first lap, followed closely by teammate Kate and Feedback Sports' Caitlyn Vestal on a fast, grassy course that had several extended power sections and a tricky sandpit.
"Near the middle of the race Caitlyn closed the gap to about five seconds," Melissa explained. "However, I was able to gain a little time back by riding both sandpits and pushing hard on the climb. I dug deep and tried to squeeze out every extra second I could by being consistent and smooth.
"People all around the course were yelling encouragement and giving me splits. By the last lap, I was holding a 15-second lead and starting to realize that I might actually be able hold my lead."
And she held it, with Caitlyn finishing close behind, and Kate riding home to third place.