“Ugh, how is this happening, again?!?” I expressed my anguish over the weather while I took cover under Sully’s team tent. Whiskey 50 was the next day and the weather still didn’t look great. I was in my riding clothes trying to pre-ride and stuck watching the ebb and flow of precipitation come down. The saying goes “chamois time is training time” and so I was able to get my pre-ride in by sitting in my riding clothes for an hour constantly checking the weather for race day and questioning why I voluntarily chose to come back.
The rain wasn’t suppose to start until noon for our race, but I wasn’t convinced. I even stashed a third set of winter gloves behind the bladder in my camelbak just to guarantee they would remain dry. I even debated wearing shoe covers, Sully thought that was a little much but the constant flashbacks of last year had me questioning his rationality.
|All the layers!|
The morning of the race I woke up and stepped outside to be pleasantly surprised with only a crisp chill in the air and cloud coverage, but no rain, no snow. I still put on a long sleeve base-layer, jersey, arm warmers vest, and long sleeve jersey. As well as a hat, buff (to cover my neck), winter gloves and knee warmers, but no shoe covers. Sully talked me into leaving my long sleeve jersey with him at the start line which later I was grateful that I relinquished it. The start began with a bang (literally multiple guns), and with a rough game plan of trying to get as far up the front as possible to get on the single track first. I took off and began the longest training ride on my mountain bike of this year. Getting on the single track was effortless and I was surprised at just how much of a different race it is when you ride everything. At one point on it the riders bottlenecked and
everyone had to get off, not sure what was happening I was a little anxious. The lady behind me must have picked up on it and assured me it was fine, we were in 5th and 6th place so no reason to panic. I wasn’t as conscious about my place as I was trying to make sure I didn’t get cold again.
The single track was really fun and over too soon. The next section is a fire road down to the turn around point, Sully told me it wasn’t worth trying to mash down it and just ride it. I ate some food on the way
down- unfortunately I hadn’t done the best job wrapping it in aluminum foil and so the peanut butter went all over my face as I tried to squeeze it out (good thing I already have a boyfriend!). At the turn around I grabbed a full banana without dismounting and began the trudge back up the hill. The first 11 miles weren’t bad at all, the last three were brutal. I had a bit of a biomechanical with everything beginning to ache. I just had to get back to the single track and so I schlepped along, and didn’t put up much a fight when I would get passed. At some point during long endurance races I find it becomes less of a race against everyone else and more of a race against yourself. I was at that point, I just needed to finish.
|This was before cramp hill…or after|
I reached the single track and every ache I had seemed to go away. I’m sure it was more mental in knowing I was almost done and back to the fun. I’ve followed enough of Sully’s wheels to feel pretty confident with my descending skills at this point. There was one concern I had and that was “cramp hill” I was informed that most people cramp on it but it’s only about 4 minutes so if you have to get off and walk it’s not too bad. I kept riding and each little hill would wonder if it was it, and then I wouldn’t cramp and so would wait for the next one. This continued until I reached the pavement and realized that I still have no idea which hill was cramp hill. The last miles on pavement are still mostly down hill, I was so excited that I was actually going to finish I didn’t even care when it started raining. I came across the finish line and was so relieved that it was over with no snow- and no need for a third pair of gloves!
I ended up finishing 9th overall for women. Those last three miles on the hill I got passed by 4 or 5 girls and was only able to catch back up to one. It’s early enough in the season that I’m happy with how I finished and I know I have somethings to work on; like preventing biomechanicals and doing a better job wrapping my food. Sully and I went for a ride in Prescott on Monday and wouldn’t you know the weather was near perfect. So much so that one of the girls on his team is convinced that I’m the one who brings the bad weather.
|Skies out…thighs out|