There were two things that happened at the SilverRush 50 that I didn’t plan for:
1.) Launching my bike off my car rack on the way to the race (don’t worry it’s fine!)
2.) Winning an entry into Leadville 2016….my mother is already praying
I guess I knew #2 was a possibility but it seemed to be the furthest thought from my mind, I was focused mostly on trying to improve my Leadville coral position and on racing my own race and not worry about anyone around me. I successfully achieved both of those even with my legs deciding not to show up.
The race started like it did every year, with some chaos interrupting my calm focus. The first year I had to call my dad to help me figure out where the start was, last year I had to call Dana to bring me my camelbak, and this year I was driving when I hit a dip and launched the rear wheel of my bike off the bike rack and smack onto the street. Fortunately I saw it right away and with my friends in the car right behind me they both reassured me that it was fine. Not like I had a second bike if it wasn’t fine so figured I would ride it until it broke (it never did).
At the start I double checked my rear tire pressure and it seemed to be holding so wasn’t going to fret about it. The hike up at the start is always awful, immediately my legs were questioned why I was doing this but once I was on the bike they seemed to settle into a rhythm. I had talked to my coach
about the course and decided it best to ride the first 10 miles conservatively at it is a steady climb, there would be plenty of other places to blow myself up. And so I did, I settled into my pace and just turned over the pedals hoping to wake my legs up. The last 4 miles of the climb are on a donkey trail that is pretty rutted out and has some questionable lines. My only goal was to not have to walk any of it because I knew mentally it would make my day harder. So I didn’t, I kept climbing and was thankful to the guys walking behind me who would call out to those in front of me that I was coming.
I was relieved when I turned off the climb and onto the gravel road that pulled me down by the first aid station and into the forest. I kept descending knowing it would only lead to more climbing. That climb was followed again by a quick descent and another climb that sent me over the highest point and down into the turn around. I knew I didn’t want to waste too much time at the half way aid station so when I rode by I grabbed two bananas and five gels just to be safe, because what’s a race if you don’t cross the finish line with at least an extra 1700 calories of food.
The way back always seems shorter than the way out, and it is, time wise but nothing substantial because all those downhills on the way out become uphills on the way back. The way back though involves about a mile or two of hike-a-bike section which made me grumble because I hate hiking with my bike. After that it was followed by a descent back into the forest when I saw one of my friends on the way out. Unfortunately it was on a corner and only realized who it was after passing her. We shouted at each other and then continued on our separate ways. Getting back to the final aid station seemed faster than I thought it would be. The climbs are shorter and the descents are longer. I followed one guy into a descent and saw him crash right in front of me but luckily I took the cleaner line and remained unscathed. I pulled into the last aid station not really needing anything but figured if they were handing out water I would take it. The girl I rode to
|This is Suzy, she’s also from West River, we represented|
only had coke and not wanting to waste time waiting for water I took it and mentally prepared for the last push of the day, 4 miles up the gravel road before taking the 10 mile descent into town. I settled into a pace, and kept rhythm by reciting prayers and old poetry (really the only time I break out any poetry is when I’m climbing on my bike). About half way up I got passed by one lady and was able to sit on her wheel for the most part and have her pull me the rest of the way. I also knew that the descent provided two lines so wasn’t worried about getting stuck behind some cranky old guy like last weekend. Before I knew it we were turning onto the descent and I was opening up my suspension. I felt great going down, smooth, clean, and focused. Maybe one of the most confident descents I’ve had in a long time. I was able to pick clean lines and navigate around other riders with ease. I knew this is where I could make up some time so I kept pushing and kept pedaling. I watched the mileage climb with the approach of town near. I had passed three girls on the descent and didn’t want them to have the opportunity to pass me back. With 1.5 miles left to go there is a short steep hill that I knew if anyone would catch me it would be on that, especially if I had to get off and walk. I focused, shifted down in time and mashed up it and kept cruising to the finish line.
I was happy with my finish I took an 1:05 off my time from last year and 5 minutes off the time from the year before (5:50 was this year). I felt pretty good because I had raced my race and even with my legs not feeling 100% I was able to keep riding and not sulk about it. I ended up winning my age group which was nice, especially because second place came in 30 seconds behind me. Winning gives me the opportunity to race Leadville in 2016. I didn’t even think about that as being an option. When I was up on the podium they give you an option of taking the coin to register later or passing it up. I took it; but still have yet to register.