Lisa, Julia, and I raced this past weekend on a team. Rain on Thursday made for somewhat muddy conditions the first few laps, but that has been pretty much par for all my races this season. I was outnumbered ... by two adventure racers who are used to running in bike shoes ... so I did the first lap. The Lemans start was a 1/3 mile run, UP to the bikes. Uggh! But today I had snappy legs, hopped on the bike and was able to hammer out the first lap. Everything about me was good today (wish I could feel like this at all my races).
After the first lap, I handed off to Lisa. At this point, we were just 1 minute behind the first place women's team, which included super fast and super young Natasha Cowie. Lisa's first lap was not her fastest of the day, but she said her lungs and legs were working well. She said that she wasn't quite warmed up at that point and did not see anyone out on the course, so it was hard to push herself. After lap 2, we were down by 2 minutes.
Julia, who I had just recently met at Dirt, Sweat, and Gears, went out on the third lap. I did not know her well and had some reservations about her performance. But she SMOKED!! Sycamore Cycle's 3rd rider. Julia said she passed her about a 1/3 of the way into her lap. When I saw Julia come in first, I was stoked! And then I knew that we had a very good chance of winning. After Julia's first lap, we were ahead by 7 minutes.
On my second lap, I was having a blast, picking off riders one by one. On that lap I counted 22 that I passed, and being passed by no one. So I told my teammates that the race within the race was to see how many riders we could pass on our laps minus the racers that passed us. After I came in on my second lap, we were up 15 minutes.
Each lap, we seemed to gain a little more time on the Sycamore ladies. I kept expecting Natasha to do an extra lap or two to try to take back some time, but they continued their rotation and we ours.
I thoroughly enjoyed not having to wear a Camelbak and being able to eat REAL food during the race. After I would do a lap, I was able to change, stretch, eat, drink, and socialize. I told Terri Berger that this was the first time I was able to enjoy her spaghetti dinner. Although I do enjoy racing solo, I think that I ought to do a few more team relays. It is like a reward for suffering through the long races. And it is good speed work, almost like doing a set of intervals.
I ended up going back out for the 13th and final lap. My first night lap since October '07. As I was fresh, I had a bit of trouble on this lap. I seemed to keep outrunning my light. I had only one, on my helmet. This has always worked well for me during my solo efforts, probably because I was so slow at the end of a 12 hour, I did not have to worry about outrunning my light. I used way too much brake on this last lap and felt like a beginner. Oh well, next time I will put a light on my bar as well.
I ended up racing 55 miles ... a good day of xc efforts. I was able to keep my heartrate high and my legs were like pistons.
Thanks to Zeke for keeping our bikes clean and in good working order and breaking down the pit while I was out doing my last lap. What a man! What a man!
Thanks to Julia for making our two-some a three-some. It definitely made the day more enjoyable and I don't think we could have won it without her.
Oh ... I almost forgot! We did lap Danielle; actually it was Julia who passed her on lap 9. But I have got to give Danielle a lot of credit, bum knees and all. She was a diesel engine out there; her laps were very consistent and she managed 11 of them. I am just glad I was not racing against her. If she is this strong now, come August 2nd, the rest of the 24 hour contenders had better watch out!