So, coming through the Start/Finish, after the first lap, I felt pretty good, or so I thought. I hopped back onto some singletrack which led back to the Boreas Pass climb. People (I think Erica and Josh) were cheering for me, which helped to get me pumped for the climb. I am Mrs. Consistency when it comes to laps, so I figured I would be able to ride the second lap aound 2:30 as well, especially since there would be less congestion on the singletrack.
The climb up Boreas pass went uneventfully. I was making about the same time as Lap 1. At Aid Station 1, I dropped my Camelbak and decided to run just water bottles. I figured I had enough calories left in my gel flask to finish the race.
But when I started the double track/singletrack climb back up to Iowa Mill, something bad began to happen (which has NEVER happened to me before). I was overcome with nausea and stomach cramps. Thank God I wasn't above treeline because I made a beeline for a large spruce ... and unloaded at both ends. After what seemed like an eternity, I forced myself to get back on the bike and soft pedal up the remainder of the climb.
I thought about throwing the towel in; well, for a millisecond, but once I got to the top of the climb, I started feeling a bit better. The descent down to Sally Barber mine and on down to French Gulch Road was a thrill ride; no people to pass, cramping was fading, and I didn't have to pedal.
The climb up Little French Gulch was painstakingly slow. I had to dismount a couple times as whenever I tried to power up, my stomach would remind me of what happened a few miles back. So I took it easy, crossed Little French Creek, and rode the flume uneventfully.
As I was coming into Lincoln Meadows, I passed a woman in my class, who was having a mechanical. Sweet for me, as I was back in 5th. Then just up ahead I saw Melissa. Knowing I did not have it in me to power past her, I went into "stealth mode," keeping a couple guys between her and I, and hoping my GI system would improve.
Climbing back up the road to Sally Barber mine, I began to feel the strength flow back into the legs. So, about 20 meters from the top, I said, "What the hell; let's see what I got." So I clicked Indy into the big ring and made a jump. I raced past her like a scalded dog. I knew there was about 1 1/2 miles to the singletrack, so I just hammmered. I felt for sure she would leap onto my wheel. But when I looked back after a minute or so, she was nowhere in sight. I did not let my guard down as I knew she was an excellent descender.
I passed a couple guys, hit the singletrack, and pedaled my heart out. Thankfully, I did not awaken the Gods of Spewing, and several minutes later, finished in 4th place.
All in all it was a good day. It could have been worse; I was just happy that there was not a DNF after my name. And I would not have changed how I managed the week leading up to the race for nothing. I had such a fabulous time with Zeke getting my Colorado singletrack fix in such awesome places as Salida, Gunnison, Crested Butte, and Breck. Memories that will last forever!
I am already trying to figure out how I can get back out there next year!