|Semi sparkly today|
After a few years' absence, the stars aligned and I was able to race in my "backyard." Due to the tremendous trail work effort by Henry Trent and Scott's Bike Shop, racers were treated to a blazing fast course on Sunday.
Leading up to this one, I was dealing with a disrupted GI tract. Four weeks ago, I decided to try some home made banana bread I had made for the family. It had rice flour in it. I had been rice free for 8 months, so I decided to try a second time to reintroduce it. BIG MISTAKE. Two days later, I was suffering from its ill effects on my ever so delicate small bowel. After two weeks, the inflammatory effects resolved, but then something else "disemboweled" me. I felt "glutened," but not to the degree that I usually feel. The only thing I could think of was I cross contaminated myself when making my family some sandwiches or that I may have a GI bug of some sort.
Come race day, I was beginning to feel a bit better. Perhaps it was the excitement of racing, but I was ready to rumble! With their being no other Pro Women, it was just me and my shadow. So I jumped in with the "big boys" and raced with the Pro/Expert Men.
The start was fast and furious! I wasn't 30 seconds into it when some guy locked his handlebars with mine. Really!?! We had a whole lane of pavement and it was not that crowded. That was a scary 3 seconds. (He later came up to me and apologized.)
I settled into a leg warming spin up the 2 mile climb and got a fairly decent jump into the Brush Creek single track. I soon caught up to two single speeders, making me wish I was on my Cysco. But alas, she was just built 2 days ago and I figured I did not need to make her first ride this race. Patience, grasshopper!
Brush Creek, Boyd Gap, and Old Copper Road went by quickly and soon I was climbing up Bear Paw. This is when the race got a little frustrating for me. I was feeling pretty good now and had my climbing legs on and wanted to go, go, go! But it seemed the guys I was with thought that this was some sort of Enduro race. You know, lolligagging on the climbs and killing it on the descents. I wanted to kill it on the climbs as well so I bided my time and passed when I could.
Soon I was on the climb on FS 45 and made short work of several guys. And then I was mostly alone to rail West Fork, the Quartz Loop, Bypass, and Riverview. After dealing with my GI issues for the past 4 weeks, I was pleasantly surprised that I had the engine that I did today. I flew down Riverview, grabbed one last bottle from Jay at the last aid station, and then did the TT of my life back up Old Copper Road, Boyd Gap, and Brush Creek. I had energy to burn and a time I wanted to beat, 3:15. The climb up Boyd Gap was tougher than I had expected, but once I crested the top, it was mostly downhill from there. With nobody to impede my speed on Brush Creek, I flew to the finish.
I rolled across in 3:18. With the sun's help I was able to beat my shadow and I placed 21 out of about 300 racers. The best thing about finishing was the ice cold fresh watermelon, pineapple, grapes, and cantaloupe that was right across the finish line. REAL FOOD! Oh my God, fruit never tasted so good!
Despite Mr. Gluten's best efforts to take me out, I ended up dragging his GMO ass all over the Cherokee National Forest. Next time he wants to screw with me he better bring back up!