|Trail perfect for the Specialized Renegade tires|
The weather could not have been better and the trail crew once again amazed me with all their work. The course was about a half mile longer this year due to a re route. The start was flat pavement (a single speeder's nightmare) and my race almost ended before it began as some "flying incompetent" about took out my front wheel with his rear wheel as he came around me. Really? Did that almost happen? This is what I was thinking as I shouted a choice word or two at him. Everyone around me heard it, too, and gave me room to breathe.
Lap 1: Typical start for a 6 hour. I got to practice my trackstanding abilities whilst the gearies clicked it down to granny on the climbs. I also went through a series of L6 efforts passing those who raced the initial pavement like a crit, only to blow up mid way through the lap. Lets just say that this lap was a 1 hour and 18 minute warm up. At least Kip was there for most of it to fill me in on what his fam has been doing the past year.
Lap 2: Some breathing room finally. I was able to hook up with a few other single speeders and get into that 1 gear groove. Although there is about 1300 feet of climbing per lap and 3-4 climbs of some length, I was saying to myself, "Climbs, what climbs?" As I rolled through one of the pavement intersections, I was told I was the first female. That was reassuring as, up until now, I had no idea where I was in the female field. Now, just to keep the pace up, the ladies behind me and start reeling in the men.
|Leading a SS Train|
Lap 3: Still feeling good, i.e. "What climbs?", I began to have some twinges in my hamstrings. It was only in the upper 50's and I was fueling well, so it could only be I was pushing a harder effort than what my body could deal with. I took it down a notch, settled in, and those "pre-cramps" went away. Disaster averted. It was still my fastest lap.
Lap 4: I was cruising behind Cam (Kip's team mate) enjoying his pace, when his rear wheel lost traction around a corner. He managed to save it, or so I thought. But then an instant later, his rear wheel was up IN MY FACE. How Cam managed to go from a rear tire slide to a full-on endo mystifies me, but I had only a second to decide if I was going to eat the tire or else. I chose the "or else," grabbing his wheel. I managed to stay upright as our bikes interlocked, and we both came to a stop. Me, on my two feet, holding Cam's wheel, and Cam on the ground, but at least it was not head first. It took a moment for us to untangle (think Twister, but with bikes). After seeing Cam get up and brush himself off, I left the scene. Not knowing how far second was behind me, I kicked it into high gear ... no, wait. I did not have but one. I kicked it into a higher cadence for a bit to make up some lost time.
Lap 5: This is the "Where did those climbs come from? lap. I came upon a single speeder in a green and pink kit on a Kermit green Niner. I like a guy who is not afraid to wear pink! Brett was his name and he was on a good pace, so I just stuck to his wheel and enjoyed his lines. I told him that if they gave time bonuses for style, he would get at least 3 minutes.
I always try to get in a XC mindset on the last lap, urging my body to get up to XC speed. It is funny how I always think/feel I am going faster this way, but when I look at my lap times later, it is always the same speed! Well, as I was in this mindset, Brett began to slow on the climbs. I encouraged him to wick it up by saying, "Can I get around you?" Sho' nuff, he hammered harder, dropping me, but after awhile I reeled him back in. Jokingly, I said, "Don't make me have to pass you!' He laughed, but his gas tank was empty, and he let me on by. We must have rode about 1/2 of the lap together. A great lap with a good guy.
I managed to get in 5 laps and 68 miles just under the 6 hour mark. A great day on the bike. Thanks to Shanna and Endless Bikes for a stealthy quiet drive train. I swear her cogs make me 5% faster.
|Shanna was a fill in for Brenda!|
Zdenka had an awesome race and came in second. Brenda Simril, despite a hard crash on the first lap, still managed to podium. The best compliment I received that day was from Jon Stang, as I passed him on the final lap. He said, "There is no shame in being passed by you." Thanks, Jon, for that encouragement.
|The volunteers made this race!|
The prizes and cash were overflowing the podium bags. But the best prize of all was this:
This race just keeps getting better. If you have not done this one yet, put it on the list for 2014. But sign up quick, as it sells out in minutes.