Ursula used her seniority to sit out the first lap. So I got to enjoy the party train. The start was less than ideal for me. Taking one last nature break prior to lining up cost me about 20 rows. I ended up mid pack for the start.
The gun went off. I surged forward for about 100 yards ... and then I seemed to go backwards as racers with all their shifty bits were able to pull away from me. Spinning a cadence of 120, I felt my legs were going to wrap themselves around my cranks and detach from my hips.
Finally, I hit dirt and entered the single track, my domain. Although it seemed like I was in 235th place, I knew that I needed to be patient and let the trail come to me. I passed ALOT of people, mostly on the climbs and burnt a few matches in the process. Since I had a teammate, I could restock a few of those burnt ones while Ursula was out on the trail.
|Photo Credit: Ursula|
Each lap was 13.8 miles in length and had about 1300 feet of climbing. However, with momentum being my best friend, I probably only had to pedal up 900 of those 1300 feet ... on my 2nd and 3rd lap, anyway.
I finally caught up to my SuperSport teammate Lisa Randall who was racing solo, towards the end of the lap. We came through the Start/Finish together. I could tell she was going to have a good day as she looked really strong.
While Ursula was out, I refueled, stretched, and rested. When I thought it was time for her to roll through, I made my way up to the transition area. When Ursula came through on her first lap, we were about 4 minutes behind first. I was bound and determined to make up the difference after my frustrating first lap.
I was on fire my second lap. Finally in my own bubble, I was able to focus on being smooth and efficient. With no one in front of me, I let go of the reins and went as hard as I could. I soon caught Lisa again. From her body language, I could tell she would be able to give Andrea a run for the money.
She was not too far behind Andrea as I caught up to her within a minute or two. As I passed quickly by her, she asked if I was solo or duo. I said, "What do you think ... duo." There was no way I would be blazing by her if I was solo; she is one strong racer chick. Andrea then asked if anyone was ahead of her to which I replied, "It's just you!"
With 6 miles to go, I finally caught the first place team. I passed and then surged, not wanting her to latch on. I continued to race "like a scalded dog," and when I came through the Start/Finish line, I gave Ursula a 4 minute cushion.
Back at the vehicle, I was preparing for my final lap when Lisa zoomed in. I asked what she needed; she looked desperate. She finally told me she had lost a contact and could not find a spare in her vehicle; they were all at the hotel. Not being able to focus well enough at high speeds, she pulled the plug. Damn! I felt really bad for her because she was having such a good race. Guess what now will go in her hydration pack alongside the tube, CO2, and other bike repair items?
Ursula had another amazing lap, maintaining our lead. Knowing that this would be our final lap, I became a wee bit conservative as now was not the time to be fixing a flat or peeling oneself off a tree. I was also feeling my fast second lap ... on the short steep climbs. Legs began to bark! I managed to catch up to Shaggy and he gave me enough motivation to grunt and grind my way up the switchbacks.
I finished us up at 4:01 pm. We ended up 19 minutes ahead of second with a total of 5 laps. Ursula had been a nervous Nelly about living up to my expectations, but in reality she had nothing to worry about. Ursula is 55 years young and does a lot of butt kickin' to women half her age. I just hope that I can keep my fitness like she has hers.
|All teams completed 5 laps|
Once again, I have to commend the Jason Bumgarner and his crew. The couse was pristine, the start was on time, the food was most excellent, the prizes are things I will actually use, the awards were on time, and I got to bring beer home for my hubby.
|Cash for duos, too!|
A big shout out to my team mates Jeff Clayton who won the 40+ solo category and to Van Mixon who was 4th in the 40+ solo.