10 minutes..That's the time difference between 1st and 2nd place. The Cowbell Challenge 12 hour had a lot of really close races this time..no time to rest and take it easy for anyone.
There were four women signed up for the Womens Singlespeed class, and Rebecca Toma-wicki-wicki was there...fresh of Trans-Germany. She was on a 26" rigid SS with a bigger gear than mine. She knows this course way better than I do, so I knew she would be the main competition for the race. The entire race was spent with Rebecca and I anywhere between 30 seconds and 5 minutes apart..some laps she would lead, some laps I would lead. Somewhere around lap 5 or so, the heat started really getting to me and I was forced to slow a bit to curb my cramping toes and unsettled stomach. On one of the late afternoon laps, Rebecca came from behind, rode by me, and I knew I didn't have it in me to chase her down on that lap. Eventually, I caught up with her in the pits, and she rolled out on her last lap with lights about 45 seconds before I did. I knew it would be the last lap for both of us and I'd have to lay it all out to catch her..apparently Trans Germany was good for her leg strength! I kept seeing hints of her at various places on the trail and I would hammer up every hill I could...to the point that I really wanted to puke several times. I was envisioning the race turning into a sprint finish a la Danielle & Carey at Cohutta 100. As I hit the long steep "clay climb", I felt my cranks wobbling again...oh $hit! I knew what this meant. My crank bolt had come loose on the right side earlier in the day...now it was the left. I tried to squeak a couple more pedal strokes to get to a flat spot and WHAM..crank arm is off. I wanted to cry..scream..why me...but I didn't even have the energy. I peeled my pedal off my shoe and pulled out my tool. Soon after, it felt a little loose again so Taylor offered to tighten it as I really didn't have any energy. At this point in the game, I pretty much had resigned myself to 2nd place..there was no way I could make up that lost time as the last 3/4 of the course was not too hard and I was sure Rebecca could hammer it with her gearing. Eddie
ended up catching me on a climb so I jumped on his wheel and he motivated me to finish strong. It was pretty cool that we got to cross the finish line together. I ended up in 2nd place by 10 minutes and 5th overall of the Women Solo racers...while I was happy with how I rode all day..I rolled with a bigger gear than I'm used to racing with (thanks Arleigh
)...I was a little disappointed in how it turned out in the end. But, like I said, Rebecca is strong and completely deserved the win. It was SUPER cool that the Cowbell Challenge had equal payouts for all the solo categories, including Womens Singlespeed!!! What a nice surprise :-) Congrats to Eddie for also coming in 2nd in the Solo mens cat with some really tough competition.
Many many many thanks to the following:
Brandon, Tracey, and Lisa for their incredible support before, during, and after the race...a real kick ass pit crew!!Arleigh
for the mechanical support and for playing "surprise" hostess friday night for our large group of friends...you rock.
Taylor, Bart, and Connie of the Cowbell Challenge for putting on a stellar race at an awesome trail...and we really appreciate the equal payout..THANKS!!Vassago Cycles
for a bike that can ride beautifully through anything
...even when I am dead tired. Thanks, also, to Misty who flew out from Cali to help support at the race!!WTB
for all their support..I am running the Exiwolf on the F and the Nanoraptor on the R..I have been for awhile now, and have had unbelievable traction on everything.White Brothers
for a fork that I am finally happy with
:) Enough said.Ergon
for getting me the new gloves before the race. With those grips, I can still feel all of my fingers after racing 12 hours..that is sweet.
I don't have many pics so if anyone else has racing pics please email them to me!