I will try to make this as brief and not boring as possible...so nothing like the race itself :-)
The run was not real long, but painful none the less. I can't believe I ever used to be a runner. I swear I thought I tore my hip flexor in the first 10 feet of the run. I guess I should have warmed up first instead of chatting with everyone I saw.
I was surprised I wasn't the last one on the bike..the course started out with a long section of doubletrack for the first lap to spread things out. A nice long gradual downhill followed by slight inclines made sure I was spinning my legs off and let a lot of people pass me..including Sarah K and some other solo women. I expected this, though. My hope was that the other solo women would crank in their big rings for the first half of the race..and then blow up...and I would consistently pedal my singlespeed all the way to the podium. Nice thought, in theory.
We finally hit the first section of singletrack, not even technical, and everyone was stopped and walking. This right here is the reason I need to start sprinting in the run. This was unbelieveably painful.
The daylight laps went on as planned, I was feeling awesome after finally warming up (it took long enough!) and I was riding consistently. Trev and Anne, my support folks who had graciously volunteered to fly up from ATL to help me out were new to this thing but learning quickly. I had to guide them through some things, but that was to be expected. They got a lot quicker as the race went on, with having stuff ready and waiting for me.
The flat course was really a lot tougher than I thought it would be..no time for recovery. You had to be "on" in all the singletrack..use of the front brake could prove disasterous if used incorrectly.
I think it was 7pm that we were required to have lights on, but I like to wait until the last possible second to actually turn them on while I'm riding (to save battery life). This proved to be a mistake because as I was descending a short rocky section, I took a bad line and rolled over a sharp rock that instantly pinch flatted my rear tire. Oh shit...my worst nightmare. In all the races I have done to date, I have not flatted even once. Now, it was happening on my rear tire, in mosquito-ville. I think I got the West Nile virus from this whole episode...I was covered from head to toe in mosquito bites. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my tire off the rim. The new WTB tire + Stans rim is a tough combo and I couldn't get the kwik stik lever under the bead (should have kept a regular lever with me too). Sarah K actually stopped and used her lever to get my tire off to me. I couldn't believe it..how nice was that. Well, then...my CO2 wouldn't work. That was the point that I started crying...uncontrollably. I picked up my bike and started walking. I realized I would have to walk at least 8 miles or more to get back and I put the bike down and tried again..no luck. Nat Ross came by and said "oh....Eddie's coming". I waited..waited..no Eddie. I kept walking. Finally, I saw him and he stopped to help. I can't thank him enough. It would have been the end of my race had he not helped me. Now, I'm FOR SURE getting tubeless set up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, that lap turned out to be about 45 min. longer than expected. I was angry, and ready to come back. It was now dark, and my crew told me I should be good with my batteries. Unfortunately, 4 miles into that lap, both my lights died. I think everyone in the forest could hear the F-bombs I threw out at that point!! This is not a course you can easily follow someone else out on...it is so tight in the singletrack. A really nice guy named Scott offered to let me follow him, then he just ended up giving me his helmet light. I ran it on "low" so it was still kind of hard to see, but better than nothing. I'm spoiled and used to the big 2-HID Light & Motion setup. About 25 minutes later, that borrowed light died too. WTF!!! I followed some others when I could...walked when I had to. Then, another nice guy, who was actually pitting with the other nice guy Scott, loaned me his Niterider bar mount. Wow, I was really impressed with all the kind gestures I was receiving. Unfortunately, again, that light was near death and I had to follow others out until I got to the pit area. Another really long, bad lap. When I got to the pits, I couldn't hide my frustration with the pit crew...apparently I was given one superlight battery with half the burn time and the second one was either another SL or an uncharged battery. At this point, I was in 8th place and there was no way I could make my way back up to 5th. This was really hard to swallow. I didn't give up even though I didn't see the point if I wasn't going to podium. The other girls were staying consistent and I just had two really bad laps. Physically, my legs were still rockin' but I wasn't taking enough calories in since I hadn't planned on those extra long lap times. I always cry at some point during the night at a 24, but I spent 90% of the next lap with tears streaming down my face because I felt sorry for myself. I had worked so hard for this race...I felt great...but with only one gear to work with here I was pretty much screwed when it came time to play catch up to everyone else. I knew it couldn't happen. I concentrated on just riding smooth and taking in as many calories as I could so I could finish the race out without losing any more positions.
I was really happy with my gear selection, the only things that really hurt were my toes, hands, and butt. That's why I prefer a course with more climbing and descending. I finished with 12 laps, 171.3 miles, and a beer.
Trev, Anne, and Richard Walker (the crew)...a millon thanks for making the trip and all the help...I know it is a tuff job.
Everyone for the cheering...Poz, Roberta, Steve & Kirsten, The Founders Racing & Slingshot crews...Joe P, Dan J, Jason, Scott, Chris, Aaron, and more....seriously, thanks.Vassago Cycles
, White Brothers
, Twin Six
, Industry Nine
, and Eddie O
for setting me up to do the best I could. I only wish I could have done better....NEXT YEAR!!!
Do you think Chris Eatough has to work on his bike by himself behind the laundromat the day before the race? Hmm...
This is how I feel about running:
Me, winning my own make-believe Womens SS National Champ category...Go ME!!
I think Danielle finds Nat Ross..um...yummy.More pix to be posted here soon