Even though I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep Thursday or Friday night, I was still looking forward to racing on Saturday. My alarm woke me from my slumber and it felt like I was moving through honey the first 10 minutes of the morning until I woke up a little more.
I packed the car, made an almond butter and cherry jelly sandwich, poured coffee in my to-go cup and drove down to Morrison. I was expecting to feel a little tired in the race, but I was curious to see where my fitness and recovery was at. The Whiskey 50 was last Sunday, we had a 3 day training camp in Sedona (which I made sure I rode pretty easy other than tackling the technical sections), a 2 day drive and then I was lining up to race? Was I being stupid?
Last year, the race was 50 miles – here is my race report from 2010 if you’re interested. For 2011, they added another lap making it 60 miles and 6 ten mile laps.
The start was interesting. Last year, I felt that Amanda Carey pushed the pace from the start, and she and I battled for many laps before we both detonated and Kelly Boniface came around us. This year, Kelly and I were leading the pack. She was mellow at the start, so I decided to push it and see what happened. We charged up the first climb and immediately shattered the field. Lisa, Kelly, and I had a gap.
…and then it was Kelly and I. Kelly was sitting behind me. I knew how strong she has been riding after seeing her explosive performance at Whiskey 50 prior to her 2 flat tires which unfortunately got the best of her(I think she would have been a podium finisher otherwise). I knew I was pulling her around and that she’d come around me, and after about 6 miles she did and I never saw her again. I was definitely feeling the effort from the fast start. I have been trying to work on starting faster and getting more comfortable leading so that was good experience. My upper quads and low back were hurting and I thought it’d eventually go away.
Going into lap 2, Lisa Hudson caught me as we went through the start finish.
We spent the lap going back and forth. Instead of going with lap 1 strategy, I let her come around me a couple times and sat on her wheel. We took turns and had to make some sketchy passes to stick together. Coming into lap 3, I opened up a gap and spent the rest of the race looking over my shoulder.
Meanwhile, I kept getting reports that Kelly was 1 minute or less in front of me. There was a mix-up in the feed zone and I accidentally got Yuki’s recovery drink instead of water. I was already dehydrated from the heat and spent the next 10 miles nursing the 1/4 of a bottle of water I had left on my bike. All it took was one sip of Yuki’s bottle to ignore it. My mouth was sticky and my lower back was hurting badly. I didn’t want to get caught by Lisa and I kept pushing and hoping that maybe I’d see Kelly. I was nauseated but breathed through it and toughened up my mental state.
Lap 4, I grabbed my bottle and tried to grab a second bottle from neutral support but the hand-off didn’t work out. I was done with my bottle in the first 4 miles of the lap and was again thirsty. I should have carried 2 bottles each lap with the 80F temps and the effort I was laying down. My legs were hurting and the heat was really making my bunionette on my left foot hurt. I unbuckled my shoe and tried to ignore the pain.
Coming in for the final lap, I stopped in the aide station to make sure I got 2 full 24 oz bottles. The first bottle was gone in 3 minutes. The last 20 miles(2 laps) were pretty brutal. I was fatigued, thirsty, and my back and foot were hurting badly. I couldn’t see Lisa anywhere behind me or Kelly in front of me. Kelly ended up opening a sizeable gap in the last 20 miles from 1 minute to 4min 45 sec in the end.
I crossed the line in 2nd overall for the day and immediately sat down on the ground, ripped my shoe off to take the pressure off my bunion and curled in a ball trying to ease my seizing back. The course is tough – there are no places to recover. It’s pedal pedal pedal, even downhill. I kept telling myself, “Stay on the gas” and was glad to be done!
I was very pleased with 2nd place after the crazy week I had leading up to the race and even though the race hurt, I had more power than I thought I would! It was great to have Larry G out there announcing too!
Final women’s overall results:
1. Kelly Boniface 4:10.59
2. Sonya Looney 4:15.44
3. Lisa Hudson 4:26.02
4. Tammy Sadle 4:26.33
5. Joan Orgeldinger 4:27.36
The craziest thing I saw all day was not the rattle snake tail I might have run over (its tail was sticking out in the trail as I passed someone), but the bees. Judy Freeman’s bike somehow attracted the queen bee and there were over 30,000 bees on her bike!
Thanks to Ben Welnak and Jim Fu for photos! Also, thank you to Warriors Cycling for putting on even more endurance events this year. I am currently the series leader, but that will change since I am not racing the Growler this year (or any more of the events due to schedule conflicts)
A HUGE thanks to all my friends and spectators out there on course. Your cheers and encouragement on the course was amazing. It made the harder moments a little easier. Also, thanks to Kathy Davis for the bottle hand-ups!!!
I get to be home until Friday. I’m still waiting on my Canyon full suspension bike which I really really need for my race next weekend in Arkansas. That *should* be here Monday or Tues, and hopefully I’ll have to time to squeeze in a bike fit. Then I’m packing it up and heading to Syllamo’s Revenge for the very technical and mostly singletrack 125K NUE race on Saturday.
In the meantime: maintenance and recovery. Also, HERE is a post on Dirt Rag from myself and Rebecca Rusch, Rich Dillen, Barry Wicks, and Vicky Barclay on our prep for the upcoming Transylvania Epic Stage Raceat the end of the month!! This is my post.
Thanks for reading!