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Race Report – Ouachita Challenge 60 mile

By April 5, 2009March 22nd, 201730 Comments

I had never been to Arkansas, let alone done any riding in the midwest other than in South Dakota last August. Yuki, Jeff, and I painfully pulled our bodies out of bed at 4:45 AM and ate a breakfast consisting of COFFEE, whole wheat pasta, scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, and olive oil. Around 6 AM, we headed to the venue… in the sprinkling rain. After meeting a few more new friends (I love it when my blog readers say hey-o!), I put on some layers and rode around for a quick 20 minute workout, and fortunately was able to leave some behind for the start.

There were a ton of people lined up to start (like 200+)and I was a little nervous because riding in a pack on the road for like 6 miles is kinda sketchy. I tried to take it easy, but it’s hard when you have that many people. Coach told me to chill for at least 30 min, and I was half-ass chilling, but once we were halfway up the doubletrack climb and people slowed down, I couldn’t take it and had to go around. I *should* have been more patient. Next was singletrack – there was a lot of carnage – people crashing, flat tires. I got in a groove with a group of guys on a road climb for awhile, but I kept asking myself, “Can I go this hard for 5 hours?” (Jeff’s advice) and the answer was NO, so I backed off for while. I soft-pedaled to the first aide station the best I could to recover, and was lucky again to get in a group with 4-5 guys on a long road section. I somehow pulled away from them later on the gravel road and came up on another guy to ride with.

I had taken in 2 bottles and a lot of Gus on the road, so by the time we hit the Ouachita and Blowout Mountain singletrack, I felt pretty good. I pushed way too hard up the Blowout Mountain climb and drained every ounce of fight I had in me. It got really technical, and I found myself on and off the bike a lot. I tried to ride some of the “scary” sections, and then it happened. Down I went head first over the bars, and the bike went on top of me. I tried to shake it off, but my bike kept making weird noises. I kept stopping to try to figure it out, but it wasn’t making sense. A guy behind me named Andrew (that I rode with for a lot of the latter portions of the race) commented that I broke a spoke. The rest of the race was not so good. I was freaked from my crash and was riding way too conservative – no Looney donkey tuck on the DHs, and my legs were dead and felt like blocks of cement. I somehow did not eat or drink much on Blowout Mountain. After the third aide station, I was walking up some of the climbs and trying to chug Cytomax. The trouble was that I felt nauseated and my eyes wouldn’t focus. That is a bad sign but I got over it and started to become at least functional. I remembered something Dave Wiens said. He said, “Even when it’s the toughest times, you just keep pedaling. One foot after the other.”  I was looking and looking for the last turn onto the long gravel road. Andrew rode with me and pulled a great portion back to town. I couldn’t believe I won based on how much I slowed down the last 20 miles. I know what I’m supposed to do in endurance racing, but in practice, sometimes it’s hard to obey the rules. Hopefully next time I will be smarter, and I feel kind of lucky I won! Fortunately the next girl (I heard some she was some fast girl from Texas) was 20-30min behind and she was probably having a hell of a time like me.  I could swear she was going to catch me!

A crystal trophy!

Thanks to Jeff for letting me wear his jersey and get it all muddy and sweaty! Also thanks to Twin Six for sending me a T6 kit. I used the bibs in the race!

What I consumed during the race:

8 or 9 Gus

3 Tab-Eletes (I should have done more but they were all messed up in my pocket from the tons and tons of wetness from the trail)

2 packs of Margarita Clif Blocks.  The new packaging is awesome.

2 big bottles, 4 small bottles (I should have had more water too)

Jeff told me I got 15th overall, out of the guys. My reaction, “no. that can’t be right.” It was! Funny to think I was riding around 10th for a good portion of the race. Whhhhaaaa?!? (yeah, the last 20 miles were not pretty)

I had fun but it was one of the toughest races I have done in a long time.  Hopefully I’ll have some sweet action shots. I saw people taking photos and video. Now to get my grubby hands on those….


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