Park City. Singletrack Never-Never Land. I’ll bet you didn’t know that nestled in the mountains in and around Park City are 300 miles of the sweetest singletrack your tire will ever grace. This was the third year for the Park City Point 2 Point. The 80 miles are not just 80 miles on a mountain bike. Almost every mile is comprised of genuine singletrack either going up or down- a pure mountain biker’s course. You may have the fitness to slay the course, but you also have to have the technical ability. The 14,000′ of elevation gain won’t let you forget that the tough climbs will be rewarded with fun or technical descents.
At 7 AM, about 310 of us lined up for the start. It was a brisk 35F – the coldest start I’ve had in quite awhile. The trouble with the temperature is that it warms up considerably later in the day, so you have to start being cold. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of myself, so I tried not to expect anything. I had finished the Breck Epic(a 6 day stage race in Breckenridge, CO) just 2 weeks before and with my travel schedule for work, did not have much time for solid recovery. Each ride I did leading up to the PCP2P after the Epic was not confidence inspiring with nagging fatigue. I looked around me and was happy to see such a strong women’s field, maybe the toughest field I’ve lined up with all season. My favorite part about our field(and endurance racing in general) was that competition doesn’t get the best of us, even in the heat of battle. Everyone wants each other to have a good day, to ride well, and to push each other to be our best. If one of us passes another, we respectfully move over and cheer on our competitor as they blow by, or even encourage her to keep up. We know there can only be one winner, but there is no animosity between us which, in my opinion, is rare in women’s racing. That’s very special to me.
We lined up according to what we thought our finish time would be. The pro ladies lined up in between the pro men and everyone else. From the start, I tried to hang on and kept Amanda Carey and Jenny Smith in my sights about 15 yards ahead. I couldn’t quite hang on to the group on the road. The singletrack entrance created a pretty serious bottleneck with people running every which way trying to get on the trail. Instead of stressing, I was patient and got on the trail. I lost sight of Amanda and Jenny while waiting to get on the trail. My legs were starting to complain as I pushed through the anaerobic barrier. I decided that I needed to slow down because I surely could not ride that effort today. I surprised myself in the Breck Epic and was able to push very hard day after day, but at the PCP2P, I knew I didn’t have it in me. The starting singletrack through Peaceful Valley was my least favorite. The rising sun from the east was blinding, my hands were so cold that they were numb. At one point, I looked down and couldn’t tell if my hand was on the brake or not (and knew only because I wasn’t slowing down!). It’s also an odd landscape with high desert and sage. There was a train of men in front of me, and a charging train of men behind me. After about an hour, I was caught by Erica and Evelyn and they disappeared. Rebecca came around and charged ahead. She always looks so strong!! Later, another woman went by (I think her name was Erin). I had no mojo. My legs were throbbing in pain, my back was screaming at me, and I struggled to pedal circles in my easiest gear. ”Maybe I should quit. I’m such an idiot for trying to do a race this hard this close to a stage race What am I doing here? No. NO. You don’t quit races. The riding is so great here too, just ride and enjoy the day. Who cares, forget what place you should be in. This is where you are now, accept it. Oh, my legs hurt so bad” Further back I went. My resolve was so low that I simply would stop and let a train of guys by before forcing myself forward on the pedals. Then something wonderful happened. I heard someone behind me yell “LOOOONEY!” I was walking my bike and Lynda W came by. ”I’m just out for a ride today, woo-hoo pace!!” I got back on my bike hoping I could keep up and enjoy the company. Suddenly there was a vicious, stinging pain on my right butt cheek. I realized I was being stung by a bee or wasp. ”I just got stung on the ass!!!” I yelled ahead to Lynda. The venom spread and suddenly my throbbing legs were the last thing on my mind. Even the bees think I’m too slow!
Lynda and I rode for about an hour and a half together. She had just raced the Ogden 100k the previous weekend and we both agreed that if we tried to ride hard, our bodies wouldn’t have any of it. Solution: just ride! ”You never know,” she said, “the other girls aren’t that far ahead. You may come around and end up having a race on your hands.” I did notice my legs were starting to come around, and I also know my body. When I’m fatigued in an endurance race, it can take 3-4 hours to come around. It’s happened many times. Sure enough, after about 3 hours, I was moving again. Game on!
I still could not ride very hard or the dreaded leg aches would return so I rode one notch harder than woo-hoo pace. Coming out of aide 1, I was in 9th or 10th place but up the road, I saw 2 ladies ahead. I decided to put in a little extra umph into the hill and passed them. I figured that I wouldn’t see anyone else. The temp felt hot and I downed 2 of my 3 bottles within 8 miles. Thankful for the water stop at mile 37, I stopped again to refill. Nate K said, “Otter Pop?” YESSSS. I only could eat a few bites, but it was so good. I opted to carry 3 bottles instead of a hydration pack, and I also chose to ride my 26 inch hard tail at the race. I got from other, “Hard tail? You’re crazy!” I did take a beating on the descents, but I could handle it. It was also 3 less pounds I had to lug uphill and great power transfer from the stiff frame. Totally worth it and I’d do it again. I rode the Breck 68 on a hardtail as well, and I was happy with that choice. Meanwhile, I had been eating coffee flavored gels and they had upset my guts. It had bloated up to full capacity. “God, I hope I don’t have to poop on the side of the trail. I don’t have any TP with me.”
After filling up, I hopped back on the bike and zoomed down the singletrack. At the 5 hour mark, I saw Rebecca straight ahead. We rode together up one of the longer climbs. It was steep and I was sweating bullets. She cheered me on as I passed and I said, “Come on, both of us to the podium!!” My guts were still churning and full of pressure. I tried to keep eating, but had ditched the coffee gels. Not 3 minutes later, I saw Kelly Boniface dead ahead. I asked her if she was ok and she said her back was hurting. After Aide 2 at mile 56, I had to clawed my way 4th place. Nate Bird told me that 1st was only 8 minutes ahead.
I filled up and headed out. The climb out of aide 2 crushed me. It kept going and I wanted to go faster. I couldn’t. I had one speed. I was feeling loopy from the heat, and gas was escaping both ends. I felt sick- there were vurps coming up my throat… and trying to push out some of the gas out the other end and hoping nothing came with it. Sharting is so not pro. I felt a little better, but not my much. My feet were on fire. Hot spots galore.
Soon after, I saw Jenny ahead. When I caught up to her I asked her if she was alright, “No, do you have any tylenol? My back…I’m also running out of fluid” I didn’t have any with me, but I thought I remembered an emergency aide station before the finish. We got there around the same time. We had just gotten through the most technical part of the course- large loose rocks everywhere. I had to stop and fill up again. There was 15 miles to go, and it seemed to go on forever. I couldn’t believe i was in 3rd. ”Just keep it steady,” I’d tell myself. I had slowed down in the last 10 miles. Lack of motivation? Fatigue? Who knows. My shifting was rocked after all the bouncy descents and I had to stop to rip the chain out of the spokes.
Last climb, 5 miles to go!! I heard someone behind me and much to my surprise, it was Rebecca! She had not made contact, but was not far behind. I couldn’t go much faster, so I said, “Relax. Stay steady. No stupid mistakes.” I thought she was right on my wheel and asked if she needed by, but she was maybe 15 seconds back. I made it to the final descent and a guy crashed in front of me. After making sure he was alright, I hopped back on. Time was precious. “Focus. Go fast.”
I rolled into the finish after 8 hrs 36 min with Rebeccca finishing a very close minute behind me. Erica Tingey finished second (BRAVO!!!!!) less than 5 minutes ahead, and Amanda took the win for the day. I never thought I’d get 3rd in that field, even on a day where I felt great and everything went my way!
Shortly after, I decided to have an EMT look at my butt because it was still hurting pretty bad. I joked in my post race interview that I could see my butt swelling up like a balloon and looking huge in my shorts. haha I had to leave my dignity aside. I was covered in dirt, I probably smelled, and I was not really sure what the state of my chamois might be after my gas issues. Reluctantly, I peeled them down. The EMT said, “Do you take Chase Visa?” I looked at him funny and once he explained you get stingers out with credit cards, I laughed. There was no stinger.
The soreness of the race is gone, but the bee/wasp sting is still very present. My entire cheek is bright red and it feels like there is a big, red, really hard pancake glued to it. Upon closer inspection, I was actually stung 3 times.
Thanks for the pic, Photo John! Jeff and I at the finish with dirt/gel lipstick. Yummy.
This event is one of the hardest and best courses I’ve ridden. HUGE thanks to everyone involved – volunteers, staff, spectators, racers. Thank you for an amazing day!