This past Saturday, I got to partake in one of the coolest races I have ever done! There are not many days out of the year where you can say you rode about 75 miles of primo singletrack, and even if you’re having a bad day, the quality of the race is AWESOME. For the most part, the course was very well marked, results/podium were prompt after the finish, the aide stations were organized and well stalked, the course rocked and was a true mountain bike race(and kick in the butt!), great prizes… A+ to the Park City Point2Point event organizers (Jay Burke, Shannon Bofelli, and mtbracenews.com.
170 of us lined up at 7 AM and rolled out on a doubletrack road. Sarah Kaufmann(she was riding very strong, but unfortunately suffered many flat tire mishaps… sorry Sarah!) and I tried to hop on the red Kenda train of fury (Heather Holmes and Amanda Carey). Right before the singletrack, I decided I was going way too hard (my HR was in zone 5), so I attempted to back off. Attempted being the key word as I found myself riding at my lactate threshold for the first 1.5 hours of the race. I knew I should back off, but for some reason I couldn’t. Maybe it was all the climbing! Big mistake. My legs loaded up, and I got really slow. The kind of slow where you are having trouble pushing your easiest gear… on flattish trails. I tried to ride as easy as I could and hope that I could recover from blowing up. The first leg of the course seemed to be all uphill (see profile in previous post). The DH wasn’t long enough to recover and I was feeling pretty awful, but still really enjoying the course. It rained for the first 2 hours or so of the race, producing an incredibly bright and full rainbow. I wish I had a photo! I kept going backwards. At the first aide station, I grabbed three bottles.
At first I thought I was hallucinating when I saw someone dressed up as raggedy anne or little bo beep after the first aide station. Then I really thought I was dreaming when he said, “Sonya! 20 bucks!” I was very shocked and confused. I said, “Is it real?” haha. I thought maybe it was Monopoly money. I have never, in all the races I have done, seen someone on the race course handing out money like that! I took the hand-off, and looked at the wadded up piece of paper in my hand. Yep, 20 dolla bill yo! I shoved it to the bottom of my jersey pocket and later realized it was Chris Slyfox ,Salt Lake local handing it out. I also found out later that the chicks were getting twenties, and the dudes were getting ones. Suckas! 🙂 Thank you sir!!
There was a 7 mile loop after aide 1 where you came back to that same aide station, and I’d say that was the hardest part of the course. The climbs were heinous and steep and my tired legs had me on and off the bike… walking. I was trying to be kind to myself. By the end of that loop (4 hours in), I started to feel great and just hoped I could make up for the time I lost. I’d say my avg HR for the first 4 hours was 182.
“It’s time to go zoom, zoom!” said my legs. They didn’t feel quite as heavy. The rotten meat sticks were easing up and I could spin the cranks over easier. The second half of the course was my favorite. Switchback climbs and ROCKING fast descents. It was all there – rocky, technical spots, downhills where you can let the brakes go until you get to a corner, really tight technical spots with trees… you name it. Perfect! There was no rest on this race course though, anywhere.
I started the climb up to Silver Lake. Jen Hanks told me that 3rd place was not to far ahead so I gassed it and somehow had the energy to go hard. The descent was fun, but I somehow crashed…. HARD. I was probably going about 30 mph. I got up and felt a horrible throbbing pain in my left quad. I didn’t look. I jumped on my bike quickly and heard a weird sound so I stopped. My lockout lever was broken off and in my wheel, so I found a way to make it stop hitting my tire. I tried to go again and heard other sounds. My derailleur was full of grass and barely turning over, so I had to yank all that out and my leg had knocked my brake lever totally loose. I dug my multi-tool out of my seat bag, tightened it and thanked my lucky stars I didn’t break my brake. Then I tried to keep going. I glanced down at my leg and saw that it was huge. It hurt to pedal and I had at least 30 miles to go. By the time I rolled into the third aide station, it had swelled up to the size of a softball. I asked everyone there if they had ibuprofen and found one man with it (thank you!), filled my bottles, and probably spent too much time(I gotta work on faster pitting I tell you!). I headed back out and tried to pedal up a climb… and sharp pain ensued. I couldn’t push anymore because my leg hurt so bad, and I think my body was in shock from the crash because I had no power. After that, it was survival mode.
I knew I was starting to get close… maybe 15 miles to go? Suddenly my back wheel locked up. I stopped, moved off the trail, and looked down. What did I see? A tube… in my hub and wrapped around my rotor and up in my brake. Parts of it were melted. Again, I had to stop… and wrestle the tube out of my wheel which was…not fun. At least it didn’t get my derailleur(I didn’t close my seat bag all the way from the crash). I had also lost a gel flask, so I pretty much had stopped eating. At the last aide station, they told me it was mostly downhill. I was giggling at the long descent thinking it was the end, but the trail turned up again and away from the finish. I started to bonk pretty bad. I had double vision, and had to get off my bike and walk along a trail because there was a drop off. I didn’t know which trail was the real one. I luckily found a gel shoved in my pocket, stood on the side of the trail for awhile and then told myself I had to keep moving forward. One guy stopped to check and see if I was ok (thank you). I felt like my arms were going to collapse underneath me, and I felt sooo weak.
I rolled into the finish, disoriented and headed straight to medical. They seemed impressed that I rode 30 miles with the huge hematoma on my leg, and tried to take care of that, and also got me some CarboRocket to get my blood sugar back up. I found out that Yuki was also taken into their care…except he was puking and needed an IV. (and still got 6th!) POOR YUKI!!! Fortunately my bonk didn’t elevate to that level… been there a few times, and it sucks! He is doing much better.
Despite the rollercoaster ride of the race, I still thought it was an amazing (and difficult) course, and finished in 4th, 14 minutes out of 3rd, and 41st overall. Next year, I hope to bring my A game and hopefully will have better luck!
I’m hoping some pictures will roll in soon. For now, it’s taking care of the leg (I think maybe by tomorrow I won’t be limping), trying to do some super easy rides, and heading to Montreal on Wednesday. T minus 5 days until the Vapor Trail! I don’t expect a fantastic finish there… I have been doing a 75+ mile race every other weekend since July which is a suicide mission, but there are too many cool things to do. I’ll have a couple weeks off after that, and then will finish the season with 24 Hours of Moab (National Championships!)