I did it on THIS bike! Just kidding 🙂 ( Fuzzy’s son’s bike).
5:30 AM rolled around all too soon Saturday morning. I woke up feeling tired and nauseated. Early mornings don’t agree with me – yeah, I’m a wimp. I tried to choke down a bagel with peanut butter, but the bagel tasted like cardboard and I couldn’t do it. Jeff had some leftover eggs/rice he made in the microwave so I started to eat some of that. The flavor of the rice was making me feel worse, so I stopped eating that too. It was pretty chilly in the morning, so I got dressed and hopped on the bike to stop shivering. I was horrified to find myself feeling not so good and dry heaving. I felt pretty run down for the days leading up the race which is a super bummer. I rode about 40 minutes to warm up, but legs felt like lead and I couldn’t push. I shrugged and headed to line up at the start. Nothing I could do. I was delighted to see some of my NM friends (and other friends!!!) at the start with me too! My goal was 4 to 4.5 hours.
I had my eye on the fast ladies in my field and was also happy to see them there. Maybe I’d learn something! The race started and my legs wouldn’t move. They were slow and felt like dead meat sticks. Instead of trying to push, I decided to ride slow and easy. It still hurt, but I didn’t want to make things worse. Of course, I got dropped from the main pack. They started to loosen up on the road climb and I caught some people, but I still was not feeling all that chipper on the bike. We filed onto singletrack. Lynda W(she is a badass) was already way off the front, and I found myself riding with Sarah Kaufmann and Johanna Healy along with all the men. It was very crowded and if someone bobbled in front of you, you had to stop and get off your bike and let the train of 10 guys by behind you. Then someone else would bobble in front of you and more would go by before getting back on your bike. I even bobbled myself a few times! During this time, Sarah got in front of me and was gone. My legs STILL failed to open up and later, Johanna passed me too. I tried to ride with the guys around me and was mad at myself for being skiddish and powerless on the trail. “Why won’t my legs work?!?!” is all I could think. I also took a scary crash. I was fed up with myself for being such a wuss, so I went off probably the biggest drop-off on the trail and let’s say, I didn’t commit to it. D’oh!
Each spring, I have traditionally gotten overtrained and there was a key race where I should have dropped out to save myself. Last year, it was Sea Otter, but instead of quitting, I pushed through and did Tour of the Gila right after and pushed through that. I did not want to repeat my mistake. 2 hours in, I was still going backwards, not breathing all that hard, but my legs wouldn’t budge. Top that off with my inner thighs starting to cramp…. I was considering the fact that this race could be the one to break the camel’s overtrained back, but I trusted in Rick da man and I absolutely hate quitting, so I decided that it would be just a training day out on the trail with a bunch of people. I downed a few Elete Tablytes and a bottle of water. I stopped at the feed zone and refilled my bottles and chatted just for a few seconds with some folks. Then I headed down the 11 mile dirt road. It is an out and back, so I was searching for the lead men coming back up the road. During this time, I drank another bottle, ate a few Gus, drank part of a Starbucks DoubleShot in my flask, and spun like crazy. I noticed it was getting easier to spin…
I saw Lynda W riding with the top 20 guys and knew I had no chance at catching her. I also saw Johanna, and was waiting to see what kind of gap Sarah had on me. It was about 5 minutes, and add in time for stopping at the aide station for more water… that was a lot of time. I started climbing and noticed that my legs FINALLY opened up. I thought, “I need to make up as much time as I can since the first half of the race was a shit show.” I pegged my HR at my LT, spread my wings, and tried to climb fast. I wished I had someone to draft off of, but no dice. I’d come up on someone and their pace wouldn’t satisfy me. “Keep going. Up! Up! You love climbing!! Don’t forget to drink!” The climb was 11-13 miles and I continued to get faster. Now my legs worked! I stopped at the feed station again to refill my bottle. There were tons of people there and someone said, “Sarah is only like a minute ahead!” I was started to feel kind of tired from the 40 min or so of climbing, so I tried to gauge my effort but still keep on the gas. I took some more Tablytes and Gus. I even saw a couple guys who bought Ergon grips and gave them a high five as I went by. It was fun! Then I saw Sarah, and I couldn’t believe it! I passed her maybe 100 yards before the singletrack. I knew she was coming for me, and I also knew she was riding the singletrack much better than me that day. I glanced over my shoulder to see her position and smiled. I like friendly competition. After all my crashes I have been taking, I am not riding as confident as normal. I am also pretty uncomfortable on loose, steep, rocky descents after my crash in South Dakota last August(my back STILL hurts sometimes)…. so she got me! I knew she was coming… and that I would not be able to keep up on the descents. It wasn’t worth crashing or flatting. I thought, “That’s ok… part of beating someone is being a better all-arounder.” We also caught some of the people in the 25 mile race, so there was a ton of traffic on the singletrack! A few minutes later, I saw Sarah on the side of the trail. My heart sank when I saw her… I knew something was very wrong. I stopped to ask her if she was ok. She said, “I’m fine, keep going” so I did. I kept thinking that I should have stayed with her, but I reminded myself that it WAS a race after all. I tried to keep it mellow to keep from scaring people in the 25 mile race and to keep myself in check. I crossed the line, and Sarah came across the line about 1 minute later. It was fun to have someone so close to me and my ability to race against, and we both had issues in our races. Mine was the beginning, and hers was at the end, so it was a good match up! I also beat my time from 3 years ago by 35 minutes. That got me 3rd place. Full results here.
After a sushi dinner with Mr. Kerkove, we went to the concert put on just for the race.
Got to share some laughs (and BEER!) with Dain Zaffke and Yuri
Deejay drinks his special Dr. Peppers!
After 1.5 days in the car, I was back at work this afternoon. It SNOWED here this morning (it was melted off the road by the time we got back) and it was like 40F out when I went for an easy spin. Groceries, laundry, unpacking from being on the road back and forth for 5 weeks, and many friends to catch up with… I got a lot to do!!!
Next race is the Front Range 50. Now it’s time to figure out why in endurance races I feel horrible on and off for the first 2 hours. It is a common theme with me and I am frustrated by it. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow I start, I warm up in the morning, and do openers the day before. The body is an amazing and confusing thing…. looking forward to next weekend!