What a weekend! Hot and humid, finally summer is here but for racing weather?? Doesn't matter, right? It's a race course that is challenging and great to compete in! So, off we go. Eddie didn't race, he crashed at Boneyard and took a hard knock to the knee, still not the same yet. Time for him to go to the Doctors! A friends bike wasn't working, Eddie had brought his. Paul rode Eddie's bike for the race!
We get to Domnarski's Farm, Matt does a great job pulling this all together and maintaining the trails! Thank you Matt! Get to see so many people that I haven't seen for a bit, so nice to see everyone! I get ready, my usual routine, eat, talk, drink some fluids, talk some more, meet a new team member of Norm's Bike Shop Danielle. Hit the ladies room and then go for a short warm up. Can you say HOT, HUMID, difficult to breath kind of weather! No turning back now. Just get into the shade and wait for my start.
So we wait, in the shade. The Pro's and Cat 1's go out, Cat 2 men, by age group. Oh, the women only get 2 age groups. Basically under 35 and 35+. We are finally up, Jill is giving us instructions for the course, one lap, 10 miles, DON'T turn left were it says Beginner!! I know right were it is, won't make that mistake like the 2 men that came through at that particular moment in time wondering "what happened", yes, they weren't watching where they were going. Count down continues, 30 seconds, 15, 10, 5, go. At this race you really do want to be the first one into the woods because there's a nasty little climb right from the start! We all get bunched up, run our bikes up the first climb, remount our steady steads and continue on. The heart rates are high, we're encouraging each other to keep going, and that you're doing a great job. Love these women!! That's what's so cool about mountain biking (at least in Cat 2) is that you race hard but at the same time encourage each other!
I'm guessing but I'm pretty sure the first mile is climbing! Sarah's already gone, she's have an awesome season. We already were spreading out. It feels so good when I reach a point that I can stand on my pedals and coast for a second down a hill. HR comes down a bit. Did I say it was hot? Already soaked with sweat. Thank goodness it's shady! Can't really remember much but the first part of the course goes smoothly, I feel good! Make it through some BIG puddles. Oh, I remember this, one of the puddles smelled like sh*t! Gross. Somewhere around mile 4 I would say another woman catches me and I just want to stay steady (she's in my age group). I know there's another long climb coming. We start coming across people riding horses! Horses and bikes don't typically mix well together, the pace slows a bit but now we're climbing I would say a 10% gradient, so it's not like we're going fast, more like 4-5 mph! Oh, that climb is so long, at least a mile. More horses, neighing and hopping around. About all I can do is stay to the extreme left! I really didn't feel like getting kicked! Finally, sweet decent, let it rip, no brakes, who cares about the horses and rocks? Now I'm really hot.
Yes, I am drinking my Nuun drink along the way here! Took a Gu about mile 5 too. I know what's coming next. You guessed it, another climb. Except this one is on the power lines, in the open scorching sun! I can see the other woman in front of me, I'm just fine with that! We start the climb, I ride for a bit but the HR just gets to high and I'm just too hot. I get off like many of the other racers and hike my bike, that sucks. I feel like puking at this point but get to the top of the climb and remount my bike. Just keep pedaling I tell myself.
The next section, all I remember is starting to cross the Bridge of Absurdity and the first Pro is coming through, I step off of the bridge (it's only 8 inches wide and crossing a huge puddle, 150 ft long), into the water, yuck, it's muddy, stinks and is up to my knees. Now I just run the rest of the way so I can keep riding. Then there's the Tree of Death, I slid down that!
I feel like crap, really want to throw up, can't see the leader any longer. I here Pam coming up. She passes, I'm yelling at her, "you're only 30 seconds behind", "go get her"! I told you, we encourage each other. I know I just have to keep pedalling, only about 2 miles left. Now Michelle passes me, I'm out of the podium. Tell myself, don't panic! Take a drink and ride, I do that. I can see Michelle, I see the 1 Mile to Go sign.
1 mile. Only 1 mile, I can catch her, I know it's all downhill and I LOVE downhill. Suck it up I tell myself. No brakes, whip around the corners and I know there's a creek crossing that is rocky, if I make it through there clean I know I can catch Michelle. YES, I make it clean and go over a log clean, one more puddle. I know it's thick mud, I see she's off her bike! I attack the puddle, muck my way through and am on her tail! I love downhill!! Just looking for a place to pass. Michelle says to me, do you want to pass? I'm like, YES. I don't know if she knew it was me but I took it! Let it rip, now I'm pedaling as hard as I can knowing it's only 1/4 mile. Don't know how fast I was going into the last left hand turn but I did use my brakes!! Made the turn clean, sprinted for the finish. Made the podium, 3rd. Not to shabby.
Fun day, dehydrate, Eddie drives home, I shower, hop into bed to take a nap because I had to go work the overnight shift! Was definitely tired this morning when I got home! Looking forward to the next race!