Awesome course! Thanks to Ray and his crew for the fantastic single track and putting the hurt on all of us. My heart sunk into my feet at the start line on Sunday when Don told us we were doing four laps. My pre-ride on Saturday gave me a guesstimation of a lap time and knowing the physiology of the course it was going to be a beast. The gun almost went off too soon as my tire took a leap before Don said GOOOOOOOO. I knew I was ready to kill it! Crested the top of Grand Geneva Hill and dipping into a sigh of relief, Pure Single Track for the next 4 miles. The pace was smokin, literally and I was glad with my option to wear clear lenses for the day. I was feeling good and passing when I could. I got to the Rock Garden and by surprise, the section along side, the nice path on the right of the garden was closed off and I had to dismount and walk the garden. I did not put that in my plan for the race given the option to go around on the pre-ride. This was part of my race strategy and really did not let it bother me which line I choose until you are faced with only one option when racing. I apologize to anyone if I messed up your awesome rock garden descent, I had no choice. I am not one to take risks on stuff I did not practice when oxygen depleted, I do have a day job.
I got a great rush off descending after the garden and then hammering it on the grass to the next section of single track, things just kept interesting. Some of the single track like the "O" Section was fun along with the section of gnarly roots. One would have difficulty in this race drinking fluids from the bottle when snaking your way through the tight single track. I kept thinking of the poor soul who lost their water bottle full of orange stuff I saw on each lap of the course.
I felt the good Karma (thanks Claire!) and passing at this race was not that difficult. Plenty of room to let the fast Comp guys by without a problem and no anxiety levels were raised since I think everyone appreciated how hard the other person was working in the sun filtered dust as we climbed in the woods. I thought of some great photo shots that were probably missed, framing shots deep in the single track at the start with all that smoke.
Now I don't know what happened, but I put it out there, and then someone took a lasso to my neck and reeled me in. The legs were there but the motor had died and I was faced with dealing with the mental pain to preserve to the finish knowing all efforts were exhausted. It's always nice to have others give motivating remarks, like Brenda and Renee and some of new girls I have not actually met personally, but all in the same, just nice girls to race with. I actually stopped at one point and asked one of the volunteers how to get off the course but then I decided to just ride it out since I learned my lesson on the pre-ride it is easy to get lost, like ending up in the golf course :-) I thought I was not going to make it but something inside kicked in and I eagerly looked forward to crawling my way through lap four no matter how much I thought it hurt. I just told myself there was nothing wrong with me and get a grip. Energy came and went depending on my favorite sections of the single track as I headed to the finish line.
Awards were in almost near completion, Ty greeted me as I rolled in to the surprise of the Timing peeps, they had more work to do :-). Straight to the car, felt like puking, downed some more fluids feeling a sense of accomplishment that I did my best and that is all that mattered and actually had fun while it lasted.
One thing I have learned is that no matter how much it hurts, someone else out there is hurting more.
Thanks to all those who have cheered and Sonia for the much needed water.
Congrats to my female Teammates, Sonia for third overall in Sport, Regina for 8th in Elite and Michelle Scanley for 11th over all finish in Sport.