This race goes down as one of the top 3 hardest for me, if not the top. Funny thing is I still had a blast and can't wait for next year!
The day started out thick. The humidity was sticking around, leaving all the grass wet and low lying areas foggy. It was going to be a hot day.
At the start I got to the front and picked a pace I felt was fast. A couple other riders pulled and I pulled through again, still not looking back. Finally I looked over my shoulder to see 20 some other riders along for the ride. Yep, not a race like last year!
Around mile 9 the gravel road shoots into a double track (very primitive) road. I wanted to be near the front to see the huge holes, etc that filled this road last year. I was sitting around 7th or so as we entered the double track. I was on the left track and decided I wanted the right. Soon as I hit the grass I was down. I was told it was a pretty epic looking crash. Luckily I didn't get hurt. But I did have to jump out of the way and wait while the field passed me to get my bike. The rear wheel needed to be put back in and the handlebars were crooked. By the time I was going again the group was gone.
I managed, with a few other riders, to catch back on to the main chase group several miles later. I believe I spent many matches trying to do so. There were four riders off the front, two of them being friends (Charlie and Tyler).
The next section to watch out for was the MMR (minimum maintenance road). As we neared this section I jumped to the front and kept a solid pace. I flatted here last year and wanted to make sure I saw all the rocks coming my way. I managed to come out unscathed! This section widdled the group down some. Around mile 40 there is a gas station to refuel if needed. I don't know that any in this group stopped, here I put out a good pace too, which was kept going by others in our mini group up front. This also popped some riders. Honestly can't remember how many riders were with us at this point but is was much smaller. I believe I figured with all of us, counting the top 4, we would round out the top 10.
Here the rollers, loose gravel, and heat started to take their toll on us. We were no longer a group but a line of riders scattered along the road fending for ourselves. Some were way off front some off the back...I was somewhere in the middle.
Matt N. and I fell into a good rhythm and rode together the rest of the day. Sometimes I helped pull him along and sometimes he returned the favor to me...like the last 10 miles!
Matt and I both needed water so we stopped at a on/off sale Liquor Store and filled up...with water!
The heat and work were getting to me. I wasn't feeling all that great. I would later get repeated chills and a bit nauseous. I forced drinking and sometimes food. I had salt tabs along and those saved me. I started to get cramps on my inner thighs and that sucked! I honestly don't cramp and it's been twice this year. Last time was at the Rusty Ride 100. Before that was 10+ years ago at a Blast Enduro Event in Monticello. Needless to say, I don't deal with it well!
Matt and I plugged along at a slow pace. We were in 8th and 9th place feeling good with a top 10 on the day. Within the last 10 or so miles some guy passed us so fast and looking so fresh that I didn't think he was in the race but the number plate told me he was! Man was I jealous of him! So now 9th and 10th we kept looking over our shoulders for other riders as we slowly put the miles behind us.
Never have 10 miles taken so long mentally. I thought a few times about calling Jen for a ride...I was hurting. Huge thanks to Matt for sticking with me and pulling me along.
We rolled into the finish together, Matt taking 9th and I 10th. Results have us 10th and 11th but can all but guarantee that Joe finished behind us. I forgot my number so that doesn't help. But honestly it doesn't matter...I finished and I was in one piece.
Yesterday I was a bit bummed that I wasn't up further. But really, I wouldn't have been able too do any better. I was so miserable and in bad shape at the end, that pushing it any harder was not an option. I do think riding so much the past couple weeks left me tired. But dang that was fun too!
Thanks to Derek and Scott for a great event. The crew from STC had a blast and will be back for more!