|That would be nail polish going on...|
The race had started off with me in the second row, there were no official call ups and I didn't want to push my way up. I started next to a girl I knew so that helped. Sully and I had talked about how important the start would be and getting from the double track to the single track as fast as I could. I didn't get there fast enough and was following many others into the line. I wasn't worried though because I had no idea what to expect, and knew not blowing myself up on the first lap was probably in my best interest. There were a few steep switchbacks climbing up, one girl in front of me tried to pass another but ended up running into her, I got off my bike and ran around
them which spiked my heart rate and gave me a little anxiety because I wasn't sure if that was proper etiquette or not. I jumped back on my bike (good thing I've practiced my cross mount!) and took off on the chase, the girl I knew was still in front of me and I knew if I hung around her I would be okay. I've always struggled with passing people and would only follow suit when someone else made the move around someone and I would try to sneak in with them, like, "oh, I'm coming by too!" but usually would get caught behind and would lose some seconds until I could get around too.
|I'm surprised I didn't melt in the heat|
I made it through the first lap, and saw Sully at the start of the second to get my first bottle. I grabbed it on a short climb up and took some in. I knew I could push harder on the second lap and so I did, I also knew that I had to get more aggressive with passing, upgrading from my, "hi, when you get a chance, but really no rush, I'd like to get around you, but really only when you can" to "when you get a chance". I kept picking people off, and tried to get to the next person in front of me and just keep pushing. Some of the dirt was lose on the back side and I was constantly worry that I would slid out but kept it somewhat in control. I did most of the passing on the second lap, the group had spread out and I had no idea where I was in relation to anyone. I passed through the finish with one more lap and with Sully standing if I wanted water or GU, I thought about it for a moment too long before shouting "GU!" at the last minute to grab it. I knew I needed something to ward off cramping as it was hot and extremely exposed. I had to take it in and was trying to figure out when but went into the single track right behind a lady and knew I was not in position to ingest it then. I needed to get round her so I could get the GU. I took the left on a clear shot and got around her, but knew with 5 miles left I had to not get complacent and keep pushing. I took in
half the GU because that was all I could manage before needing both hands on the bars. By now I knew the course enough to know where I could gain time, the short uphills and where I should reign it in, the loose corners. With 3 miles left I realized I should have put something in the bottles, like scratch or nuun because my calves were beginning to cramp. Just the first signs when you feel your muscles start to pull. I tried to prevent them from seizing by staying in the saddle on the short climbs and stretching them on the descents. I kept pushing but could keep feeling the slight ting in both my calves and would pull back just a little. The last half a mile twists around with sharp right turn onto double track that has a steep climb before flattening out into the finish. I took the right but had to get out of the saddle to get up the hill, that's when it happened, both calves seized, which was both hilarious and not. I was so close and yet was far enough that I had to keep pushing, I'm sure I
was grimacing the whole time. I crossed the finish line and immediate got off my bike, sat on the ground and stretched both legs out. I was announced the unofficial winner of my age group as I sat there and had one of the shop owners and Sully come up to grab my bike and give me water. I rode my bike around for a cool down with Sully and then I had to stop and throw up the coffee and GU I had taken in. Ooops. Negative feed?
|During the cramp|
|Parker all dressed up for the drag race|
We hung around for the drag race and the podium. I ended up winning my age group and getting third for the expert field which I was pretty happy with. To give you perspective last year I raced sport and got third in my age group. I felt great through out the whole race, minus the cramping but was happy that I kept pushing and kept racing and didn't get complacent. This was the race I was hoping to have at Grand Junction, but glad to at least have it.
Last Tuesday I hosted a happy hour and silent auction at the shop, which was a huge success, $1,700 was raised for World Bicycle Relief with some really cool prizes being donated for it. It was pretty amazing to see so many people show up and support the cause, it might have helped that there was free beer, but whatever gets people in the door!
|We're all winners!|