|Getting my HR down after the climb. Photo: Randy Ericksen|
The morning of the race, having to get our numbers we arrived earlier than usual only to learn that it was going to start an hour later at 8 instead of 7 because of thunderstorms. We put our numbers on then went to get more coffee, or at least me more coffee. We came back after the rain had stopped and warmed up. They then started the call ups. They didn't do separate waves but did divide us by age group, and there were so few in my age group that I ended up in the front row with all the boys. I still get really nervous racing with guys because I never know how it's going to go. The race started on a bike path for about a mile or so before the hill climb begins, this helped tremendously to spread everyone out a little bit and have them fit into their proper position. Doing the hill climb even with a warm up doesn't change the fact that my legs were immediately filled with lactic acid and it felt like my heart was beating out of my chest.
|Going down! Photo: Randy Ericksen|
After the descent I got passed by a lady, and tried to stay on her wheel for a bit after she told me to hold on but I couldn't keep pace with her for too long and watched as she slowly pulled ahead. The course flows really well with a few short climbs and two big ones. The course wasn't terribly crowded either and on the back side of the course the distance began to grow between each rider. I was riding along looking to the switch backs above me to anticipate what was coming when I looked down and saw it slithering underneath me. I screamed having run over a snake and got chills running down my spine. Two minutes later I saw a course volunteer, "I ran over a snake back there!" "Was it a rattlesnake?" He inquired. "I don't know but it could still kill me!" I didn't know if it was a rattlesnake, but there are signs posted about them being over the hillside, and after the first encounter was not sticking around to find out.
|Photo: Randy Ericksen|
|Sully working hard. Photo: Randy Ericksen|
I finished 2nd overall for women and first in my age group. I was 1st in the hill climb for women, 2nd in the cross country, and 3rd for the downhill section. When I was talking to Sully beforehand I actually thought it would be reversed, with the hill climb being my worst section. I think if it hadn't been delayed an hour the weather would have been perfect and one bottle would have been enough. I also thought the water station would be a little bit better since the race was 24 miles, but next year I'll just bring someone to feed me. The race was actually a lot better than I was anticipating and it seems like it has huge potential to grow and really be a destination race. I'm grateful to have options to race close to home. It seems that all the people who race in SD are really nice--I always stress so much about it--so I'm always very thankful for that (I haven't done a race yet in the state with anyone mean).
|All that for a pair of socks...|
We spent the next day going over some of the trails on the Wildcat Classic course (a race in August that everyone should come to!) that is outside of my hometown. Mainly we just climbed up to go down the amazing descent at the end--but definitely worth it.
|Trails outside of town I can ride to makes me VERY happy!|