This race was a major accomplishment of mine last year.. I got a 2nd place trophy for dragging my bike through the mud for over 4 hours.. I had never experienced a ride in mud before this and learned quickly how difficult it was. This was my first race in a Team Seagal jersey and I needed to earn it, right??? I couldn't believe we were allowed to ride the trail... We were destroying a lot of hard work. I build trail and know what it takes to rebuild when people make the wrong decision.
I wanted to do this race so I could actually ride the trail... The weather was going to be perfect. I have been looking forward to seeing all the usual suspects, since CXMAS was the last HUGE gathering of likemindedness. However, watching my nephew complicated things and I wasn't sure if I had the legs to warrant a 4 hour drive .. By Thursday night I had already walked a few miles and rode my bike for 5 miles. Jim offered to watch the kids on Sunday so I could race. Hmmmmm, very tough decision. Watch kids or play like a kid??? Be a human hankerchief or blow snot rockets?? Wow, thanks honey, I guess I could race if you are sure...
Jim put the finishing touches on Connor(My trusty beast of a bike...as in Sarah Connor), in true TTM style the night before. We decided on 32x19 since I did not have an18 cog yet. In hindsight, a much better choice would have been 32x20 since I had not fully recovered from the 24 hr effort..
There were about 250 racers and the weather was perfect..
I got registered and did some socializing and then got myself together. Jim was chasing the kids and informed me that I had a flat tire, luckily he fixed it before I got back so I didnt freak out.. We had the prerace meeting and were off to stage our bikes and run. There were so many of us I wish we could have had at least a minute between the 6 hr and the 3 hr racers.. By the time we hit the trail it was a huge clusterf@#$ and that caused a lot of tension for a lot of people... Having a good attitude during a race like this can make or break you... I had 6 hrs of riding to do and my overall placement was going to be decided on this lap... If I lose my cool now I will be setting myself up for failure.. Plus, waste a lot of energy I could use later...It was very unfortunate to have the biggest douchebag ever behind me for the first 30 minutes... He must have had low self esteem and seemed to enjoy berating other riders , so much so that I asked him to stop since he " was ruining my ride"" He finally shut up... Lap 1 was an eternity but worked out in my favor so I could memorize the trail.. I had not set any goal except to ride and socialize...This was going to be FUN!!!
Lap 2 was fantastic... The trail definitely had its fun parts.. It was dry and the technical stuff was fun... Or so I thought. The trail was becoming littered with contents from jerseys. I even saw an asthma inhaler and hoped that the owner was doing another lap to find it.. I had made 3 multi hour bottles for today and that worked well. Jim was pit crew again and took great care of me. You dont get any better than Jim in the pits. I heard he also helped several others...Taking pics, beer and bottle handups, whatever you needed.
Lap 3 was when the pain set in.. The technical stuff was sucking the life outta me...Even with my fab new fork I was feeling it.. When I came in off this lap I learned I was in third... What?? Didn't they know I wasn't racing today? Then something inside me snapped... I went on Lap4 with my mission to catch #2 .. She was on a geared bike and kept dropping me on the pavement... It sucks when you are already turning yourself inside out and someone with less effort flys past you in the big ring on the road. For about 30 seconds I had the pleasure of riding with "The Mashor", Mitch Johnson.. He asked how I felt, and if I was going for another lap (my legs were trashed). I said are you nuts and NO. He said he was fried too but going for one more. Whatever Mitch..I finally caught #2 in the last mile and hoped she was quitting.. It was 530 and Now I was in 2nd.. I was surprised to see her filling a camelback... She took off.. Shit.. Jim said that I should go, it was the difference between 2nd and 3rd... Team red Wheel had yelled out " One More Wendy".. That encouragement had me throw down my bottle and take off... I realized I did not have a chance to hang on to 2nd, but I reasoned that it would be better to lose by a couple of minutes than by an entire lap... I gave it everything I had... I fell at mile 50 in the rocky section and it knocked the wind outta me... I started walking until I was able to get back on..The trail was littered with gu packets, trash, pumps, cartridges , and misc.. I was fortunate to have a "Mountain Feed Bag" that kept all my essentials safe and accessible... You should check in to one ... I do not have to put anything in my jersey pockets and dont have to worry about bouncing anything out... It also makes changing jerseys easier ... And thanks to our Sponsor Simple Straps . Shout out to Kyle !@!!Thanks!!!! Tube and Pump locked on the bike and ready for action, never slipped any during the 24 hours of Syllamo or Bone Bender! Gitchasum!
I really wanted to be enjoying an Ice Cold Delicious Pabst like everyone else by now... I finished about 3 minutes behind 2nd place. I had stepped outside my happy place thanks to Mitch, Jim, and TRW.. I was able to secure 3rd place and a total of 58 miles for the day.. I have no regrets...
As I laid in bed everything throbbed.. I started to feel euphoric as the pain danced throughout my body.. I loved it.. sometimes it's the only way to know you are truly alive unless you HURT.. Embracing the pain and pushing through it makes you a badass... Dontcha think??