Sunday, February 15, 2009

Our trip in a nutshell

This trip went by so fast that I almost feel like it was a dream. Luckily I have a few bruises and scratches to prove otherwise....

The drive down to Texas was looooong, but fun. We entertained ourselves with poor attempts at self-portraits...



And stopped a few times to break up the monotony of the drive....
Finally, after a mere 27 hours of driving we arrived in Terlingua, Texas just in time to set up camp before it got dark....

The next day we woke up to the sun and warm temps. After breakfast and coffee we met up with a group of friends to pre-ride a bit of the course....


And then before I knew it, it was race day and I was lining up at the start line. Mas O Menos was the first race of the Norba National Ultra Endurance Series and there was a really great field of racers ready to duke it out for points. The women's field was pretty stacked, but the only person that I really knew was Rebecca Rusch (spoiler alert: she absolutely killed the field). It was nice having a familiar face in the crowd. 

Surprisingly, I wasn't that nervous at the start line. I had spent the last 3.5 months training on the trainer and all of a sudden I was about to race. It felt completely surreal. The pro men and women took off together in a neutral start, and it was a SLOW neutral at that. Everyone kept having to slam on their brakes, and we had a lot of stopping and going. Things got a little crazy once we started actually racing. We were racing on sandy double track and the air was so dusty I was almost riding blindly. 

The course was pretty fun, but it was terrain that I am not used to riding on. Lots of tight singletrack with super sandy turns in between cactus trees. There were some really evil parts on the course too, like gravel and sand pits that zapped all of my energy to get through them. Even though it felt weird to be riding without a trainer attached, I was moving at a pretty good pace. I was in 5th place for most of the 1st lap, but caught the 3rd and 4th place girl's by the time I reached the infamous Tres Cuevas climb. I like climbing, so once I passed the two girl's I thought to myself that I would "kill" the climb to put some time on them. 

In theory, it was a great plan. In reality...not so much. The climb was NOT what I was hoping for. It was one of those steep climbs with tons of loose rock so that there was only one line to take in many spots. Half-way up I was riding behind a guy when he came to a complete stop. I tried to go around him but my front wheel sank in a pile of loose gravel and I came to a complete stop. I actually had to get off of my bike and run (more like walk) to a spot where I could get back on. Ugh!!! Plus, the two girls that I had just passed rode right past me when I was stuck in the gravel. So much for putting time on them :-)

During my second lap I started to really feel everything-and not in a good way. The sun was beating down and heat was rising up from the sand. I can't think of a better way to describe what it felt like except to say that it felt like I was riding in the desert. Which makes sense, since I WAS riding in the desert. Half-way through I started melting. Melting I tell you...and fading big time!!! My face was on fire, salty sweat was streaming into my eyes and I still had to go up that stupid climb one more time. And since melting, fading and having to climb up the monster hill weren't enough to worry about, my legs started cramping too. Woo freaking Hoo!

For some reason, the second time up the climb was WAY easier, which was surprising since I was really tired. I think it's because everyone was so spread out that I was able to go my own pace. I ended up crossing the finish line in 5th place. Am I happy with how I did? For the most part yes. I'm happy because I felt really good during the first lap, and I can tell that the training Lynda had me doing this winter has made me a lot stronger. The part of the race that I'm not happy with is that I could see 3rd and 4th place almost all the way to the finish line and I couldn't catch them. And I wanted to catch them so bad! I made a few mistakes that cost me some time and of course now I'm playing the woulda, coulda, shoulda game. 

Overall, it was a great trip. And definitely a first too. I've never had my first "ride" of the season be a 100k race in the desert before. Talk about jumping right in!!! Scott decided to race the 50K, and ended up in 6th place, so he got a nice workout in too.

Here I am wearing my temporary kit. Can you tell that my back and shoulders were hurting? I think all of my muscles were in complete shock!
After taking the best solar bag shower of my life, Scott and I headed back into town for some BBQ. So good!!!!

It's funny that it only took two days of riding to make me look like a mountain biker again. Scratches on my arms...a few bruises....tan lines. I feel like me again!

11 comments:

Carey said...

Feels good to suffer again, eh? You know, this race is only going to make you stronger and more motivated.

Matt Spak said...

Just the enjoyment of dirt in the lungs would be worth the trip.Good way to start the season and kill the winter blah's The snow can melt anytime.

Namrita O'Dea said...

Good job!!!

Metro said...

Great job for sure. Coming right off the trainer and heading into the desert. Wow! Not to mention that it's still only Feb. most of us are still watching snow here and there. Glad you guys had a great trip.

Peace,
Metro

allan said...

Awesome job.

Krista Park said...

Way to go!!
You let Scott out of the pits? :)

oldmanandhisbike said...

5th place ain't last place so congratulations on your first race!
It will get better. At least your riding.
P.S. Winter came back while you were away!

TP said...

AWESOME!!! I wish you nothing but great success this season!

Jason said...

Nice job. Must have been great to be off the trainer and in the warm weather.. racing!

ifchicks said...

NIce race and writeup !!
Great to hear you had a fun trip..that sunshine looked like a wonderful change from MI winter :)

Sean said...

You did awesome. I cannot wait until I can get out and ride.