One thing that is usually true about Michigan is that there are multiple races to choose from on any given weekend. The moment I found out that we couldn't go camping in Wisconsin I checked to see what was happening here, and lo and behold....I could choose between a stage race and a 6/12 hour.
I was scheduled for a few 6 hour days this coming week, so I figured that the 6 hour race was my best bet. Plus it was at Stony Creek, a really great trail I never get to ride on.
This year the promoter had the 6 hour start at 2 p.m., which gave Scott and I plenty of time to drive over to the east side of the State in the morning. It was SO nice not having to wake up at daybreak. In fact, it felt weird! On the way over I kept feeling that we had missed the start or something.
Once we arrived I prepared my "not-so-secret" race nutrition....This year I started using the hydrapak soft flask and it's freaking awesome. In the past I would always carry a bunch of gel packets in my pocket because I hated using those small, hard plastic gel flasks. They would always leak or I wouldn't be able to get all of the gel out. The soft flasks are a different story though. They are super easy to use, don't leak, and I was able to fit 8-9 gels in. More importantly, I could get all of the gel out!
Unfortunately I didn't have much time to warm up, but that's OK. I still had a pretty good position going into the opening singletrack. From the get go I could tell that I was pretty tired from my previous week of work. In the past I would always stress about it, like, "what's the matter with me, why am I tired, am I sloooooow?" This time I just admitted to myself that I was going to feel like poo, and didn't give it another thought. And the funny thing is that I actually felt better after that :-)
The course had a lot of really tight, twisty singletrack with long doubletrack sections in between. There weren't any long climbs on the course, but PLENTY of short little butt kickers.
Since the 6 hour went from 2-8, the promoter had the last lap cut-off at 7:30, to make sure that there wouldn't be any riders stuck out in the dark. I rolled through at 7:20, and stopped for a minute. It was very tempting to not go back out. But then I remembered that I made a promise to myself that I would never stop before the cut-off. Dang me and my stupid promises!
I'm actually glad I went back out, as the "dusk lap" is always one of my favorites. Towards the end of the lap it was getting pretty dark in the singletrack, and I thought I could hear geese squawking nearby. It was scary...ha ha!
I crossed the finish line as the 1st placed female, and 3rd overall with 82 miles in 6 hours and 17 minutes! Woo hoo!