Race Day!!!We arrived at the race venue about two hours early so that we could finish setting up the pit area. I always get really nervous the morning of the race, and start doing dumb, absentminded things. Like that time a few years ago when I rode my bike over to the bathroom, walked back, and then spent 15 minutes freaking out because I couldn't find my bike. Things like that!
Once my hydrapaks and gels were ready it was time to line up. For the Lemans start we had to run straight up a grassy hill, and I felt pretty good. Thank you stair workouts!!!
I felt really great the first couple of laps, and tried to conserve energy. My coach told me to be really observant of the course, and nail down my lines for riding in the night. I also made sure that I was remaining hydrated. Temps were in the low 90's and the open grassy sections felt like an oven. It was pretty brutal. The sun was beating down on us, heat was radiating back up from the grass/sand, and I felt like I was melting!
Towards the late afternoon my stomach started to shut down. I think it was from a combination of the heat, and too much sugar. I've never had stomach problems before so I went into the race completely overconfident about my nutrition plan and without a back-up plan. We had to do a bit of ad libbing and switched my hydrapak over to water, put coke in my water bottle, and a bagel in my back jersey pocket. That seemed to work and eventually I was able to switch back to gels when the temps cooled off.
I was actually happy once darkness fell because it cooled off. However, my legs were really starting to feel it. Sections that had been easy to clean during the day became not so easy, and towards 2 a.m. I became convinced that the entire course was uphill. I was always excited to get to the last long climb (the Man Handler) because volunteers were camped out at the top cheering us on and playing music. After riding alone in the dark for so long it was nice to see other people!
Throughout the race I would switch between my Mamasita and Dos Niner every couple of laps. By night the course started to get really sandy and choppy in certain sections, so I decided to stay on the Dos for the rest of the race. It was nice having a little extra suspension every time I hit a bump!
Finally daylight started to creep up. The moment I had been waiting for all night! It's always the best feeling to see the sky start to lighten and hear birds start to chirp. And what's better then the arrival of daylight???? BACON!!! No seriously, they were cooking it down in the pits and Scott had it waiting for me along with pancakes. All I have to say is that the bacon sealed the deal. This race moved up to one of my favorite 24 hour races ever :-)
Here I am coming in for my last lap. One would think that I would be thinking how great it was to be done, but really I was wondering if Scott was going to have more bacon and pancakes for me!!! ha ha!
I was able to cross the finish line 1.5 hours early with 21 laps. That was good for 1st place in the female division and 2nd place overall!!! Woo hoo! I had a blast at this race and it was a nice reminder that 24 hour racing is still my favorite type of racing to do. Granted, there were times during the race where I was not loving it, and there were times in the middle of the night where I was seriously wondering what the heck I was doing. But crossing the finish line is indescribable. Not to mention all of the encouragement I got from all the other racers and people in the pits. It was great!
I have to send a huge thanks to my #1 pit crew member...Scott. I could not do it without him. After a while I get so whacked out that he has to keep track of everything. For example, making sure my light batteries are switched out at the right times, making sure I'm getting the right amount of calories, keeping track of competition. Plus, he doesn't get any sleep either.
He was tired but still managed to have a beer (or 2!) after the race!
After the awards we went back to T6 Brent's house for a few hours of sleep. I woke up feeling surprisingly good, so we all went to the Minnesota fair. It was slightly surreal walking around and looking at baby animals and fried foods on a stick, but it was fun.
For some reason Brent and I decided that we wanted to eat fried twinkies on a stick. Bad mistake my friends, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad mistake!!!!
I am such a dork!All in all it was an awesome weekend. I'm not sure what my schedule is going to look like next year, but I would LOVE to go back to this race!!!
Now I'm in full recovery mode. Today I'm finally starting to feel better and think I'm ready to get back on the bike :-)