Here's a belated race report on the Noquemanon World Championship Snow Bike 50K:
I know it's early in the season but this was one of the races that I wanted to WIN the most-est. In fact, I think if I could only pick one race to win it would be the Noque. It's pretty epic.
The race didn't start until noon which was nice for sleeping in but not so much for "race nerves." When I woke up my heart was instantly pounding. I hate feeling THAT nervous but no matter what I did my hands were shaking and I couldn't concentrate on anything....ahhhhhh!
After what seemed like forever, we went to the race venue, put on our timing chips and did more waiting. Ahhhhh! Eventually all the fat bikes started lining up in the snow. I think we lined up about 10 minutes before the start of the race and the countdown seemed to last forever. Finally we were off!
All of the skiers had been racing for a few hours before us and I had imagined that the trail would be completely packed down. Not so much!
It was groomed but there were still soft sections that required a lot of effort to pedal through. There were some deep grooves in the snow that instantly caused crashes. I did a lot of crashing. And the hills....I had forgotten the hills. There were a more then a few that I had to dismount and
Eventually I found myself riding alone and tried to keep the pace high and not start daydreaming. Finally I started seeing someone in front of me. Yessss! It always helps to have a rabbit. When I finally caught up I was really happy to see my friend Dejay. He flew in from Arizona and it was his first time riding on snow. We came to another downhill and he let me take the lead, telling me to "show him how to ride snow." I promptly crashed in front of him and did a superman over my handlebars. Awesome :-)
We raced together for the last 10 miles (at least) and developed a routine. He would drop me on the downhills (which was shameful since it was his first time riding snow) and I would have to work really hard to catch him on the uphills. It was really fun having a friend to race with though, especially while racing the end of the Ore to Shore course. The snow was super soft and choppy and for a few minutes I thought that I was going to have to cross the finish line walking my bike. There was nothing to do but laugh.
Luckily I didn't have to get off and I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:12:16. FIRST PLACE FEMALE!!!!
Watch out for my cowbell at the cyclocross races next year...
The only downside of the weekend was that I lost my wallet in Marquette while we were out and about :-) Oops! I think that subconsciously I wanted a reason to go back up there....so that I could ride more snowy trail. But alas, it's been found and on it's way back down state. I really hope that I have another chance to go back there this winter though. We were able to ride some of the South Trails system the day before the race and it was phenomenal.
These pics don't even do it justice...go ride there if you can!