Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lumberjack #9- Race Report!

A few years ago Rick (Lumberjack promoter) sent out an email asking if anyone had race Lumberjack every year since it started. I saw the email and quickly emailed back "yes! me...me...me! Do I get a prize?" It's kind of a no brainer. I love endurance races, the singletrack is amazing and the course is only about 2 hours north of my house. After talking we decided that I should aim for 10 straight years!

Anyways, that was a few years ago and this year was #9. I had planned on racing my SS again this year until I twisted my ankle. Since it was still swollen two days before the race I figured I better be smart and picked a bike on the opposite end of the spectrum. Instead of a SS hardtail I went with my Spearfish. Not only did I have a whole bunch of gears, but I had A LOT of comfy suspension.

Thanks to Ted for getting it ready at the last minute...
Friday night I drove up late to the race, picked up registration, went to bed and before I knew it my alarm was going off at 4:30 a.m. I was staying at the Day's Inn in Manistee (don't stay there) and when I woke up I realized that the refrigerator froze all of my water bottles and hard boiled eggs. Ewwww. Luckily I had some peanut butter and bread with me. Not necessarily the breakfast of champions but it did get the job done.

I arrived to the race venue a little later then I wanted to and was directed into the overflow lot. Not a huge deal though I had to bike my supplies over to the pit area. In the past Scott would always come with me to do pit support but he and my dad had mega hockey plans for father's day weekend. As luck would have it my friend Eric (D2 racing) pulled in next to me and offered to do hand-offs to me so I ended up having help anyways.

I had all of my hydrapaks ready to go so I showed them to Eric and went to line up. I probably should have been more nervous since my ankle was still hurt and I was racing on a bike that I hadn't trained on at all but mostly I was just excited.

The first lap went by pretty fast but I could tell that my legs weren't completely rested. That's mostly my fault. I had one of those weeks where I tried to do way too much leading up to the race. Bad mistake on my part and a good reminder of how important it is to get enough sleep the week before.

Half-way though the second lap my legs started to "open up" and I started to find my groove. I caught up to two guys and we were moving through the singletrack at a pretty fast pace when I smacked my pedal on a small tree stump. I think anyone who has raced Lumberjack knows what I'm talking about when I talk about the tree stumps. They are small (sometimes hidden) and scattered randomly throughout the trail. I have seen many, many people crash or almost crash on them. Anyways, there was zero time to react and I instantly flipped over my bike. I've had some pretty crazy crashes but this one might take the cake because I hit a tree with my hip, then managed to land on both knees before flopping down on my face. It hurt so bad that for the first moment I thought that I broke my hip. Finally Craig Morris (from the racing greyhounds team) pedaled up. He was nice enough to pick me up off of the ground. From that point on my race motto turned into "just keep pedaling."

Here I am post-crash and deep in the pain cave...those are leaves in the front of my helmet from landing on my head!
photo by Jack Kunnen

The rest of my race was pretty tough. I bent my derailleur so I shifting issues. Then my legs started cramping and my hip hurt with every pedal stroke. I would be completely lying if I said that I was able to remain positive throughout the whole race. Ha! I definitely had a few low moments out there but I was able to keep pedaling.

Finally I came to the last little climb and then the fun descent to the finish line. It felt really, really good to be done...especially with everything that happened out there. I finished with a time of 8:26. I was in such a hurry in the morning that it never occurred to me to bring fresh clothes over from the overflow lot and I was too tired after the race to bike over and get them. So I was stuck in my dirty kit for the podium...I'm sure I smelled completely awesome up there!
photo by Jack Kunnen

This Lumberjack was probably one of the hardest ones that I did in regards to things going wrong during the race, but that's the nature of hundred milers. Some days are much, much better then others! Crossing the finish line always feels the same though :-)

Now I'm trying to recover. Believe me when I say that I am 100% wrecked. I'm not sure how I could have bruised so many different parts of my body because I only crashed once but it must have been a total body fall. My hip is definitely the most bruised and I'm walking like a granny for sure. Ironically enough my ankle hasn't been bothering me at all. Before the race I was constantly monitoring it and obsessing over whether it was swollen or not but that's the least of my worries now :-)

Tonight we are going out for some froyo. I'm hoping that will help speed up the recovery!


Craig Morris said...

Well done, Danielle! You didn't skip a beat after that tumble. Glad you're OK.

April said...

Atta Girl! I love your comment about how you didn't even notice your ankle...it's so like that in endurance racing. So much can happen in 8 hours!! Way to finish through all the grit. You're amazing...that long on a bike and i might never get on one again :) 9 Lumberjacks...incredible.