Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fat Bike Birkie Race Report

Once again we are Home, Sweet, Home! Our trip up to Cable, Wisconsin went pretty smoothly. As it should have. After spending so much time traveling this winter I think it's safe to say that Jill and I have it down. I totaled the amount of time we spent in the car driving together...114 hours!!!

Naturally we had to start our road trip to the Fat Bike Birkie with what else....a #selfie!
bahahaha!
We did the normal road trip routine but this time was a bit of a bummer because Jill was sick...puking sick. Normally I'm a complete germaphobe before races but this time I was just bummed out about my friend. The good news was that Jill had enough points in the series that all she had to do was make it across the finish line. "Just make it across the finish line," became our motto for the whole weekend.

After 12-hours of driving we finally arrived in Cable, Wisconsin. We rented a cabin and it was pretty much perfect. On a lake and less then 5 miles away from the start of the race! I am completely in love with the area. It's absolutely beautiful and everyone is really friendly.  I have never been up in the summer but I would love to go because I heard that the singletrack is some of the best that you can ride.
Our cute little cabin for the weekend
The next morning we woke up and ate breakfast. Jill was filling a little bit better but I was sick. I couldn't believe it! Nooooo!!!! Poor Jill, poor me, and POOR SCOTT.

PS. Scott was NOT sick...but our cabin only had one bathroom.

Although we felt crappy we hoped that spinning our legs out and breathing fresh air would make us feel better. So we all went to pre-ride a little bit of the course. It was just as beautiful as I remember it being!
Birkie course
The trail was wide open and comprised of rolling hill after rolling hill. There were a few steep ones thrown in for good measure. Pines lined the course on both sides and it felt like we were in an enchanted forest or something. We didn't ride long and spent the rest of the day taking it easy. Our friend Chelsea arrived, we ate dinner, got our gear ready and went to bed.

The next morning I felt better and was really, really excited to go race. As I mentioned before, the Birkie course is amazing and it's the type of course I usually do well on. We arrived really early at the course because Scott had to set up a few things for the series. The sun was out but it was still cold at 7:30 a.m. in the morning and we tried to stay as warm as possible in the big tent...
warming our toes...
Finally it was time to line up. I wish I could describe how awesome it was to be in a group of 537 fat bikers. Even cooler was how big the women's field was. We had a few call-ups, listened to the National Anthem and then BOOM! We were off!

Or, I guess I should say that everyone was off except me! I felt absolutely terrible. Everyone (and I mean everyone) was flying past me and I couldn't latch on to anyone. Did I mention that I felt terrible? I was shocked. Granted, yes I was sick the day before, but I had ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE that I was going to feel so horrible.

Jill caught up to me and we had a brief exchange of "I feel terrible," and "me too," and "this is so bad," and "I know."  Since I was going backwards in the field I had a lot of friends telling me that I looked sick or asking me if I felt OK. Everyone was being so nice but in a way it just made me feel worse. There are times when you feel like crap but can still power through a race and then there are times like this. Thank goodness I don't have many of them because I was a whole-freaking-hour-slower then last year.

I was really, really happy to see the finish line and also really, really disappointed that I felt so crappy during one of the awesome-est races I've ever done. Seriously, DO NOT miss out on the Fat Bike Birkie next year.

Scott met me at the finish line and he knew just what to say...which was basically nothing! I guess after 12 years of being together he knows that sometimes I just need to be left alone when I'm bummed out :-) Plus I could only be bummed out about how I felt for a nano-second because I was also really proud for making it to the finish line and finishing first in the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series.
Great Lakes Fat Bike Series podium
I was so relieved to see the finish line but then I also realized that the finish line represented the 2014 finale of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series. It was a bittersweet feeling. I had some great races this winter and some bad ones, but more important then the results was the experience itself. I met a ton of new people and learned a lot about racing in the winter and about myself. Looking back I can't believe how lucky I was to be able to travel so much and compete in so many different races. I wouldn't have changed a thing about this whole winter (except how I felt at the Birkie).
I'm going to miss seeing these ladies so often!I have no doubt they are all going to kick-some-serious-butt in whatever races they do this summer!


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