Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I got to the start line early to make sure I was in the front row. Elena and Erica soon joined me. Erica was going to see how she felt after the first 7 miles (since it looped back into town) and decide from there whether or not to continue. I whispered to Elena on the line that I planned to attack at the first set of hills at 8 miles and that she should come with me so that we could get away. (Ashley told me that this is where she got away last year and I remember the 123 coming apart there last year as well, so I thought it sounded like a good plan).
In order to make sure I had good position going into the first climb, I took lots of wind up front setting the pace. It was fine, I felt good and wasn't going very fast. We hit the first climb and Elena and I were right where we needed to be. The dirt was really dry and it was difficult to keep the bike steady, but I pushed the pace up the climb the best that I could. After descending I was surprised to find only one woman with me. We rode for a couple minutes and then about 6 other women joined us. I organized everyone to take 30 sec pulls. We worked together pretty well for the most part and soon there was no field or chase group in sight behind us.
At around mile 24 we hit the second set of significant climbs. Again there was quite a bit of sand and it didn't help that the pace car slowed down and was kicking it in our faces. We organized ourselves and within about a minute, the chase group behind us was out of sight!
At about mile 40-45 the heat really started to get to me. It was about 84 degrees out and very sunny. I had already drank 2 water bottles and had one left. I had eaten my whole gel flask mixture and only had one remaining gel. My thighs were screaming in pain, my head was pounding but I knew I could do it if I just focused. Only 10 miles or so to go. I knew I had another 10 miles in me somewhere. I took the last gel and some water and promised myself that I would destroy myself going for the win.
Mile 50 was the last set of climbs. These were especially sandy and treacherous. There were riders that had been dropped from other fields all over the place. I studied who was sliding and who seemed solid on their bikes and chose my line very carefully. When we finished the climb, there were just 3 of us! Andrea, Amy and myself. I didn't know if they could sprint, so I knew I had to conserve the best I could and play it smart. I knew that as long as I stayed upright and didn't have any mechanicals that I would podium, but somehow at this point that wasn't enough. I looked for the 1k or the 200m sign, but never saw either. We then came to the railroad tracks that we had ridden over earlier at the start, so I just went for it and sprinted. I wasn't sure if it was too early, but I didn't care. I gave it everything I had left and was determined to continue sprinting like a mad woman until I crossed the line.
After I crossed the finish line, I spent the next few minutes trying to catch my breath while I rode to the car for painkillers to ease the cramps. It wasn't until I was riding back to the start line to confirm my place that it hit me, I had just won. :)
I received a lovely cowbell as a trophy and a stuffed cow that matched the Radical Media kit perfectly!
It was 2 hours and 44 minutes of intense racing. I can honestly say this was hardest I have ever worked in a race.
Elena was awesome and despite her mishap in the sand finished in 5th place!
Posted by Rayrayrides at 11:42 PM