Saturday: Stage 2
Stage 2 was the longest day. I think it was right around 80 km. I slept pretty well all things considering. And by all things considering I mean for being in a cabin with a bunch of people that I just met.
After a big breakfast I went back to the cabin to get my gear and nutrition ready. Our start wasn't until 10:30 a.m. It was nice not feeling completely rushed. We had to ride a few minutes out of the campground to the start and I used it for a warm-up. I didn't feel awful, but I certainly didn't feel great. All of my muscles were a little sore and my legs felt slightly heavy. To top it off my cycling shoes were still wet. And if anyone reading this is doing a stage race for the first time my biggest piece of advice is to bring two pairs of shoes if you have them. You can thank me later :-)
Just as we were lining up the sun disappeared and I was very happy that I chose to wear glasses with a clear lens. The singletrack was pretty thick and it was dark under the trees.
Lining up in the middle of nowhere...
Half-way through the race I started to feel better and the singletrack emptied out onto a long road section. It was a welcome break after the previous hour of me crashing into ravines. I had to work very, very hard on the road and remaining dirt miles to make up places but eventually I moved back into my position of 2nd in the under 40 class and 3rd overall. Phew!!!
When I pulled into the parking lot Scott grabbed my bike and then told me that the promoter had subway sandwiches waiting for everyone. Awesome!!!!
I was bound and determined to have dry shoes for day 3...I think everyone felt the same way!
Sunday: Stage 3
Stage 3 started early in the morning and it was cold. Like frost cold. The actual race started at 9:30 a.m. but we had to do a neutral 10k ride to the start. I rode over with the rest of the Michigan crew and we were so bundled up it looked like we were going skiing. Scott drove over to the start and once the sun started shining we slowly started to de-layer. I felt tired...and seriously could have fallen asleep sitting up while waiting for the start.
After the gravel road we hit some singletrack and then climbed...and climbed...and climbed. By day 3 I was practically immune to climbing!
And as always, crossing the finish line was the best...
I ended up holding my position all 3 days. 2nd in the under 40 class, 3rd overall.
Do you want to know what else rocked? Maybe even more so then crossing the finish line?? (Vegetarians please look away!!)
Seeing and smelling a bunch of meat on the grill!!!
I think I will remember the BBQ ribs at Crank the Shield forever...they tasted THAT good.
I have to send a huge thank you to my hubby Scott for being so supportive and awesome. It was great having someone to hand my bike to after each stage. I have to admit I feel a little guilty for beating him at miniature golf....actually, who am I kidding? I don't feel guilty at all.
I also need to thank Chico racing for putting on such a great event. I can't say enough good things about how the race was organized. I met a lot of awesome new people, I had a ton of fun, and I NEVER felt lost for a second. And that says a lot because we covered a lot of ground!
And that's a wrap on Crank the Shield! Time to start researching stage races for 2013!!!!