Without further ado....Here's my last mountain biking race report of the 2012 season!!!
Scott and I drove up late Friday evening, arriving at the race expo with one hour to spare. I barely thought about the race leading up to the event, definitely didn't train for it, but instantly had "Iceman Fever!" the moment I entered the Grand Traverse Resort. It's impossible not to.
After talking with a bunch of people, and getting my packet, we headed over to the swanky Travelodge. I was out the moment my head hit the pillow, which is very rare the night before the race. The next morning came before I knew it and I had a gourmet breakfast (courtesy of the Travelodge) of two half-frozen hard boiled eggs, a banana, and a small yogurt. Breakfast of champions...it actually worked really well. Luckily we had enough time to stop at a coffee shop to get some great coffee! Let's face it, that's all that really matters :-)
The weather was less then optimal on our drive to the race start. It was 33 degrees, raining and snowing. I was strangely excited to see snow. I used to hate winter but now that I have a fat bike....bring it!
It took about a half hour to get to Kalkaska and my number plate was a little icy from the drive over...
Wave 6 started to line up in the corral and I joined a ton of other friends. I knew that the National SS champ started 6 minutes ahead of me and figured I would never see her. All the other female SS'ers were either in my wave or behind me. I had absolutely NO clue how I was going to feel or do at this race. My last race that I could reference was Nationals. I was so sick there (and felt so crappy for such a long time after) that I had a deep seeded fear that I was going to feel horrible racing Iceman.
That was not the case. I felt good and had SO much fun. The race flew by. I ran a 32x16 gear ratio and it was really nice on the climbs. I almost would want a 32x15 but it would have to be dry conditions and I think I would need a few more leg muscles :-)
The only un-fun parts of the race were the singletrack sections (which should have been the most fun!) I was surprised at how "traffic jammed" they were because I started in Wave 6. That's a pretty early wave. The longest singletrack section in the middle of the race was really frustrating because a big group of us got stuck behind a tandem that kept crashing or stopping. Instead of letting us pass they kept blocking the trail and running with their bike. A TON of people were really mad behind me!!! IT took FOREVER before we could get past them. I knew that everyone behind me was facing more traffic then me, and that it was the price I had to pay for racing early.
Once I got my legs moving again I started to make pretty good time. Before I knew it I was at Williamsburg road. It's one of my favorite sections because there are always a ton of people screaming and cheering.
I definitely had to work hard on the final hills and was super hot. I spent a lot of time fantasizing about coming up with a way to take off my hat without removing my helmet or slowing down. Nope. There was no way I could attempt it. Not only was I on a SS, but I am super uncoordinated. I was actually happy when my leg warmer started falling down. The cool air felt good.
With a few miles to go I saw a stars and stripes kit ahead of me. I will be the first to admit that I was very, very jealous of the stars and stripes jersey:-) After passing I knew that I could not slow down at all. The SS field was very strong, and there were several racers who wouldn't be far behind.
My legs/lungs were burning by the finish and I was really happy once I hit the chute. There were so many people cheering...it was a blast.
I ended up in first place with a time of 2:11. I know I would have had a faster time if I would have raced my SS in the pro class, but oh well. Losing a few minutes in singletrack was a small price to pay for getting done super early.
I was in dry clothes, hanging out with friends, and double-fisting taco's by noon!! That's priceless!
This podium picture cracks me up. We were missing a few racers and my arms look ridiculously looooong. Scott keeps telling me that my arms really look like that in real life but there's just no way...
Now it's time to start training for 2013. I have a not-so little-running race (more on this tomorrow) that I'm starting to train for and then it's time for Fat Bike racing!!! And in case you didn't notice, I am ridiculously excited to race my fat bike :-)