I did it! I have yet to come down from the amazing high that this race set me off on! I hope to have some pictures to share soon! I cannot not even explain how scared I was the couple days leading up to this race that the weather was going to be terrible! We heard everything from non-stop rain to snow, to hail and thunderstorms! I am very happy to report that the weather was close to perfect for the eight hours that I was on the course! We had a few quick bouts of rain but nothing that soaked in to the bone! It was also rather cold but that kept my body temperature just about right!
I drove up to Idyllwild on Friday after doing a quick spin up Rock Store in the morning. It was supposed to be pouring rain up there by afternoon so I figured that I would not get to pre-ride the course. Other than some wind and scary looking clouds, the weather was great. I found my friends the Langins' and sat down to relax. They had arrived early and pre-rode the course. They shared all the good info with me and we kicked it for the rest of the afternoon.
Sleeping in an RV is THE WAY TO GO! With the threat of thunderstorms overnight, the Langins' offered a spot inside! Race day came quick and the morning hours seemed to fly by. Jr. was doing a rain dance and I was sure that it was working considering that the clouds came in like the mouth of a monster..all foamy and scary! It started to drizzle and I started to cry! J/K. The sky changed from sun to scary clouds on and off leading up to the start.
I went to check in, put my bike in the transition area and head to the start line. As I placed my bike on the rack I tried to turn on my heart rate monitor only to find that it would not work! This was devastating as I was heavily relying on this to help control my pace! I swallowed hard and proceeded to the start. The race starts with a Leman's style run about 1/4 of a mile long. This is not my best area as I am not much of the runner especially in cycling shoes! The energy was amazing as there were hundreds of people screaming and ringing cowbells! I was about mid pack when I hit my bike.
The first lap was excruciatingly slow! Most of the course was singletrack so there was no room to pass on the opening two mile climb! This worked OK for me as I was able to find a steady opening pace and just kind of stick with it. I wasn't out to win this race so it worked well. The course was freaking amazing! Some of the best trail that I have ever ridden! Perfect race course! First lap I felt great and as I came through the finish decided not to stop at all.
Second lap was completely different! Wide open with few people holding you up. This is where I made a slight mistake as I started to push it pretty hard not having many in front of me. This course just begs to be ridden fast and I had a good time throwing down a quicker lap! When I came through the pit area I hoped that someone would be around to help refuel me. I had layed out a couple bottles already and since there was no one around I swapped out and took off.
Lap three brought some pain! About 1 mile into the 2 mile climb my left hamstring snapped like a stretched rubber band! I jumped off my bike and quickly stretched. I sucked down a Hammer Gel and a huge portion of my Hammer Heed with Endurolytes powder. This lap saw me off the bike about 8-10 times to stretch out the cramps. As I came through the start/finish I realized I had made pretty good time even with the cramps. As I was approaching the end of the lap there was a medical helicopter landing on the course to airlift out an injures rider. I guess that they actually held up riders behind me which affected my friends team and final race outcome.
I hit my pits and grabbed my Camelback. I also ate a banana and drank 6 pills worth of Endurolytes. This really helped as the cramps never became a huge issue again. I was doing really well at the beginning of lap 4. I motored up the climb at a comfortable pace and hit the top ready to fly into the meadow. As I started the descent disaster struck in the form of a rear tire flat?! After my horrible flat experience at Big Bear two weeks prior I took my time and changed out the tube carefully airing up the new tube! Back on my bike I noticed about a mile later that my rear gears were not working properly. After five minutes of fumbling on the side of the trail I was up and running again.
Lap five was a steady grind that was cold and just OK. I had been going back and forth with a woman that was also doing the solo 8 hour for the first time. I would hang with her through the meadow and up the backside climb then drop her on the descents. She must have been rolling through her pits because I would often catch her at the beginning of the meadow every lap. She stated that she wasn't going to do a 6th lap and I tried to convince her to push on. She thought about it but I never saw her again. Mad props to her though as she battled out 5 tough laps!
Lap 6 was in the dark and I was ready for a night lap! I love riding during the night because the laps just seem shorter! The hills are great to because you can't see how long they look! This was definitely not my easiest lap as my legs were on the verge of cramping again and my arms were feeling it to! Once I got up the climb on out of the meadow I was so stoked! 2 tiny climbs left then the pump track section and the finish line! I rolled through at 7:58 and had a smile on my face like I had just won! A quick jaunt by the standings table revealed the results!
13th out of 31 riders! Way better than I ever expected! I was so happy!
The only thing I could have done better is had race support. I am confident that if I had not needed to stop and mix drinks and stuff between laps that I would have had time to do a 7th lap! That would have put me in the top ten close to 6th or 7th! This race definitely taught me so much and I look forward to the 12 Hours of Temecula in October!
I want to congratulate my friends Pedal Mullisha for 2nd place in the 5 person co-ed division. Also Mary Collier 1st place 8 hour solo women's who busted out an amazing 8 laps! Todd Carpenter 24 Hour Solo winner! And Kenny Gioeli the winner of the men's solo 8 hour race who did 9 laps in 8 hours! Freaking amazing!
My legs are finally getting better! Yesterday they felt as if someone had beat them with baseball bats for a day and a half! This was an amazing experience that has only deepened my desire to ride my bike for longer and longer and longer!