Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Galena Grinder

Last weekend Shannon, Dizzy, and I traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho for the Galena Grinder-my first marathon distance race this year.  While the distance of the Galena Grinder is rather short for a marathon-only 42ish miles- make no mistake, it is a difficult race.  With almost 7000 vertical feet of climbing you are either barely able to turn your pedals over up steep climbs or ripping down sketchy downhills with switchbacks that seem to come out of nowhere.  The high elevation certainly doesn't make it any easier.

One of the highest points on the race course.  
You can barely see the trail on the left popping out of the pines.

The open women's field was full of talent including the reining National Marathon champion as well as the National Ultraendurance Series winner.  However, with over two hundred racers and a mass start, I had more than the girls to worry about.  I immediately ate dust, and a lot of it, for pretty much the first hour and a half of racing.

Dust-free on the start-line
Photo: Dyan Lee-Spoken Chain

Post-race: Hot and dirty!

Overall, my race was pretty uneventful with me sitting in 5th place almost the entire time.  I did get a bit of a scare when the 6th place girl caught me about halfway through the first lap (of the two lap course), however I was able to drop her pretty quickly. Soon after, I caught the 4th place girl while she was walking up the steepest climb of the race, however she was clearly stronger on the bike as she dropped me as soon as she was able to get back on.

Sweet photo: courtesy Dyan Lee-Spoken Chain

I beat my personal, although completely arbitrary, goal of 4.5 hours by a few minutes despite a little mid-race water bottle mishap.  Funny story there!  The course ran in a figure-8 pattern and I had set out a table with fresh bottles in a location that I would pass three times.   This worked well the first two times through,  but my final time through there was a lady holding one of my remaining water bottles.  I figured that she must know me and was going to pass the bottle up to me, however when I rode up she said "I don't know who these belong to, but do you want some?"  Apparently she had been giving away sips from my bottles to random racers and none of them were full!  I think considering the circumstances,  I was quite polite when I told her that they were my bottles and I had placed them there.  Regardless, it was frustrating that I had to stop and dump a bunch of half full bottles to completely fill mine up before I set out for the last one and a half hours of racing in the hottest part of the day.  In reality, I didn't lose that much time.

Anyhow, I finished 5th which was good enough for a spot on the podium.

Podium: Jana Repulski, Jessica Cerra, Pua Mata, Amanda Carey, me (l to r)

Yep.  Those are checks in our hands.  Galena Grinder has equal payout for women.  I love this race!
After the race I was peer pressured to sit in the creek (to cool the legs and help recovery).  
It was friggin' cold.  The other girls were calming chatting away.  I was shivering the whole time!

Shannon and I then spent two more days hiking and biking trails in the Sun Valley/Ketchum area.  It's possible I say this about every bike destination we visit, but after this weekend, Sun Valley/Ketchum rates as one of my favorites.  The town is a lot less busy (at least this weekend) than most resort towns and very dog friendly.  Dizzy even went out to eat with us one afternoon and the staff at the cafe oodled over him.  The trails are riding distance from town and it is easy to put together a mellow two-hour loop or an all-day epic.  And although we barely scratched the surface, the trails seem pretty fun too!

 Riding Chocolate Gulch

As for Dizzy, he has such a great time traveling to races with us that it is really hard to leave him behind.  He really is a good boy and travels quite well. Although he was a bit restless the first two nights, and as he kept waking us up, I threatened him that it was his last trip ever!  I think he, like me, gets so excited that he has a difficult time sleeping.  Anyhow, he's certainly tuckered out now.  He has barely gotten up since we returned...two days ago!

1 comment:

  1. Sun Valley is such a pretty place! Glad to see you had an amazing trip and plan to bring Dizzy with you again. :)

    Your hair is growing so long!