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!
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!