Monday, July 23, 2012

Wasatch Back 50

This summer, I'm racing as much as ever (18 races so far!), but traveling to races less than ever. Why travel when the best races are in your own backyard?  This hasn't always been the case, but Utah is now home to some of the most prestigious, best organized, and FUN mountain bike races in the country.  The Park City Point to Point, Mt. Ogden 100k, True Grit, the Crusher, and now the Utah State Championship Series races to name a few.

This past weekend was the Wasatch Back 50, race #3 of the Utah State Championship series.  It seems that every big race this year brings back emotions from last year, and serves as a reminder as to how far I've come. This race was no exception.  Last year, I wanted to race this series, and this 50-miler in particular, sooo bad.  Instead I put on a brave face and supported racers from the feed zone all day.

This year, I went into the race fit, prepared, and ready to leave it all on the course-which based on how I felt the day after the race-I think I succeeded!

Race morning was a 3:45AM wake up call.  I wanted to get breakfast, walk Dizzy, and drive up to Midway by 6:00 as feed bags had to be in the feed truck by 6:30 and the race started at 7.  Awfully early for a 50 miler, but a good decision on the race promotors part as temperatures soared in the afternoon.  The race started with a 6 mile road neutral rollout from the Homestead to Solider Hollow Mountain Resort.  I'm a big fan of the neutral rollout as it eliminates the need to warm-up, my least favorite part of racing.   The pro women lined up right behind the pro men.  This seemed like a pretty safe place so despite feeling like a fish out of water on the road in a large group, I glued myself to the boys.   This ended up being a pretty good strategy as there were bottlenecks and congestion as soon as we hit the dirt and I was in a pretty good position.  It wasn't long after that Evelyn Dong, the eventual race winner, took off never to be seen again.  Soon after I passed Katherine O'Shea, a racer from Australia, and soon after than Megan Sheridan, super fast local chick, passed me on a climb.  I stuck pretty close and passed her back on a downhill, but she caught me again and passed me before the long singletrack climb out of Solider Hollow.  This was the longest climb of the race and even though I rode strong Megan put a significant amount of time on me.  It wasn't until the long downhill before the start of the 2nd lap at Wasatch State Park that I caught back up. She proceeded to pass me again on the dirt climb up Cascade Spring Road.  It was also around this time that my hamstrings started to cramp as I would start to climb after a downhill.  At first it wasn't so bad, they would loosen up pretty quick, but the cramping progressively got worse and lasted a bit longer.  It took quite a bit of mental energy to keep the pedals rolling, yet somehow I did, at a pretty good rate, just not quite fast enough to catch Megan before the finish.  After 4 hours 42 minutes of racing, I finished in 3rd place a mere 49 seconds from 2nd!

Looking back, I know I raced hard and am satisfied with my performance.  I have some theories as to why my hamstrings cramped, but most likely it was the heat and that I should have had some electrolyte tablets in addition to electrolytes in my water.

Podium shot:
(KC Holley, Megan Sheridan, Evelyn Dong, me, Erin Swenson)

Not only does the Utah State Championship series put on a stellar race, but they secure sponsorship money (Thank you Ford Motors) for a pretty substantial pro payout.  The winner also gets a giant check!  How cool is that!  I didn't get a giant check, but my check was pretty sweet nonetheless.  

and no...dinner is not on me:)  This is earmarked to help build up this beauty!

Up next, well first I'm going to get this frame built.  Then more midweek races are in the plans as well as continuing my trend with some epic longer distance events through the rest of the season.

For a full race report, results, and photos of the WB50, click here

1 comment:

  1. I was totally going to say dinner was on you. Congrats on more winning!