Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lumberjack 100

In the spirit of doing all new races this year, Jeff and I drove 12 hours north to race at Lumberjack 100, which takes place near Manistee, Michigan. The drive there was highlighted by a great dinner at Harvest Moon in Ohio (highly recommended), a night at the cheapest hotel in Toledo (highly unrecommended), a stop in Ann Arbour where I happened upon an outside lunch time concert by zz ward (highly recommended) and then we finally made it our airbnb on Harper Lake about 20 minutes from the race start at the Big M xc ski area. 

Vegetarian dinner at Harvest Moon

Weird jacuzzi tub and mirrors in the middle of the dirtiest hotel room

ZZ Ward playing in Ann Arbor

A view from our airbnb on Harper Lake

The sunset

On Friday, we slept in till almost noon, went paddleboarding and kayaking on Haper Lake, which had the clearest water, and we watched turtles go scooting across the lake bottom. We did a short pre-ride of the trails and then had pizza and ice cream and hung out with NUE friends in Manistee.

Kayaking on Harper Lake

Pre-riding the trails

It rained most of Friday afternoon which was actually a blessing because the trails were super dry with large piles of sand all the corners that chewed up your speed and threatened to wipe out your tires. We were hoping the rain would make the trails more tacky. 

Rainy day ice cream

Pre-race cigarettes

The race is a 3 lap race of a 33 mile course that is almost entirely carpet trail singletrack. It is fast, flowy, weaving trails through the trees. There are some short punchy climbs with the majority of the hills in the last 5 miles of the lap. There is no sustained climbing or descending and no time when you can turn off your brain and just chill on a gravel road. The second you stop concentrating, you will clip a handlebar on a tree or wipe out around a corner. I did that twice and have a huge bruise on my left leg from hitting the ground hard. There are no long descents for recovery. It is pedal pedal pedal until the end.  

Jeff and I woke up at 4:45 on race morning, drank some coffee, ate some cliff bars, drove over to the race start and set up our cooler with extra water and Gatorade under Brad's tent, which he let us share with him. 

Pre-race coffee motivation

Race start was at 7 down a straight road followed by a bottleneck into the 1st singletrack section. I had a good start, and I knew I was going to have to go out fast to stay ahead of Chase who won this race last year. The first 8-10 miles of the course was just a single file line of riders in front and behind me, and I worked hard to hold my position. 

I finished lap 1 and was definitely feeling the effort which was not a good sign given I had 2 more laps to go. I was using a camel pack and my plan was to only stop once to get more water so I rolled through the tent without stopping. I decided I would have to slow down the pace. I passed Anthony at the start of lap 2 who was suffering more than I was. I tried to focus on eating my Huma gels, drinking Gatorade, holding speed through the corners and spinning up the hills to let my legs recover. I was feeling a little nauseous and was also getting nervous about holding my lead. 

Miraculously, about halfway through the second lap, something flipped. I have no idea what but it was like my body kicked into endurance mode and remembered how to race 100 miles. I was happy, my legs felt good, I no longer felt sick, and I knew I would have no trouble finishing the race strong. 

I started attacking again and caught up to Peyton on his ss. I followed him into the start/finish at the end of lap 2, quickly switched camel packs and took off to catch back up to him and start lap 3. I was still feeling great and managed to catch up to Jeff Rupnow and followed his wheel through the trees towards the end of lap 2 and traded pulls on the fire road leading into the last 5 miles of singletrack. He pulled ahead and finished a few minutes ahead of me and I came in at 7:23 and won the race in the women's open. Jeff also had a strong finish in sub 8 hours and was really happy with his time. 

Finishing behind Jeff. Photo from Rob Meendering

We hung out at the race finish nursing sore legs and sore butts and then finished the day with some beer and mead and paddleboards back at the lake. It was a great race, really fun trails, great atmosphere, wonderful volunteers, and pretty cool area of the country I have never been to before. Definitely a race I would recommend doing!

Happy at the finish!

Post race lake relaxation 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Whiteface 100K

This is year to check off some bucket list races and Leadville is definitely one of the races on that list for me. Since I have been unsuccessful in the lottery in the last few years, I decided to make the trek up to Lake Placid to race the Whiteface 100k qualifier, and I convinced Jeff to skip Mohican and drive with me. Unfortunately, I only had 3 days off of work so that meant a 12 hour drive up on Friday, race on Saturday and 12 hour drive home on Sunday. Despite not having a ton of time to spend in the Adirondacks, the trip was definitely worth it!

A view on the way to our motel

We arrived in Lake Placid on Friday night in a raging thunderstorm that instantly flooded the main street. Having spent the last week in Roanoke riding in the rain, we were looking forward to escaping to a different weather pattern but the rain seemed to follow us all the way north. We sat in the car for what seemed like forever to wait out the storm, which was the worst part of the trip because I desperately needed to pee. Finally, the deluge let up somewhat, and we made a mad dash into this cute little pasta shop to find a bathroom and also do some carbo loading. Jeff found a craft beer store next door to augment his carb intake for the night.

Jeff continued carbo loading at the motel

We stayed right across the street from the race start which was super convenient and also had great views from the balcony overlooking the mountains.

Sunset from our motel balcony 

Saturday morning we woke up at 5, ate some blueberry muffins, geared up, and biked across the road to the start line to register and get our numbers. It was chilly and there was a misty cold fog in the air. The race start was my worst nightmare, about 3-4 miles almost all downhill, which meant a lot of time riding in a huge pack of sketchy mountain bikers trying to be roadies. Luckily, I held my position, avoided crashes and took off as soon as we got to the first climb.

This is not a race to do if you are expecting to ride rad singletrack in the Adirondacks. This turned out to be mainly a gravel race with 3 short trails thrown in almost as an afterthought. Which was fine with me! I have been having a great time recently on my procal exploring a lot of awesome gravel forest service roads in the Jefferson National Forest so I was ready to attack to the gravel climbs here.

There is not a ton of recovery in this race, you are either climbing or descending on gravel or working through pretty tight, twisty rooty trails. I got in with a good group of guys and we traded pulls in the second half of the course. My legs felt good and the climbs didn't even seem that long compared to some of the climbs I have been doing in training.

Almost at the finish line

At the start of the race, the director announced the course was about 62 miles. I popped out of the last singletrack at about mile 60 and started gunning it up the road because I thought the finish line was right around the corner. Unfortunately, as we turned into the Whiteface resort, the course did not immediately take us to the finish line, but instead wound us up and around the mountain for another 5 miles. I had plenty of energy left for the final climb, but I was a little bit bummed because I missed the time cut off for seeding in the gold corral at Leadville by about 8 minutes. I was still the first female finisher and 12th overall and felt like I had a really solid performance at this race.

At the finish line

It was still misty at the finish and I got cold waiting for Jeff to come in. Luckily, I did not have to wait very long because Jeff also had a great race and only finished about 20 minutes behind me. We biked back to the hotel, took long showers and I put on every layer I had brought. The nice thing about these shorter races is that we can race, shower and be sitting on the balcony drinking beer before noon!

Hanging out at Whiteface after the race

In the afternoon, we headed back to the race venue for awards and to get our Leadville entry letters. The sun came out, and I was now extremely hot in my many layers. There were about 50 Leadville entries available at this race with half being awarded based on placement in your age group and half available in a lottery style drawing. Jeff finished 17th in his age group so we figured we would have to get lucky in the lottery to get him a spot. As it turned out, there were 8 coins being awarded in Jeff's age group since his age group had the most participants racing. They called the first 5 people up to the podium and amazingly, not a single person was around. You have to be present to claim your Leadville entry and if you are not there, then they go down the list until all the entry spots are claimed. The race director started calling out names in finishing order. 6th place, 7th place, 8th place, 9th, 10th place and still only a couple of the 8 coins were claimed. Jeff and I were getting super excited and as it turned out, Jeff got one the coins and a spot to race at Leadville too!

The two coins we came to get!

Jeff wanted to chill for the rest of the afternoon and I convinced him it would be more fun to do that on a mountain top than in the hotel room. Around every turn in the roads around Lake Placid, there are pull offs for different hiking trails - a perfect place for adventuring. We found a great spot to finish the day, but I definitely want to go back to check out more of the trails and mountains that are out there.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Marathon MTB Nats

Sometimes in a race, it is victory to make it to start line and that is how MTB marathon nats went down for me this year. It was a disappointing result, but I'm not going to be too hard myself for a poor performance at this one.

I have wanted to race at marathon nats for the past 3 years. Unfortunately, there has always been something during residency that kept me from going, usually mandatory meetings or not being able to find another resident to cover my scheduled shift. So I was really excited this year about the prospect of finally making it to this race. And then I found out that I had been scheduled by the higher powers to take my oral boards the day before the race, which is a requirement to become board certified in Emergency Medicine and which is pretty important for the rest of my career. And no matter how much I pleaded with those higher powers, I was unable to change my exam date. Humph.

Oral boards is a nerve wracking exam that takes place in Chicago. You rotate between hotel rooms and have to work your way through artificial patient cases that you might encounter in the emergency room while an examiner sits on the other side of a desk behind propped up folders and furiously scribbles notes after everything you say.

Jillian and me the morning before our board exam

Many people ask how I have time to race while also training to be a doctor. The main answer is that I have gotten really good at figuring out scheduling conflicts. So, I figured out a way to take my oral boards in Chicago on Saturday afternoon and still make it to Arkansas for the race at 8am on Sunday morning. While I did not have the race I wanted, I did learn some valuable lessons from this adventure! 

Lesson 1: I have wonderful friends

My boards were scheduled to end at 7pm and I found the last flight from Chicago to Little Rock left at 8:25, so I figured I could physically get myself to Arkansas before the race. I just needed a way to also get my bike there. Yay for friends. Lauren was able to drive my bike from Roanoke to Cohutta 100 in Tennessee where she was racing the weekend before. Dylan also happened to be racing at Cohutta and was able to pick up my bike from Lauren, store it for a week and then drive it down to Arkansas on the CTS van for me. Both Lauren and Dylan crushed Cohutta 100 and won the women's and men's races respectively too! So huge congrats to them and also so many thanks for helping me out with the bike. I also got some course beta from Libbey (who collected another USA cycling jersey on Sunday!) and Anthony Toops who raced there last year. Thanks guys!

Lesson 2: Do not try to race in the pro field the day after oral boards

I made to Little Rock at 10:30 pm on Saturday night, rented a car, drove an hour from the airport to Arkadelphia, checked into a Days Inn, found out I was in a smoking room, tried to change rooms but they had no other ones available. Gross. Snuggled into bed at midnight and tried to get used to the cigarette stench. My alarm went off at 6:40 am. I woke up and felt like I had been run over by a bus. I was exhausted. I think all the nervous energy from the day before had finally caught up to me and my adrenaline stores were depleted. I knew I would be tired from the exam, but I did not think I would be that exhausted. I could not get my head into race mode. And, I knew from the effort of Whiskey 50 the weekend before, I really needed to have my head in race mode to have any chance at doing well in the pro field. 

Lesson 3: Do not wear heels before a race 

Having blisters on both pinky toes and then stuffing those toes into mountain biking shoes and plowing over rocky trails for 4 hours will leave your feet on fire. In case your brain, legs and lungs weren't sending you enough messages to slow down, now your feet are telling you that too. 

Lesson 4: Bring a support person

My usual support person (and wonderful husband) couldn't make it to Arkansas this weekend. I tried to be self sufficient but even with a camel pack and 1 bottle on the bike, I ran out of water half way through the second lap. I think it was a pretty hot and humid day, at least it felt that way for me. Having an extra bottle at the feed zones and someone to hand it to you is pretty key to stay hydrated.

Lesson 5: Even when the race goes poorly, riding in the woods will always put a smile on my face

I had to settle for just riding my own pace. I am still learning how to race 50 miles, and the effort seems more like a long cross country race than a short endurance race. Unfortunately, I settled into endurance mode early on. If people passed me, I just let them go. After that, I actually enjoyed myself! The trails are twisty, rocky, with punchy climbs, fast descents, winding ridgelines above DeGray Lake. I managed to stay upright on my bike and avoided flat tires. I posted a finishing time (4:05), it was not last place (7th/14), and my time was not astronomically slower than the rest of the field, which is encouraging. I feel like I am in this weird place of either being at the top of my age group but not yet quite having the speed it takes to really compete with the pros. But, I like challenges and I know racing in this field will make me faster, so I think I am doing the right thing. And I finally got my chance to race at marathon nats!

Playing catch up to the lead group on a short road connector between the trails: Photo by Weldon Weaver

After the race, I got to drink a curbside margarita, courtesy of Jeremiah Bishop, went swimming in the lake and then was able to get a ride home with Jeremiah, John Petrylak and Heath Thumel, who both got 2nd place in their respective age groups!

Much thanks again to everyone who helped me get to this race and back home and to Chris Beck for fitting workouts into my busy schedule and to ESI grips, Maxxis Tires, Huma Gel, Joe's Bike Shop and Rudy Project! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Whiskey Off Road

There is so much I want to write about this event both generally and personally. I am going to try to keep it brief, hopefully I don't get too carried away!

First, generally: Epic Rides put on an incredible event. They really make you feel like a pro rider from the payouts to the fact they have a dedicated liaison to answer any possible question you have about the race or about Prescott in general. You know a series is going somewhere when the race director wants to compete directly with the UCI XCO races. When asked about conflicts with the UCI mtb racing calendar, the director answered "I want to double the current prize money so it will be a no-brainer which race to go to." Say what? It's also cool that there is and has always been equal payout for men and women at all races in the series. The result: an incredibly deep and talented women's field showed up for the race which was exciting and pretty intimidating at the same time. 

A view from our pre-ride

The race takes place in Prescott, AZ. The entire downtown square is closed off to traffic and the streets are lined with vendors, racers, cheering fans, a huge stage for music and podiums, people dressed in old western attire shooting off guns to start every race. It was a really fun atmosphere. With the fat tire crit on Fri, amateur races Sat, and Pro races Sun, it was a full weekend of pre-riding, warming up, racing, cheering, more pre-riding, more racing and constantly wiping off dust from everything!

Recovering hard between races and pre-rides

Second, personally: the weekend definitely had its ups and downs for me. Friday morning Jeff and I pre-rode some trails. I came around a corner too fast, my front tire hit some sand, my bike got all wobbly and I ended up over the handle bars into some bushes. Definitely not a huge confidence booster but I made a mental note to watch out for that on Sunday. And if I didn't have some blood on my knee, I don't think I would feel normal :-)

On the climb out of Skull Valley

Friday evening was the fat tire crit. It consisted of a very short lap with a steep hill, steep descent, sharp turns and what felt like no place to recover. My lungs and legs were on fire. I lost the lead group right away but kept pushing as hard as I could and ended up finishing 9th place, which was super exciting and a great result for me. Then I proceeded to cough up and blow out my nose an incredible amount of mucus and snot and could hardly breath. I sat on the curb coughing and wheezing my lungs out.

Fat Tire Crit

Saturday was Jeff's race and I cheered as he set off and then again when he came back to the finish. He gave me a run down of the course afterwards: climb out of town, techy singletrack climbing and descending, climb on some chunky double track to aid 1, dirt road descent into Skull Valley then climb back out, then some more single track, then a steep hill called cramp hill, then the singletrack section we pre-rode the day before, then road back into town.

Jeff finishing the Whiskey 50 on Saturday

Sunday was race day. They called up the top 10 from Friday's crit which meant I got to line up right behind Annika Langvad, Kate Coutney, Erin Buck and Chloe Woodruff. Woah.

I had a good start and I thought I would get passed by a lot of people in the 1st singletrack section b/c I knew there were many better technical riders than me who would be way smoother over the rocks and waterbars. Amazingly, I think only 3 people passed me. I was breathing super hard but also felt pretty good heading into the climb up to aid 1 and kept pushing the pace on the descent into Skull Valley. I was able to catch up to a couple more riders and was looking forward to the long climb out because I felt that would be one of my strengths. Unfortunately, I just never really found my legs on the climb. I don't know if it was the altitude or maybe I went out too fast at the start. I just couldn't make my legs pedal any faster. 

The thing about a 50 mile race in a stacked field is that you can't ever let up. The moment you become complacent is the moment you are no longer in the top 10 or top 15 or top 20. There is always someone right behind you (and also right in front of you if you have the fitness and willpower to catch them). Time margins are close and things never spread out like they usually do in NUE races.

I finished the race 13th. I was initially disappointed. I would have been so happy with a top 10 result. Looking at the field before the race, I knew that was probably an unrealistic goal but, if I had the race of my life, I thought I might be able to do it. I raced a solid race and was satisfied with my effort. It just wasn't the race of my life, and I felt a little let down.

Rehydrating at the finish!

There is a constant struggle btw wanting to do more on the bike but then also reminding myself that I am full time ED physician and biking is something I do on the side. I know that I have more speed and fitness inside, and that I can do better. But then I also realize I'm not a pro who can train full time. Part of me wants so much to find that next level to really compete with the best and the other part says I should be happy where I am considering all the other demands and crazy life in the ED. It's not always easy to reconcile those conflicting sentiments, but I trust my coach and the the process of training and maybe one day, I'll have that race of my life. So back to training and intervals and (hopefully) will make it to MTB nats this weekend.

Spending a day after the race enjoying the trails and red rocks in Sedona

Monday, March 26, 2018

Croatan Buck Fifty

My Wahoo is reading somewhere around mile 120. I am by myself, crunching white gravel under my cx tires. There are about 5 miles of flat road stretching in front of me until the turn around point that roughly marks half way through the lap. Luckily, this will be the last time visiting that spot at least for this year. I am getting tired and my back is getting achy. There is no one in front and no one behind. I keep waiting for Dahn Pahrs aka Four Loko Guy aka Donald Powers aka I don’t know what name he actually goes by to catch up but I still don’t see him. I try not to think to much, just listen to my music and keep the pedals turning. I have a good lead but I also know the 2nd place lady is not too far behind and has a teammate with her to work with.

Croatan Buck Fifty is such a different race from what I am used to racing, but it is incredibly fun and challenging in its own way. The start is at the Carteret Speedway in Swansboro, NC which is right near the coast, near Emerald Isle. Cars filled the infield and tables/coolers/tents and support crews lined the main road through the infield. It almost had the feel of a huge family picnic. It was really fun to see some friends from the east coast mountain biking scene but there were a lot of new faces too.

In the infield at Cartert Speedway. Photo from @BRETTROTHMEYER

I have biked once before near the Croatan National Forest at the Holly Shelter Game Land during a residency beach retreat. Let’s just say that biking early in the morning, still slightly drunk or at least very hung-over, in the middle of an incredibly humid NC summer does not exactly leave a favorable impression of a place one’s mind. But I had the day off of work and decided I should give that area another chance.

Matt and Gordon did an incredible job with organization, course markings, lots of cool useful swag including hand-up gloves, ridge supply socks, a cool ridge supply buff. It was a cool morning but promised to warm up. We lined up and followed Matt and Gordon’s motorcycles around the speedway and then down the road to the start of the gravel and the race was on from there.

The pace was pretty tame at the start. I didn’t lose Dylan’s wheel until Savage Road when the entire field got strung out single file zig-zagging down the road to find the best line around the huge deep mudholes. It was actually a really fun road to ride and definitely broke up the monotony of the flat gravel. Matt and Gordon were zooming around on their motos yelling things into the microphone, specifically that I was looking tired and slow. I laughed and then tried to pick up the pace.

What Savage Road looks like. Photo from @BRETTROTHMEYER

My race plan was simple. Don’t ride alone. I knew if I could trade pulls, I could get through the miles a lot more easily both mentally and physically than if I was out there by myself. I got into a good group for the 2nd lap. I was with Dahn/Donald who was leading the SS field and 2 other guys who were doing the 100 mile race. We worked together really well trading pulls. I spent a lot of time behind Dahn pondering whether the tattoo on the back of his leg was blue birds, bats or dragons. In the last few miles, our group fell apart a bit, and I came into the finish with one of the 100 mile guys who was wrapping up his race. That also meant my race plan was falling apart. I tried to convince the guy to ride one more lap but he said he was good and wished me luck.

Riding with Dahn. Photo from @BRETTROTHMEYER

I hung out at the cooler for a few minutes longer than I normally would waiting for Dahn to come in since I knew he wasn’t far behind. I tried to convince him to keep riding with me but he was mumbling something about his hamstrings. Singlespeeders 😊. I decided I should probably keep racing and set out to finish the last 50 miles solo.

At the finish. Photo from @BRETTROTHMEYER

It was pretty awesome race. There are no mountains (I climbed 561 ft in 145 miles) but that also means there are no downhills for recovery. The constant pedaling in the same gear in the same position on the bike presents a different challenge than cresting the highest peak. The gravel can be isolating but the miles tick by really quickly which makes it seem like you are making good progress. Because I was riding in different groups (a big one on the 1st lap, a group of 4-5 on the second lap, and solo on the last lap), each lap seemed unique and doing 3 laps wasn’t boring at all. I can’t wait to be back next year!

Women's 150 Podium. Showing off our Pit Viper podium sunglasses. So much fun racing with these fast ladies.

Jeff got 1st in the men's SS 100 race! Singlespeeders 😊

Thursday, March 22, 2018

True Grit 100

True Grit 100 was the next race on our calendar this year. This race takes place in St. George, Utah. Jeff and I were both excited for more desert riding and to escape the dreary cold place that Roanoke has been this winter.

Jeff has been looking for alternatives to our hard case bike boxes for traveling because every time we pack up bikes, we spend about half an hour playing Tetris and trying to find the right alignment of wheels, frame, and fork so that the boxes will close properly. We were able to get a really great deal on a couple of Pika bags from a friend and it made packing up the bikes so much easier. They are rather heavy to carry around the airport but I guess unless you are will to spend $500 on an evoc bag, you can’t have it all!

All snuggly in the Pika bags

We flew into Las Vegas and then drove to St. George. We stayed at an air bnb right next to the start of Zen trail. One of the best parts about this race was that a whole contingent of Joe’s racers came out from Baltimore and it was awesome to see everyone from the team. There was also a great group of Roanoke riders too, including Lauren, and Ray who were also staying with us. We met up on Friday morning and pre-rode Barrel Ride and Zen trails and scoped out lines on the upper section of Bear-Claw Poppy.

Joe's Bike Shop Racing Team with additions of Britt, Lauren, Ray and Haddock 

The riding in St. George is unlike any type of riding I have ever done before. It is very technical, full body work-out trying to climb up and over rocks and then surviving steep rock drops on the descent. The sandstone rock is incredibly grippy and sometimes you just have to trust your wheels are going to stick when it seems impossible that they will. I think Lauren said it best: “in the east coast, we always try to find the line between the rocks but out here, you have to find the best line over the rocks.” It is definitely a different way of seeing the landscape.

I am grateful to Jeff, Lauren and the rest of my Joe’s teammates for showing me the lines on the trail sections that we pre-rode. It made racing the next day a lot easier, although I was still pretty nervous about some of the trail sections. I really didn’t want to fall off and injure my knee again.

Race morning was a bit chilly, but it warmed up quickly after the start. We started on a series of dirt road climbs, descents down into washes, and then made our way onto singletrack trails. There was an incredibly strong field of female riders, which was awesome to see. I contemplated the fact that I might not even make the podium given how technical the riding was, but I was determined to go out and give it my best.

Larissa Conners had a blazing fast start and immediately gapped everyone else in the field. I had a decent start and made it to the start of Zen trail in second place. Sparky Spear Mois came flying by me on the Zen descent and there was nothing I could do to keep up with her. Then we came to the most fun section of the course, Bear-Claw Poppy Trail. It is a fun fast downhill with zigzagging trails all weaving in and out and joining back up together. You can pick any line down it and have a blast. After that section, you start a long and gradual climb back up to the ridgeline on Stucki Springs Trail. At this point, Chase Edwards came charging past, and I decided I should probably try to stick her wheel if I wanted any hope of staying in the race. We passed Sparky but then she later caught back up and passed us again on the technical Barrel Rolls Trail, which is the last technical trail section that ends the 1st lap.

A view from the top of Bear-Claw Poppy
I was actually pretty excited with how I was riding. At the end of lap one, I was right with Chase and we could see Sparky in front of us. I was right in the mix of things on trails that were really technical and usually would have me struggling at the back. Bring it on rocks!

I decided to put in a push and catch back up to Sparky. We worked our way back up the initial climbs, back through barrel roll, and started back up Zen. I didn’t have enough of a gap on Sparky to hold her off on Zen trail and she came by me again. She is incredibly fast on the technical sections and downhills! I pretty much rode my own race to the finish after that. I was much more relaxed and comfortable on the trails on the 2nd lap, pushed the climbs, had a blast down Bear-Claw Poppy and made it through Barrel Roll again. I knew Chase would be hammering behind me. Once you finish the last single track, it is a 1 mile descent and road sprint to the finish which felt amazing crossing the line. I was really happy with 3rd place. I finished in 8:02, about 3 minutes behind Sparky in 2nd.

Women's 100 mile podium

I had a ton of fun at True Grit. I think it has the most technical riding of all the NUE races I have ever done, the desert views are beautiful and it is just so different from anything on the east coast. Really hope to be back again next year! Much thanks to ESI grip, Maxxis tires, JBSRT, and Huma Gel for making this possible!

I did fall once during the race (and once during the pre-ride) but luckily not hard at all. Rich Dillen recently asked on facebook: Scab the size of a half dollar on the bendy part of your knee or zit on your nose? Having had permanent scabs on my knees for at least the last year, I'll take the scabs. I think it's a sign I'm getting better (or at least not afraid) to ride technical stuff!