Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Whiskey 50

My magazine shot
Whew. I'm finally caught up enough on work to put down a few words about the Whiskey 50.

After a 4am wake-up call (again) to catch my 6:30 am flight out of SB, I arrived in Phoenix and got scooped up at the airport by my mom. I love it when my dad and  I race the same races because having my mom and dad around, and their puppy Rose, makes everything way more fun.  My mom and I couldn't get out of Phoenix fast enough--what a dismal city!!!--and after confusing one strip mall for another--got coffee and were on our way.

The pro-rider meeting was at 12pm and so after a quick stop by the hotel to scoop up my dad, we made our way to the venue. The race takes over downtown Prescott so being at the venue was a bit like being in an alternate reality where cars and pro football are replaced by bikes and pro mountain biking. My kind of town!

At check in I learned that not only was I number 1 on the pro rider roster, I would be also be rocking a bright pink number plate with the number 1. Sheesh. Having that number on my bike was little like walking around naked all weekend. Look at me! Look at me!

I didn't know how to feel about the mountain bike crit set in the heart of downtown. Mountain bikes on cement? Meh. Mountain bikes on a short hard cement climb? Meh. Mountain bikes on a short hard cement climb with some of the best riders in the nation? Definitely meh. But much to my surprise when I got on my bike to warm-up, my nerves weren't too bad, and my legs felt good. The course was composed of two steep climbs separated by a brief flat (about 2:30 minutes), and a descent, (about 30sec). As a result after the searing pain of climbing, you didn't get enough to descent to recover, and thus went into each lap feeling way less recovered than you hoped to be.
Me and my BFF Georgia at the crit start

Climbing in the crit

So, the gun went off, and as I pedaled I was pleased to see I was sitting in the thick of it. And as we hit the steep stuff, I was pleased to see I was holding steady. And after a few laps I was pleased to see that I was sitting with some big names and feeling strong. And, as I already posted to FB, I made my mom proud. Some folks sitting next to her asked, after they heard her cheering me on, "Oh, my god! Is that your daughter? She's riding with famous people." He he. The crowds were also amazing. A ton of people turned out and made me feel like I was in the Tour. It was a great way to kick off the weekend.

My bed buddy, Rose!
Sunday went off, well, okay. The first few miles were on pavement and mostly uphill and as the pack really started to pick up the pace I knew I was going to have to balance my desire to be in the thick of it with the need to save something for the climb out of Skull Valley which would be 16 miles long and start at about the half way point. I seemed to find the necessary balance, though, because I picked off a few riders on the single track and felt like my legs were holding steady. By the time I descended into Skull Valley and could see the men climbing back out and then the lead group of women, I was pleased with where I was sitting. I got bottles and Hammer Gel from my folks at the aid station and then began the climb. Unfortunately, about 20 minutes later my stomach turned on me. I'd take in calories, get nauseous, spend 15 minutes recovering, and then go through the cycle all over again . . . for 16 miles. It sucked. And to top it off, I hadn't pre-ridden the final single track section and had somehow convinced myself there was literally no uphill when I finally hit it. Not true. I had cramp hill and a few others. Bummer. But eventually I did hit pavement again and rejoiced in knowing the finish line wasn't too far off. I wanted a sub 4 hour race but came in about 20 minutes after that. Oh well. I've since revamped my pre-race  nutrition, opting to omit most of what I used to take in and so far so good.

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