Given that I landed at Logan at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday (we took the red-eye home), headed home for a quick shower and change, and then down to CT to race after 4 days of big climbs in CA, I wasn't really expecting much of myself at this race ;-). Plus, the heat and humidity were a touch high, and a shock to my already out-of-balance system.
There were a good number of women lined up for the Sport race, which I snuck into under the wire (who needs a warm up in this weather anyway?). I quickly registered and got ready and then lined up next to Teri, and was eagerly listening to any advice on the condition of the course, and what to expect from it. Somehow, I had heard that it was relatively flat and non-technical - neither of which turned out to be true ;-).
I had to pick my way through a number of women after we started, knowing that I needed to be in a decent position once things got more technical (but not knowing WHERE those things were!). By the time we hit the single track, I was in 4th position, but 1st in my age group. We hit the first technical climb, and Alison S. of Landry's yard sailed in front of me - bike one way, and body another. I quickly asked if she was OK, and then was back on my way, chasing the two younguns up the trail.
Then it happened. I hit the famed "Twin Sisters" climbs. I thought I was going to throw up! These were steep, nose of the saddle in your butt climbs. On the second climb, I hit the flat piece in the middle, looked up, and swore. Off the bike, walking uphill, and the HR was at 181. Yikes! No WAY was I going to make three laps... But, in my too-stupid-to-stop fashion, I trudged forward, glad of my Camel Back full of ice.
In the second lap, I messed up a technical section and got passed by Stacey M. Stacey had a fancy new Look Carbon hard tail, and apparently, it served her well on this course. Then I got passed by another woman in my age category, and I gave up. It was hot, I was tired, I hadn't eaten enough - blah, blah, blah. Still too dumb to stop, I trudged on and a strange thing happened - I started to be able to see the woman who had passed me, and I was running scared of the woman who was sneaking up on me (turned out to be Alison). The second-placed woman was walking all of the technical sections, and now that I knew to expect them, I was doing well there. Managed to catch and pass her going into the final lap, and then never saw her again. I managed to stay away from Alison for most of the third lap, until I succumbed to how tired I really was, and fell over at the bottom of a technical uphill. I tried to stay in front, but she was riding the technical sections smoother than I at that point, and I let her pass going over a rock bridge. She ended up besting me by only 18 seconds, but was in a younger age category - whew!
So, I finished the race in second place (in my age category, 4th overall). Not bad considering everything ;).
I immediately headed for a nearby stream (after a cooling shower at the VW camper - thanks, Jean!) to cool down before Mike's race started. While I had raced with a Camel Back, both Mike and Keith were opting for water bottles, and were going to need new ones on pretty much each lap. Good thing the feed zone was in the shade!
Mike had an AWESOME race. He has been doing really well in the Root 66 series, winning 3 of his races so far. Today, a couple of Corner Cycles racers came out to play - Kevin H and Johnny B - both of whom are fit, fast and in some cases, unbeatable. Mike had his work cut out for him, and I was nervous since he normally doesn't do really well in the heat. In the end, he finished 3 - only 3 seconds behind Johnny, and about 35 seconds behind Kevin! A stellar effort he should definitely be proud of (I know I am!).
Alas, this was my last Sport-level MTB race. Now I will have to suffer through an extra lap, and return to the land of getting my butt kicked. My upgrade to Expert was approved...YIKES!