Last weekend, despite the remnants of Hurricane Hanna, Mike and I headed down to race at Wompatuck. Since we had received almost 6 inches of rain overnight, Mike decided we should do the race on our single speeds given that the course would be pretty muddy, and I agreed since I didn’t want to have to do the maintenance on my good bike afterwards ;).
There were four of us in my field, and two of us were on SS. Susan L has done every one of the Root 66 races, and I knew she would have another good race. Rachael B from IBC was also in my field, and it was great to see a friend from the past on the line as well - Jane H was the other SS racer! I got a good start behind Rachel and Jane, passed Jane, and then was passed by Susan. Less than a mile in, however, I lost a place when I stopped for a bridge that was really slippery putting me DFL in my field. As Jane passed, she asked if something had spooked me, and I had to admit that the bridge had been my undoing.
After that, the women were all ahead of me, and it was 3.5 hours of non-stop pounding on some of the most technical MTB trails I have ever ridden – rock gardens from h*ll, roots, bridges, puddles. OOPH. I did end up passing Jane at about mile 8 or 9, where she was changing a flat. Sadly, I never saw her after that, but was worried that she would catch me for the remainder of the race (only after the race did I learn that she didn’t finish due to a second flat and only one tube – she was the lucky one!).
Several times during the race I had company - passing Sport men, some of whom were friends, offered encouragement and support seemingly just when I needed it most. Chris M and George B both gave me a needed boost as they went on to pass, and have great finishes.
I ended up going through every emotion you can possibly imagine in the race. When I was passed by the leading Sport women around mile 18, I told myself I sucked and didn’t belong. When I saw the mile marker for mile 24, I told myself I did a good job for hanging in there so long, and only had one more mile. Between mile 24 and 25, I used every curse word I know, and some that would have made a sailor blush. This was the MOST technical section of the race, and I was BEYOND tired. I ended up crashing in the skull & cross bones section – the only place on the course where that happened and it was at mile 24.5! At mile 25, the curse words doubled – this was advertised as a 25 mile race, and I still wasn’t done!!!! I ended up finishing 3rd, and the only female SS’er, 30 mins behind the two other women in my field. I was so tired and discouraged, I couldn't even stop to talk to friends and teammates.
On most of the courses we have raced this year a SS wasn’t a handicap, and in some cases was an advantage. Not this course, though. Every part of my body hurt afterward. And I am NEVER racing my SS again! ;). Almost a week later, I still can’t pinpoint any part of the race that was fun …
BTW – getting on a plane at 6 am the following morning was also painful, especially as my back and legs started to tighten up. This is a good week to be off the bike ;).