Friday, June 5, 2015

Race Report: PV Cycle Derby

I wasn't supposed to do this race.  I was supposed to do the Battle the Bear in early May on the trails that I ride a million times a year.  However, half the race course is underwater, along with the parking lots, bathrooms, and fishing docs.  Due to unusually heavy rainfall the engineers at Bear Creek Lake Park have allowed the lake to double in size again, after all that is what is there for.  So last Wednesday I got an email from the lovely folks at RME stating that the race was rescheduled for Oct.  October is a long way away and I just wanted to race my bike.    They also offered the opportunity to transfer registration to the PV Cycle Derby.  I checked the calendar, Jeremy was actually off work, the team shop was having a demo day but the race started early and was only 22 miles, so I made the decision 3 days before the race to just do it.

The night before the race I made the mistake of getting on Facebook.  There were reports of lots of mud and even unfinished trails.  Had I been committed to this race for a while (and registered) I would have ignored them completely and just raced but I did struggle with the decision a bit, but ultimately I decided to go.  As we drove down there everything looked good, nice and dry.

Another racer from the team, the super fast Mark Wallace, was also doing this race (he's doing the whole series actually).  So we met he and his wife (and dogs) down there.  Everything still looked pretty good.  For this race everyone starts in the morning, the Endurance (60mi), the XC (36mi), and the Appitizer (24mi). 

The start was nice and sunny and bright with a beautiful blue sky. I started at the back of the pack, passed a few ladies on the road up, a few passed me back.  We turned a corner and started on a much less travel road, and that's where we hit the first big mud bog.  Lot of mud.  I knew I was supposed to go right threw it.  I made it through the first one, but not the second.  Two miles into the race and my entire left side was now caked in mud.  I'm awesome.  We swung back around toward the base, Jeremy was there with the kids cheering me on and taking my pictures.  The best was when A, age 6, asked me for a hug while I was racing.  I had to tell her no, and that I'd hug her next time.  After that the race course kind of goes back and forth along a creek bed, crossing it several times, lots of rocks and yes, more mud, but not the like the big road bogs.  This was when the pros from the Endurance race started passing me.  Last year when this happened at the Battle the Bear I became really annoyed.  This year I expected it, accepted it and just went with it.  It's just part of this race, just like it's part of their race to pace me, it's part of my race to be passed.  It's a "feature" just like any rock or switchback.  The day was beautiful, the trees, the creek, it was actually really great.  I allowed myself to walk some technical I could have ridden because I didn't feel comfortable doing it with all those people coming up behind me, but I did ride some and did fine. After a few more large mud bogs, we hit some road-ish sections, which were fast and fun (where Mark lapped me) followed by another short technical climb that I didn't see anyone clear.

 And then we went into the base camp before round two.  The kids were adorable.  D has my 2nd bottle up in the air waiting for me, and then told me my face was dirty before giving me a hug.  The girls had picked flowers for me. Jeremy gave me lots of encouragement.  I was tired but headed out for lap 2 in a good mood.
I came up on a girl walking her bike up a hill.  The hill was an old road where the two tire tracks had become big ravines and basically the only line was straight up the middle where she was.  She didn't step out of the way, of course I didn't say anything, either.  I tried to upclip but didn't make it and just tipped right over on the rocks.  She apologized and I was she was 18 and wearing Chuck Taylors for shoes which was interesting. I talked to her for a while and she said that it was the hardest thing she had ever done, and her first race.  I told her she was doing great (and she had been in front of me the entire day).  At this time I think we were lapped for the 2nd time by the lead pros, and again she didn't move out of the way until I suggested she do so, but she's new.  She went in front of me after the hill and then we hit a bit of a technical down hill and I was close behind her, until I wasn't.  I crashed, came off the back of the bike basically as I lost control (I figure this is better than going over the front, right?).  It hurt. My left leg was caught between the bike and lot of rocks.  Riders were coming immediately so I grabbed the bike and jumped off trail.  The first to pass was a woman who after asking if I was okay, told me to "spin it off" which sounds curt but was awesome.  And so I did.  I jumped back on my bike and kept going.  I walked more this 2nd lap, fell at least once more (again on my left side).  My quads started to cramp really bad about mile 18.

But I finished it up, 3:43:59.  The 18 year old beat me by 30 seconds which is great for her (I heard her talking to who I think was her mom at the finish).  I was 5th out of 6 in my age category, only 16 minutes off 3rd place, but 1:04 from 1st.  Out of all the people who did the Appetizer only 3 finished behind me.  Better than completely last I suppose.  I wish I were faster, but I had fun and I'm pretty sure I pushed as hard as possible. Big thanks to all our team sponsors.  I still really like my Scott Spark 920 and was sad to get my nice pretty Primal Wear kit, and Swiftwick Socks all muddy.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Race Schedule

It's a been a few months.  Well, I did officially join Pedal Pushers Racing.  I'm helping with the website and facebook.  I bought and started a training plan from LW Coaching (Cat 2 XC), I have a team kit, I got some new "racing" tires from Maxxis and am going to go "tubless".  It's official.  I'm a mountain bike racer.  It's a little scary.  I am still a little embarrassed about it, although I am trying not to be.  I'm trying to be more confident, and less self-disparaging, after reading this great blog from IMBA. I actually AM getting a little faster (according to Strava) and even a little better so that feels good.  We took the family out to Fruita and I think I did pretty well, better than normal with the rocks, and felt pretty comfortable on the scary Zippity Do-Da trail.

My planned race schedule right now is:
May 9th: Battle the Bear Appitizer (20mi)
June 6th: ERock Sunrise to Sunset on a 5 person team (12-18mi)
June 14th: Beti Bike Bash Sport (12mi)
July 18th: Breckenridge 32
Aug 22nd: Excel Roofing King of the Rockies (25mi)

The Breckenridge 32 is pretty hard, 5000ft of climbing and 32 miles with a good amount of technical.  The most I've ever ridden is 22 miles with 1800ft of climbing.  So that's my BIG goal.  I'm not going to sign up or commit to it until I'm sure I can finish, and I'd like to pre-ride it some too.  But it's cool to have a big goal.  I think.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kids mountain bikes for Christmas! Oh and I *accidently* joined a team...

I mentioned previously that I was shopping for kids mountain bikes for the girls.  I even made a fun Pinterest board on the subject.  I ended up picking up a used 20" Trek MT60 for my 6 year old from a friend.  It's not the best (heavy, barely functioning coil shock) but it was $75 and buying two new bikes at the same time was kind of scary.  If it doesn't fit our needs, we'll upgrade later.  So with hers out of the way I moved on to buying a nice bike for my 8 year old, something that will be eventually passed down to all 3 of the kids.

If money were no object, and if it would have been available by Christmas, the $1700 Transition Ripcord is super awesome. Full suspension, 1x9 gearing, hydraulic brakes, Sram components.  And Pedal Pushers, the shop we (ahem, I'll explain later) race for is a Transition dealer.  But yeah, wasn't going to happen by Christmas and Santa just can't leave I.O.U.s.   Pedal Pushers did have a lot of the Konas and Scott kids bike in stock just not with the features we wanted.

2nd in the "if money were no object" category, the $1700 Trailcraft Pineridge. This one is super cool because it's a new start up Colorado company and they seemed to have taken everything into consideration including designing a new better fitting kids' frame with a shorter chain stay, crank arms, etc.  And it comes in purple, my favorite.

Moving onto bikes we actually could justify spending the money on, we *almost* went with the $650 2015 Marin Bayview Disc.  Hydraulic disc brakes, shorter chain stay, but a coil shock and not going to be in stock until April.

And that brings me to the bike we actually bought.  The Giant XTC SL Jr 24.  $650 MSRP, but Peak Cycles had it IN STOCK right now, before Christmas for $599.  It has hydraulic disc brakes, a front air shock, and Shimano components. It is a 3x8 which is a little silly for an 8 year old but the husband might convert it to a 1x8.

So yeah, super excited.  It's going to be a bike-centric Christmas.  Everyone is also getting bike streamers for the handlebars and bike lights in their stocking and even little kid sized bike shorts with chamois

But yeah, then there is the small matter of me "accidentally" joining Jeremy's bike team, Pedal Pushers Racing.  They had their year end party and I had some wine and decided to give it a try.  They need help with their facebook, and their webpage (no one raised their hand for basic HTML knowledge).  I just got a new camera and it'd be fun to try and take action shots.  Finally, like I mentioned before, I think more women should MTB and race, and how can I have that opinion unless I do it myself?  The Dirt Divas are still awesome, but I hate to see the "shop teams" that appear to be men only, just because they happen to have zero women.  I don't think total segregation of the sexes does much for "the cause" or whatever.  Plus there's the added benefit of seeing my husband a little more, maybe (and I do still actually like him even after 10 years of marriage, most of the time anyway).  Lastly, I have a Scott Spark, which I love, and Scott is a team sponsor, so I'm already set there.  So, I guess I'll give it a try.  Except I'm really slow.  Have I mentioned I'm really slow yet today?  Yeah, I'm really slow.  Oh well.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

We need more women racing! But not me?

So it's fall already.  I haven't done a blog post since June.  I also didn't do anymore bike races.  I wasn't terribly excited about it and nothing really fit my (and my family's) schedule.  The husband had a good race season, did the Brec Epic (6 days!) and the Park City Point to Point (in addition to about ::Dr. Evil voice:: 1 mill-ion other races, totally over scheduled himself this year).
I have been trying to ride at least once a week and try to improve my skills and my fitness.  I went on a Ladies ride with Colorado Mountain Bike Association (COMBA) which was fun, but I was the slowest on that group.  We went up North Table Mountain on a route I've never taken which has 13 switchbacks!  I made most on the uphill but then started freaking out and walking on the down.  Eventually I started making the right hand downhill switch backs but not the left (call me Zoolander).  Finally at the very bottom I attempted a left and fell, scrapping up my left leg and smashing the clip on my new shoes!  But then I attempted the next left and actually made it!  So yeah!  Improvement.

The next week I tried to go back and make myself practice those damn switchback (I had even read articles telling me how to do them better).  I decided it would be a brilliant idea to go "warm up" on the little pump track (Golden Bike Park) near the parking lot since there isn't much of a space on the actual trail before you start climbing.  I'd never done a pump track before.  Never done jumps, only done a few bank curves.  This was an awesome idea.  And yeah.  Landed on my face after hitting a jump I didn't see. I'm awesome at mountain biking.  Some nice road rash (trail rash?) on my face, sore shoulders, hands, wrists, and ribs.  Awesome and oh so pretty.  (We went to a concert the next day and the lady selling us a beer stared at me for a while then asked "Go over the handlebars?")

And, also, going on a mountain biking trip with the Dirt Divas this weekend.  They (we?) go on a few trips a year but I've never been able to make one due to the husband's work schedule.  Finally going.  Super excited.  Although still slow.

So yeah, why did I come back to this blog?  This blog I started about racing mountain bikes when I only did 2 races?  Well for some reason I've started thinking about next summer.

Did you know there were less than 20 women who finished the Park City Point to Point?  And over 250 men?  That includes the pro women too.  That's just crazy.  Now Park City is a very hard race, Jeremy said it was the hardest he'd ever done and he's done some hard races, but that's a crazy small percentage (and they have equal payouts to men and women, which is another issue in women's racing).  Also, I've been reading about the Amy D. Foundation, in honor of Amy Dombroski, a cyclocross racer who died last year.  They are trying to encourage more young women into cycling.

Next, I have my own daughters who are now 6 and 8.  We took them to the COMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day and at least the little one loved it (the older one liked it but had a couple of crashes).  I've been shopping for kids mountain bikes and the majority out there are 30lb behemoths with shocks that barely compress when I push on them at 160lbs (I might make a separate post on this subject when I complete my research).  How does that encourage kids into biking?  That would be like me trying to ride a 75lb bike (but then again do I really want to spend a lot of money on a bike for a kid who might decide she hates it in a year).

I also ran across this Women's MTB Blog on IMBA that speculated that maybe if we get more "real women" stories out there, the sport might draw more real women.  I want to see more women in cycling, mountain biking and yes, mountain bike racing.  The percentages are tiny, when 20% marks a "good" turn out.   

But that brings me back to me.  How can I push my kids and random other people of my gender into this sport when I don't do it myself?  So here I am.  Back to "What me?  Race mountain bikes?  But I'm really slow."  I don't know how many races I'll do, or which ones, or if I'll join a team, or what exactly but I'm going to try again.  I might avoid the lap style races since getting passed constantly is no fun. I'll look into the Winter Park ones again maybe.  Or who knows.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Yeti Beti Race Report!

So it's been a while since I posted here.  Haven't been riding much either.  It's been raining a LOT and my drive kind of fizzeled after Battle the Bear, but the Beti Bike Bash was yesterday and I did it anyway.

But wait, let me back track a little.  Wednesday, Nancy from the Dirt Divas finished my bike fit since my new stem and my orthotics came in from Jinji Cycles.  We put some pretty big arch supports in but my knees no longer come in on each pedal stroke which I think is a really good thing  We switched the 80mm stem for the 65mm stem.  I also got new Ergon grips but I haven't put those on yet.  They are green to match my bike.

That evening I went for my first Dirt Divas social ride of the year at Marshal Mesa in Boulder.  I wasn't one of the very slowest this time!  For the past 2 years I always have been.  This time I kept up with the medium group.  I was pretty proud of myself.  I AM getting better at this whole mountain biking thing

Alright, so back to the Beti Bikebash.  Jeremy (the husband) had to work.  I had decided to do the Beginner's race, which was only 8 miles even though I wanted to do the longer 12 mile Sport because the Sport overlapped with the kids race.  Skyla had really enjoyed it at Battle the Bear, and I wanted to give Arianna another chance at it.  I was going to have my dad help with the kids but then he had to go to Utah for the funeral of one of his uncles (who passed at 94).  I then called our 14 year old babysitter and made arrangements for her to come over Saturday morning.  Yeah.  The race was Sunday.  I realized my mistake the next day and had to call and cancel (she's LDS).  After freaking out for a bit, I called my good friend Kortney and she said she could help me out.  She met us all at the race at 7:30am so the kids could watch me.

Now the Dirt Divas have a race team as well as a social club.  I am not part of the race team, just the social club. I didn't order a new jersey this year either.  But Nancy had invited me to come hang out at the team tent (not sure if she realized the circus would be coming along however) so I wore last year's jersey.  When I asked if it was alright to wear it, she said sure, but that she had extras of the new ones I could buy and the new ones are super pretty, so I did.

So anyway, the race.  The Beginners started at 8am, with the Never Evers starting a few minutes later.  My age group alone was 26 ladies with 6 Dirt Divas!  And that was just the Beginners.  I ended up kind of in the back of the pack.  Passed a few people before the first climb (including one of the other Dirt Divas who raced it on a Fat Bike wearing a tutu, when she's probably not even 5ft tall, awesome).  A few people had to walk the first short climb which was very different from the other race I did.  More ladies walked the 2nd, one right in front of me.  I had to stop and really wanted to get pedaling again, which took me a few tries and a few shouts of "I want to pedal it!" to get people out of my way.  This is my "home park".  I've gone up these hills literally 10 times this year (I know, Strava told me so).  I know I can climb these hills.  Passed a few people there.  So first lap, 4 miles, 21.5 minutes, 11.2 mph average speed.  Yup.  11.2mph.  Remember how hard I was working for 10mph?

On to lap 2.  Passed a few more ladies on the flats.  Started to get passed by a few ladies from the older age groups who started behind me (but this was the first time I got passed, which was nice).  Got back to the first steep climb, which had been washed out a bit recently, parts of it in a nice deep V instead of a relatively thick single track.  Suddenly I had a hard time staying in the bottom of the V, and fell.  I just fell going up hill on a hill I've climbed 10 times this year.  A few more people passed me.  I got pedaling again, made it up and down, then around to the next climb, which I made it up.  Then going down the next hill there was a girl down.  I slowed down and suddenly fell for no apparent reason.  Got back up, had to take a sharp right at the bottom and really had to slow down to get control and not fall again.  I apologized to the woman behind me and let her pass.  Then realized what was happening.  My front tire was flat.  I don't have tubless but I have Orange Seal in my tubes.  I stopped, tried to throw a bit of air in it, but didn't want to spend a whole lot of time pumping up 29" tires.  Tried to ride but just had no control.  I walked it up the big gravel hill that led to the finish (taking 3.5 minutes instead of the 1.5 it took me the first lap).  At the top of the hill I decided to stop and put more air in it so I could ride through the finish.  49 minutes total.  22.5 minutes first lap.  27 minutes 2nd lap.

So, I was disappointed.  Looking back I should have tried to fill it up as much as possible the first stop.  It might have sealed back up and been good to go.  Probably wouldn't have taken me the 5 minutes to fill it that it cost me to but a little bit of air in it, walk, and then but more air in it.  Oh well.  Getting flats is part of racing and riding I guess.  I finished 24 of 26, might have finished around 12th.

The kids did the kids race (Kortney had to take off after my race), which was just a little circle in the weeds (not sure how any of the kids made it out without flats but I guess those super heavy kids tires are pretty tough) about 100m.  There was no one there to start it officially so the kids just rode around in circles for a while before the parents decided to organize an official start.  A gal showed up with ribbons for them all at the end which said "If you had fun, you won" which was pretty cool.  Skyla did 14 laps, and Arianna did 12.  Declan DNFed...  got pouty and said he wanted a bike with pedals, which he can't ride yet.

We stayed a bit longer than originally planned so I could be a part of the big Dirt Divas photo (we had a woman racing expert).  We got to watch the pro women race.  Those ladies do like 12 minute laps around that course and 5 of them!  Skyla took some interest in a summer mountain biking girls camp, so now we've started looking at real geared mountain bikes for her and Arianna.

Unfortunately we stayed about 10 minutes past Declan's threshold for good behavior and he had a epic melt down on the way to the car (these instances are where I am glad Striders only weigh 8lbs).  The girls did a really good job riding their bikes down some of the hills on the dirt.  The other Dirt Divas were awesome about the kids, very understanding, there were several other kids there too (however most of their fathers were there to help).  Sometimes at Jeremy's races I think people just wonder why I bring them (or even birthed them to begin with), so an all women's event was pretty nice in that aspect too.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bike Fit and Axelove

So I did a bike fit with Nancy from the Dirt Divas Wednesday.  Apparently:
  • My seat was too high
    My seat was too far back
    My cleats were too far back on my shoes 
  • My stem is too long causing me to have to force myself to keep my elbows bent. A short stem will but me in the correct position naturally.
  • A wider handlebar would be good.
  • I need orthotics for my feet because my knees come in on my pedal stroke. I also need a different level of support on each foot because my arch is flatter on my left foot.

Also, my right femur is slightly longer than my left, so currently the seat is adjusted to the left but we can switch it to fit the right if we need.

Interesting.  She ordered a new stem and the orthotics for me.  When they get in, we'll see how big of a difference all those little changes make.

Also, got a pro-pic from the race!  I look serious.  I had to check the other pictures to make sure the other people were standing up on that little tiny hill and they were, so that's good.

Also, on a sadder note I came across a blog yesterday that really touched my heart.  A link was shared by MTBR4Her, who I follow on facebook.  It was a link to the PedalAdventrues blog, which apparently used to be Velomon.  The woman who writes the blog is a mother, Coloradan, biker, blogger and outdoor enthusiast. Last year she and her family lost their 2 year old little boy (just a few month younger than my little boy) to a horrible, horrible tragedy.  She and her husband have started a charity in his honor, The Axel Project.  Partnered with Strider bikes (the little pedal-less balance bike like D-man is riding here), they sell the bikes retail and donate others to families in need to encourage riding from a young age.  The new charity is struggling a bit and needs some help.  They are trying to put together their first big fundraiser ride, going from Ridgeway, CO (where they are from) to Telluride on Labor Day weeked, but registration has been slow.  I don't own a road bike but I've wanting to get one for a while so maybe by then I'll have one.  You can also donate, or buy a bike, or even just liking the facebook page might help them with more sponsors (I think).  I've been thinking about this poor little family all day and just want to do whatever I can to help, even if all that is is mentioning them in my blog that not very many people read.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Finally, the race report.

So I did it.  I raced my mountain bike.  I Battled the Bear.  And I was not the absolute last person out on the course.  So that's good...

The day started at 5:40am when I got up and made pancakes and coffee for Jeremy for his 8am race (I'm an awesome wife).  He left at 7am, riding down to the course in Bear Creek Lake Park, which is only about 2 miles from our house.  The kids were up soon after that, we got ready and headed off to the soccer game by 8:30am.  My dad met us there which was nice. They lost. Again.  They've lost every game this year.  Oh well.  They don't seem to mind much as long as their juice and treats after the game.  Rushed home, changed clothes, threw my bike on the van (the kids' were already crammed into the back), grabbed a huge duffel bag full of food, my gear, and entertainment options for the kids, and the cooler and we were off to the park by 10:30.  I swear it takes longer to drive there than it would to ride, but we had too much stuff and the trailer doesn't fit mountain bikes anyway. (We bought an annual pass to the park this year even though we can ride in for free.  We ride the park all the time and they've really done some awesome work repairing all the trails from the floods last year so we wanted to support them a little financially.)

We got down to the park a little before 11, met up with Jeremy's teammate from Pedal Pushers Racing, Troy, who was also doing the afternoon race (but 30 instead of 20), and unloaded.  He had gotten there a bit before and hadn't seen Jeremy yet which was odd.  He should have come through after his 4th lap and on the way to his 5th about that time.  A few minutes later Jeremy shows up, done!  He finished 50 miles in 3:21.  His goal was 4 hours!  It was an awesome time, however there are some crazy fast 40 year old dudes out there.  He was 14th of 68.

Soon after I got ready, then we tried to herd the children over for the free under 10 Warriors Kid's race but they started it about 5 minutes early!  So we rushed and got them on the course without numbers.  Arianna, our 5 year old, started to cry when her 7 year old sister, Skyla, passed her, and ended up crying the entire time (so no pictures of her).  Skyla did awesome and did 2 laps, making it up all the hills on a bike without gears.  Declan, 3, even did it on his strider.

Soon after that it was time for me to start warming up and getting ready to go.  I had been so busy I didn't have a whole lot of time to get nervous, so that was kind of nice.  It was warm but there had been some cloud cover most of the day. The women 20-mile Appetizer racers started at 1:20, after all the pros, men and women doing the 30-miles, and the pros and men for the 20 miles  I heard the kids yelling at me as I passed at the start which was nice.  The start loop was fun, most of the women were going about the same pace, I hung back, then passed a couple of ladies who were going slower than I wanted on the flat, but then they passed me again on the little hill that goes back up to the finish line.

The first half lap was nice.  I kind of fell back off the main group a lot but I was going my own pace, pushing myself but not trying to hard to keep up.  I did pass one older gentleman early on.  Hit the first hill, which is one I had not practiced as they changed the course THREE days before the start.  It was pretty gradual but long and kind of killed me and it was about this time that the cloud cover moved off and it started to get HOT, like upper 70s.  Soon after that I saw the first of the pros from the 30 mile coming up behind me.  They hit me right at a very steep little climb of single track and someone started yelling at me to get over, not being very polite.  I did stop and let them pass pretty much right away, so he really didn't have to be a dick.  But that was just the start.  I was pretty much continually passed for the rest of the race.  Most every one else was polite.  Some people didn't even say anything which was "meh" but I guess it's better than yelling at me.  On the ride down the dam there were two rides off the side of the trail, one was a woman working on her bike, the other was a dude who looked hurt, probably a pro (I asked if there were okay and they both said yes).  She passed me later and said he "totally took her out" but she wasn't hurt and finished up.  I don't think he did.

I didn't stop for aid after the first lap. I had 2 bottles worth of Carbo Rocket 333 (4 scoops lemonade, and 2 scoop raspberry, which is pretty damn tasty) in my hydration pack so I didn't really need anything, but about this time I got a pretty bad headache.  The second lap was full of more of the same, basically getting constantly passed by people lapping me from the 30 mile race, including Jeremy's teammate Troy (he was nice and chatted with me for a few seconds).  I did pass another guy myself though.  The headache got worse.  I'll always get a headache if I don't use electrolytes but I had plenty in the Carbo Rocket (and I took a GU 45min before the start).  Maybe next time I'll have to take extra.  My shoulders, arms and back started to get achy and sore too.  Coming down off the dam (I kept spelling that damN, I must swear too much) I was passed by a very small woman.  She had to pedal all the way down the hill and I stayed mostly with her without pedaling.  So I suppose being big DOES have some advantages in mountain biking.  Climbing back up Mount Carbon (the biggest climb of the course) I passed a guy who was stopped and was apparently just out for a ride not in the race (dude, there's signs everywhere).  He followed me up, pretty close, which kind of annoyed me.  At this time my quads REALLY started to cramp up and hurt.  I would have cried but I thought the guy behind me would hear.  I made it up the rest of the way, and then headed toward the finish, right as I was coming in, my quad pretty much stopped working and I might have screamed a little but still didn't cry.

I finished.  Official time 2:15.  21.5 miles, 1768ft of climbing.  Average speed: 9.7 mph, which was so damn close to the 10 mph I had really wanted but didn't think I could do, and way better than the 8.5 mph I had done during practice runs of the course.  So I guess I'm happy with it.  There was one woman behind me, she was over 60 (Go her!).  I don't remember passing her so either she had been behind me the whole time, or had stopped after the first lap and I passed her then.  There were also 3 men who finished after me.  So I wasn't "last-last".  I was last in my age group though. Jeremy was very excited that I finished and also told me how proud of me he was.  I was pretty sore and tired most of the day yesterday and last night my quads were twitching in bed.

Jeremy asked me yesterday if I liked it.  I'm not sure.  I'm glad I did it.  The training and the pushing for it has really made me a better mountain biker, which I've wanted for a long time.  It's fun to post the pictures and say I did it.  The being constantly passed really, really sucked.  I would have liked it if I could have just done my own thing, gone my own pace, etc.  The looking behind me, the stopping, or the stressing when people passed, the guilt about being in their way, etc, that part I really didn't like.   I don't know.  Maybe an out-and-back, or one big loop race would be more fun, or maybe I just need to get faster before I do it again.  I probably will do the Beti Bike Bash in June just because I like the whole mission of that race (to get more women into MTB racing, and just MTBing in general) even though it is also a lap course.  It's shorter though, only 12 miles for the "sport" category so maybe I can go faster, and it'll just be women so the difference between me and the fastest will be a little less (although there are still some very fast women out there).  Eh, who knows.  I don't regret doing it, but I'm not sure I liked it.