Yesterday marked the date of my first REALLY LONG DAY on my bike. I've done epic rides before, but nothing as epic as 9+hours of single track out in the lovely Bradbury Mountain State Park, ME. I drove up Friday afternoon with my buddy Dan and we arrived in Brunswick around 7pm after hitting some traffic (which included the wreckage of a crashed camper).
Our awesome friends Kevin and Amanda let us crash at their home and welcomed us to their town with a delicious home-cooked pasta dinner. After a quick trip to the grocery store for some race-time fuel foods, we headed back to the house to shower and all made an attempt to get some sleep before our alarms went off at 5:30am. The race started at 8am, but we had about a 20 minute drive over from Brunswick, and we still had to set up, so we had planned to leave the house by 6:30 or so.
Geting set up, I felt like a complete disorganized mess... I had no idea what to do with my stuff. I ended up finding a spot near where we would be going through on our laps, and I set up all of my stuff on a camp chair so that I'd be able to reach everything I needed without having to bend down much. I had planned on a bottle of accelerade per lap and to eat one to two packets of gu as well. I also wanted to make sure that I was eating some solids throughout the day so that I wouldn't bonk. I had a bunch of bananas slung over the back of chair and a bag of organic energy blocks at my disposal to stuff in my pockets and my mouth every lap.
When the race started at 8, I was pretty cold. I didn't want to overdress, so I just put on my wind jacket and hoped for the best. My legs were freezing, but it didn't matter anyhow. The group started out in a big bottle-necking cluster of people and didn't really spread out until we were more than halfway through the first lap. I didn't really worry about it though because I knew I'd be able to make up plenty of time later. What were the next 11 hours going to be for if not for making up for the first lap? The course was fun, but VERY slippery. There were roots everywhere and every last one was wet.
Throughout the first lap I could hear the other two solo women conversing somewhere behind me, so I knew where they were. Even though it was a slow lap, I managed to get myself a lead and the first lap ended up being about an hour and one minute or so. Not bad considering the bunching up of people.
I knew going into the race that there was a prize for the fastest female lap time, so I planned on going hard for at least a lap. The first lap, being slow and not really knowing the course, was not the place to do it. Even the second lap, with super slippery roots from the overnight dampness was not the time to haul donkey. So, I decided to go for it on lap 3. I watched the time when I could and managed to pull out a 52 minute lap (The rest of my laps were right around an hour and a little over). I still didn't go completely all out because I knew I had a long day ahead of me, but I was content knowing I put out the effort.
Lap 4 wasn't too shabby either, but from there, the laps started to seem longer and longer... maybe because it was taking me a little longer each lap to get through them.
I did okay chasing away my mental demons until lap 9. At this point, I knew I'd need lights soon, and I knew the roots were getting damp again. I was sore (my back and arms hurt to touch). I was IRRITABLE! I was on the edge of crying at the thought of doing two more laps. So, when I came in from lap 9 and inquired with a very wonderful lady (who had helped me through a bunch of my pit stops earlier in the race and was there for her hubby), she informed me that my competition was out on lap 7 and their laps were around an hour and a half. My last lap was an hour and 13 minutes or something like that due to my miserableness. I knew that no matter what, I had the race in the bag.
While I feel like somewhat of a chump for calling it quits at that point, I am glad I saved myself from potentially crashing and/or crying like a baby out on another lap. I happily packed up my stuff, headed over to the campsite to see my friends who I hadn't really seen since 8am that day (except for Kevin when he passed me), and deliriously tried to figure out what to do with myself. Luckily, the BBQ was still open for a veggie burger and a big honkin' piece o' corn bread, and the showers were HOT and FREE!!!! YAY!
The awards didn't really happen until around 9pm, so I got to hang out and watch Kevin and Amanda finish up their final laps. Dan and I rolled out around 10pm I think and got to Plainfield CT after 1am. All in all, it was totally AWESOME, and I can't wait to do it again next year!
Next up? Mansfield hollow cyclocross Oct 15 and EFTA Treasure Valley Rally MTB race Oct 16. Can't wait for more MTB fun.