Saturday, December 15, 2012

6 Hrs Markham - 2nd Place - 67.5 Miles Offroad...

I didn’t race in Markham Park for a long time despite it being my favorite park for quite a while now.
The news about the 12 Hour race here came out of the blue when I was completely ready after going for whole year straight from previous biking season to Xterra season to current biking season and finishing the journey last week in Santos with the final race.
Besides my already low energy levels and this race bing third week now in a row I decidet to give it a try. Just one more race before the holidays and the end of the year... 

Since our plan of putting an awesome girl team for a 12 hour Team Race didn’t fall through I decided to give it a go in 6 Hours Solo. I knew it was going to be a bumpy ride. Recently I am never home; or I’m at work putting in a million hours to make up lost time for my races every week, or I’m traveling to another race, pre-riding the race course or racing it and then driving back home and going straight back to work. It has been tough. But on the other side I was looking forward being able to compete in a local race and support local trails, so this was my opportunity.
I didn’t get a chance to pre-ride the course as I usually do and I knew that first lap will be all about taking my time and learning the track. I didn’t bike here for quite a while now and some things would pop out on me out of nowhere.
Through the woods I go
Girls doing 6 hours solo took off from the start like little speeding bullets. I had no desire to even try to stay with them. I knew I was here for the long haul. Riding first lap was very interesting and I got surprised by the course on numerous occasions and especially on my least favorite Route 66 which was muddy, slippery and had some obstacles that didn’t go well with me. I lost tons of time there. Rest of the course was really sweet however and I enjoyed the interesting layout and the new smoother image of the park. My first lap was 46 minutes long and after that I was able to speed up some. I lost at least 3 minutes to the two girls in front. There was one more girl right in front of me and I was able to make a nice pass on the second lap. Third lap happened to be my fastest and I had a great group of riders that I just passed on my back. This was a motivation to step up a little and have a great lap. One guy sat on my wheel for quite a while and after time we started to chat, I asked him a million times if he wanted to pass me and he asked me if he was bothering me. Lol. He was not; I just wanted to make sure I was not interfering with his race. His response was, “no worries, I think it will be my fastest lap”. Ha. We were all good than. After that I kept slowing down and then remember starting to get more and more tired. There were less people on the trails on each passing lap and I wondered if everyone just stopped racing. It was great to see once in a while another soul out there.
At the end after 67.5 Miles
At some point coming out of the forest I looked at the time and I was at 4 hours and 30 min and told myself “Great, maybe I will just finish this lap and I will be done”. I must have been quite tired already since I was completely sure that in 30 minutes my race will be over. There was Wally waiting for me with my husband both telling me that I’m doing great and have some 2 more laps to go. I was like “two laps!”, looked down on my gps and realized my mistake, “shoot, this is 6 hour race”, I still had long way to go.  After much biking, everything in your body starts to hurt, your knees, your hands, arms, butt, and neck. I started to feel very sleepy and kept on spinning in a half awake state. What was weird about it is that I handled the terrain perfectly fine despite being really fatigued and I had better balance on than off the bike... I had a feeling that most of the girls already stopped biking since when crossing lap 6 one of the girls that was a head to head with me still on the beginning of lap two now was already in the tent just cheering me on. Little later on the Gunrange trail I passed a lady who apparently I was lapping and ended up being fourth for the day. When going to the last lap I saw a girl that had been on the second position for whole race also on the sideline sending cheers my way. All I had to do now was just to keep on going and finish the final lap, which is easy to say but not so easy to do when you are already biking for six hours nonstop and your body keeps on telling you how much it doesn’t like bikes! :)
I am just a little tired...

I took my time and finished second with 8 laps completed. Lead rider was so far ahead that she was able to start her 9th lap before the cutoff time. All I can say is that some people are made of steel and I can only applause them. When I crossed the finish line I walked a few feet away, looked down at a chosen spot and just collapsed. I couldn’t and didn’t want to move even by an inch for quite a while. It was such a relief not to have to bike anymore, and just rest.  Next thing on my mind of course was the food, which was thankfully right there within reach. Race crew did an awesome job organizing the event, bike shops put an extra effort and set up awesome big projection screen where a very cool mountain biking movie was played. Bunch of great people getting together, riding bikes, having fun and doing the right thing at the same time summarizes the perfect Saturday one could wish for.
Now is time to heal however…

2nd Place

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