I headed down to Hurricane/St. George with Kathy and Bob on Friday. I pre-rode the race course with not a hint of trepidation or nerves like I had last time.
Saturday it was off to the races. The Expert women started a minute behind the Pro women and just in front of the Singlespeeders, but despite a pretty good turn out, the 7.5 mile course was not overly crowded. I had another horribly slow start and went into the first slickrock section in 9th out of 10. What is wrong with my starts! I passed a few gals in the slickrock with no trouble and then settled into a nice pace that I figured I could hold for what would turn out to be almost two hours of racing over 21 miles. I did pretty well at holding that pace, even while some jerk Sport-class guys made bad passes and nearly forced me into the cacti. The course is technically pretty easy and contains a few sections of long double track where I was able to drink properly. I'm still struggling with getting enough fluid, since I have forsaken my trusty Camlebak for water bottles. I thought I was in 6th for most of the race, and didn't see another female rider for over an hour. Then, a couple of miles into the third lap I passed another gal in my category. Looked like she was bonking so I sped up to put some distance and seal up 5th place. After the finish line, Jennelle told me I took 4th. Results show I did, by two minutes over the girl I passed, which was also a minute and a half behind the 3rd place gal. I wonder, if I had really pushed it on the start, could I have stayed with third place girl? Still, I'm happy with 4th place. Here is a pic of the Expert podium. I think the volunteers in the background of this picture are hilarious.
It was a good race for me. I didn't have any tactical errors, except my usual slow start, rode steady and hard, and ended up winning this fine tuque and ribbon.
Coffee after the race at Over the Edge and a tasty dinner with lots of fast teammates served up by a strange owner at Baristas.
After dinner, I got one of those phone calls you really dread. My sister called and said they were on the way to the hospital with the ambulance carrying my mom. She had fallen and broken her hip. Mom is 79 and has osteoporosis, so of course I was way worried. Xrays and a CT scan at 1 o'clock in the morning revealed it was indeed broken but that surgery would probably fix it. She had the sugery on Easter (not such a Happy Easter, huh!) and is recovering in the hospital now. Hopefully she heals fast and without infections. I hope to get up to help her around after her stint in the rehab unit.
Preparing to ride on Sunday.
Sunday I tried my hardest to hang within sight of Kathy and Bob on the Gould, JEM, Hurricane Rim loop, but they are just way too fast. Still had a helluva great ride at high speed* on one of my top five favorite trails before the long drive back to winter.
* I rode this last year after the Desert Rampage race and it took 2:49. Sunday my ride time was 2:20. Half an hour faster this year - can't complain about that. :-)