Race start was delayed by half an hour to let the course dry out just a little bit. Maybe it helped some, but there were still places that were as slick as snot and we more or less surfed our bikes down greasy slopes and pushed them through a mud bog or two.
I've been super busy with work and gone at a conference this past week, so my pre-race preparations consisted of too much coffee (necessitated by listening to geologists talk about obscure projects while watching Power Point slide shows in dimly lit rooms), too much beer (they give you a ticket for free beer to encourage mingling at the poster presentations and I work with non-drinkers who generously gave me their tickets), out of the ordinary diet (restaurants and snack food), and poor sleep (hotel beds!). I was not expecting to do well.
I lined up with 4 other Expert Women. Heather from Mad Dog is new to the category, but had similar lap times as me at 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. Lisa always beats me. Teammates Ellen and Alison have been looking strong this season. I was fully expecting to pull in 5th place.
That's where I started, but about a quarter of the way into the first lap, I started gaining on Alison and Ellen. I passed Alison, then drew closer to Ellen, who was also gaining on Lisa. Heather was outta sight by this time. I paced off of Ellen and Lisa for a few hundred yards, then, as Ellen made her move past Lisa, I went too. So now I was in 2nd place! Not for long; Lisa passed me back quickly, so I tailed her for a while. At the top of the climb, I was able to get around her, but on the slippery slimy decent, she got around me and rode like a pro. At the end of the first lap, she had about 40 seconds on me, and Ellen was about a minute back. I would have to chase on again if I wanted to place 2nd. So I did, and passed Lisa about half way through the big climb on the second lap. In addition to the soft spongy ground, which we were all struggling with, she had a badly rubbing brake. I know it must have been hell to pedal in those condition, but she did and she hung on my wheel until almost the top of the climb. There, I was able to put some distance on her, and through the decent I gained some more, so by the end of the 2nd lap, I had about a minute on her. I held onto it through the small lap for the 2nd place podium and a $20 gift card to Cole Sport sporting goods store.
Hammerfest Expert Women's podium Ellen, me, Heather, Lisa
Drew has been sick now for almost three weeks. He went on antibiotics this week, so hopefully that will kick the bug. Consequently, he didn't have a good race and got sunburned through the mud covering he picked up on course.
Epic Brewery beers, (what a great team sponsor!!!), and Drew's recovery drink consisted of water, we stopped at a funky little joint in Midway called Fill Er Up Coffee Station for a yummy sandwich. Then it was home so Drew could clean up and head off to work and I could clean up the bikes. It took 2 hours to wash all the mud off of them! Oh the things we do to race.