Monday, March 25, 2013

Race Report: True Grit Epic 50. A heck of a season opener!

Last year I was about ready to hang up the racing chamois.  I enjoy racing, but I was thinking there might be more to life, right? :-)  But as we were finishing up our Southeast Asia tour last month, Drew registered for the True Grit 50 mile mountain bike race to be held on March 16 in Saint George, southeast Utah.  So I figured, what the heck, as long as I was most likely going to be in Saint George with him that weekend, I might as well try it too.  I at least had sense enough to wait until the weather looked decent before registering.  I had the online form all filled out for the 23 mile option, but at the last minute decided to throw in my helmet in for 50.  My thought was to treat it like a long training ride.

And that is what I did.  Race day dawned with perfect weather.  We started at 9 AM in shorts and short-sleeved jerseys.  I started in the last group with all the female racers, including the pros (Open category) and collegiate racers, so I had no idea how many women were in my category.  I had entered the sport category, since I obviously wasn't training in Asia and I obviously didn't have the mindset of a pro racer!

Not only did I start in the last group, I started last. Dead last.  I and another gal moseyed along for a couple of miles, taking it easy.  What was up with all the rabbits off the start line?  I was going to play the tortoise today.  A few miles into it I started to pass some guys, then a gal or two. 

At this point I still had my happy face on.  Photo by Crawling Spider Photography pictured in the Saint George News.

By 2 hours in I think I had passed 4 women, so at least I knew I wouldn't be in last place - if I finished that is. Which was still a question given that my total time on a bicycle outdoors since last fall amounted to about 4 hours, tops.  Gym time on the spin bike - maybe 20 hours.  Nice training, Lucy.

This race is billed as a tough, technical course, and it is.  What I didn't realize is that it is so much fun that the whole "I am so bored riding this stupid dirt road that I can't think of anything besides how much my lower back hurts, how tired my legs are, and how stinkin' much I really want to be off this bike" thing went away.  I found myself thoroughly enjoying almost every minute of the 5 hours 58 minutes and 48 seconds I was racing.  The other riders were friendly, the scenery was jaw-droppingly beautiful, and I was pushing it just hard enough to feel it but not so hard that I hurt myself.  All in all, it was a lovely long bike ride.

I don't have much problem fueling on the bike.  For about the last half hour, my stomache was not feeling great, but other than that, no complaints.  Here is my food intake for the day: (Readers, I document this so that I can look back and figure out what I did well and not so well.) Oatmeal with walnuts, milk, and banana for breakfast at 7:30. Race start 9 a.m.  On-bike food: 1 bottle Carbo Rocket with a vial of Elete in it. 1 Gu. 2 bottles of Carbo Rocket 333, 1 with a Hammer Fizz tablet in it. A handful of trail mix. About 100 oz water.

Given my lack of killer competitive instinct and dearth of training miles, imagine my surprise when I looked at the results board and saw I came in 2nd!

I should 'fess up and say that had I raced in the Open category, which I hope to do later this year, I would have come in last.  However, I'll still claim the gigantic trophy for today and I'll still strut around after a future ride in the super cute post-ride skirt I won.  Ya gotta take it when you can get it!

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