I was so excited for another day of this race that I didn’t sleep. All night I fretted about my rebuilt shock, how much extra stuff to carry for endless flats, and how to refine my strategy. Since I wasn’t sleeping I looked over my bike again, ate a monster breakfast three hours before the race start and was at the start line (to make sure I was not 200 deep) before the race officials even showed up. Nerves. Mom took a picture of me heading out that I am sharing so you can laugh. She also said I, “looked scary” meaning it as a compliment (she also thought the gel packets hidden under my kit leg cuffs were my bulging muscles).
I survived the mountain bike peloton up the road for the first three miles, this must be the same as riding in the crash-four group as a road racer, and was relieved to hit the dirt and get spread out on Heinous Hill climb. I was surprised at how strong I felt early in the race, but that was not to last. Mile 16 to 19 we climbed over 2000 feet to top out at 11200 and I was the turtle not the hare. I did put some good distance on Amy (race leader) but on the descent she passed me never to be seen again. My pace was sustainable, I was taking in calories like a metronome but still had minor cramp twinges at mile 28 reinforcing my attitude to have patience with the race and ride my race.
I am a power house and (not to brag) can drop just about anyone on a climb if I want to. In a stage race doing this will gobble up your glycogen (what fuels your muscles) and it takes days to replenish so your legs are cooked for the rest of the race. It is taking Yoda whispering in my ear to keep me from powering up to drop a rider just because I can. Who knew I had so much ego! Fortunately the sage Emma gets to chat with other riders on climbs, take in the views and get some air on the flow trails as we descend back into town.
I finished the day moving into second place overall, but lost a few minutes to Amy. Tomorrow is the Queen Stage featuring a climb over 12,000 ft, biking through snow, climbing over 12,000 ft again, descending through bear territory, a wall (but it’s short? What is short 38 miles in and having climbed 6800 ft already?), and then my Mom will be at the finish line volunteering for the race. Epic.