OK, I’m not suggesting this as a training method, but this is how it went down!
It’s been a hectic few months, leaving one job, working 12 hour days at the next and now back to being full-time at home with Zander while trying to build up my web design company and work on Hub and Siren stuff and move our house twice! Brendan’s been nagging me to get on the bike and I’ve had a few good rides in the past 4 months, but have been averaging a day a week. Not good training!
We’ve been planning on doing the Never Forget 100miler in San Diego for quite some time with hopes of getting a sitter. That wasn’t coming together for quite a while, so I thought I had an easy out. Our good friends Doug and Missy (who Zander considers his aunt uncle) volunteered to watch Zander about a month back. Then, four days before the race, our Dave Dog got sick, so I was thinking I’d have to stay home with the kiddo and dog anyhow. Everything fell together and the dog miraculously got better overnight (he had a good bowel movement, which he hadn’t had for two days) and before I knew it, we were loaded up for a couple of days in San Diego.
On the way down, Brendan wanted to get in a little riding on his new John Henry, so I picked him up in Anza. He ended up riding with Daryl, who just bought a Salsa from us and was touring it back to San Diego for it’s maiden voyage. They showed up in Anza an hour and a half later than I’d expected. Another excuse off the table :-)
We jammed down to the pre-race meeting, which was filled with questions about how far apart the aid stations were and a few useful questions, which I promise I did listen to.
The race start was very fast and dusty. I found myself being the only woman lined up for the 100miler. It was a bit of a let-down, but since there were only 22 men lined up, probably proportional. Almost everyone was signed up for the 50miler option. In the first 5 miles, the small pack spread out. The pro men took off and I found myself very comfortably riding with Brendan on his singlespeed. The tentative plan, supposing neither of us was a whole lot faster than the other, was to have a good ride together. We both understood that if one of us blew up, the other would finish it off as a race. The first 50 mile lollipop wasn’t bad. We raced out along lake hodges and did a big loop at black mountain. On our way back in, Brendan got a flat… gashed his sidewall. I stayed at the aid station with him for a while and fueled up, but decided to soft-pedal to the turnaround. I went on ahead because he was riding a singlespeed and I was sure he’d catch me on the big hill at the turnaround.
During the pre-race meeting, Robert told us that the turnaround was at the bottom of Raptor Ridge. There would be a yellow Xterra there and a sign. For some reason, I thought I had to pedal through the flats, climb the ridge descend the other side, and turn around there (at the other bottom.) This was pretty firm in my head, which is why I pedaled away from Brendan while he was fixing his tire. I was sure he’d catch me going up the first side of the ridge, if not, after I turned around coming back over the ridge. There was a guy out riding on flats with baggy shorts. I didn’t want to sit behind him on the climb up the ridge, so I blasted past and climbed to the top. I passed a few people on the climb up as I didn’t want Brendan to catch me until I was heading back. About half way down the other side of the ridge, an image popped into my head… there was a yellow xterra at the bottom of the ridge… before the climb! I had just wasted at least 20 minutes climbing up this hill, which many people were walking because it’s so steep and loose!!
I stopped on the descent and asked a guy coming down if I’d missed the 100miler turnaround. He affirmed and I began a very shameful climb back up this hill with hopes to catch Brendan. When I got back down, the volunteer with the xterra said that my husband had waited around for a while, but then took the turnaround about 15 minutes ago!!! I was devastated. Riding the rest solo didn’t sound like fun at all. Now I would have to hammer like hell to catch him. That’s exactly what I did. I knew that I had gears and this was a big flat section, so I got on it. I would know in about 5 miles if I had made any ground on him, by the first aid station. I was hoping to see him there… but didn’t. The volunteers said he left about 3 minutes ago, and then one of them looked up the trail and saw him walking a techy section. This wasn’t a small hill, either and I still had to fuel up and get water, since I did all that extra riding and already worked so hard to get back to here. I slammed back some water and several orange wedges, threw some gels in my feedbag and climbed that hill much harder than the last time. I got over the hill only to start climbing and weaving around rocks around lake hodges. I knew that Brendan would be faster than me on his singlespeed, so I pushed myself to stand and climb, instead of gearing down. That was the only way I’d catch him.
Just before the Lake Hodges stuff got super fast, I saw him again and yelled. I was so happy when he heard me and waved. I think he was also relieved to have someone to ride the last 35 miles with. It was now getting hot out, so we were both losing motivation to go fast. I had all but blew myself up trying to catch him, so we had to stop in some shade to refuel. I felt like I was going into a deficit and needed to catch up on calories and hydration. I added some perpetuem to my bottle, since I was only running electrolytes and could tell I needed food. Bad mistake in this heat. We still had to climb a lot out towards black mountain and I think all the blood went to my bloated stew of a stomach. I was beat and not happy about it.
When we got to the aid station at mile 70, the volunteer asked Brendan “How’s she treating you?” Brendan asked, “The wife or the bike?” Of course the volunteer was trying to have small talk about Brendan’s Siren, but his timing couldn’t have been better. We were both getting short with one another and this was a good break. I had come into the aid station on a low note and left with a smile. We both kept trying to bring it back to being positive in this heat; Brendan’s a little better at it :-) We stopped on the back side of the loop to reapply sunblock and take a break for a minute. At this point, we wanted to hurry up and get back and I was definitely looking forward to seeing Zander. I was done with being on my bike and so was my butt!
We had more ups and downs on the way back and kept taking gels when we were down. This kept our heads in the game, but we were both getting a bit sore. I think I motivated him on the flats and he motivated me on the climbs. I have to say that I underestimated the climbing in this course, because I just looked at the numbers. There were MANY climbs and all of them steep. They didn’t last long, but they took a toll. I was running my new Lynskey Pro29 fully rigid with a new carbon fiber Whisky fork. I was very surprised at how comfortable the titanium was and also the fork. Don’t get me wrong, my back and shoulders hurt in the end of the day, but being able to ride 100 miles, off-the-couch, was a pretty good testament to the bike. I’m very happy with the geometry of this ride and will have more of a bike review soon.
When we finally got back, we were both covered in dirt and the expo had died down a lot. Brendan ended up with 3rd in the Men’s SS 100miler and of I won the women’s pro 100miler. We got snow cones, belt buckles and plaques then headed up to go get Zander. He had played so hard all day that he didn’t nap. He went to the aquarium, a parade and the beach and was very excited to tell us all about it. We ran over to a restaurant, got food to go and Zander passed out on my lap. Doug and Missy had to meet up with family for dinner and the Colliers made it a very early night at the hotel.
What a fun race, and all of the other racers and the volunteers were wonderful. We caught up with many hubsters and had a great time. I can’t wait to do it again.