I always say I will try anything once. Well, I did a 100-mile race back in 2006. I think I said I would never do it again. But that was at altitude in Utah. This was in my back yard (sort of) and early enough in August that it would be possible to recover before cyclocross. And I was in much better shape. Plus, I haven't done enough mountain biking this summer. And I have had no fun hating in the schedule. No mountain bike stage races, no marathon, nothing. I couldn't stop myself. I had to do it. And now with it done, I can say, yep, I am glad I did it. It was fun. Will I do it again? Ask me next summer.
The race started early. 5:30 a.m. That meant a 4 a.m. wake up call and sneaking out of Ryan's house as quietly as possible at 4:30 to arrive at Wanoga by 5. At o'dark thirty, we were rolling out of Wanoga. I stayed towards the front, kept an eye on Cheryl Sornsen, the NUE series leader and someone with a heck of a lot more experience at this than me, and just stayed with her. This strategy worked. Although she got away from me after the first pit stop in Wanoga after the first loop, I closed the gap and we rode together again until about mile 65 when I turned around on the climb and she was not there. In my head, I thought, hmmm? I should put the gas on and get out of sight. I did just that, but I also had a blast. The riding was so good up high. No dust. I actually passed through a snowbank, a freezing cold creek and I was riding with a smile on my face still. But after the second loop, I could have been done. I had ridden enough epic trail for one day, but I had 12 more miles. I refueled and got some water and headed out for the last loop. I knew I was in good position, but I had no idea how far back Cheryl was and I knew it couldn't be far, so I still had to push. I reminded myself it was only 12 miles. I had already done 88. I can not say it was easy. I had to mentally force myself to go faster, keep it smooth and finish strong. With about 2 miles left, I was out of water, feeling the hunger and ready to be done, so it was my motivation to go faster. The faster I went, the sooner it would be done! 9:31 was my time. I had won. And I was 15th overall. I surprised even myself. Now it is done! McKenzie on Wednesday anyone???