As guilty as I felt leaving Tim back here in Oregon, I hastily booked my tickets for the Whiskey 50 and some sunshine in AZ the minute I figured out I could fit it in my schedule. Plus, Stans NOTUBES was giving away entries on Twitter. Then I found out my good friend Wendy Simms was taking a sunshine break sans kids. How could I resist? I practically had to go. Not to mention, EQUAL prize money for women. Out of principle, I have to support those events!
I took off late Tuesday and got myself to Paul Gundlach's house in Fountain Hills around midnight, only to be woken up by a knock on my door at 5:30 a.m. the next morning. Well, it was going to be a hot one, so we had to start our ride at 7. Bikes built, we were out the door by 6:45. I was half asleep, but nothing that the threat of rattlesnakes on the trail won't cure. I was VERY alert on our 3 hour spin on singletrack around the McDowell area. Great way to start the day. And done by 10.
|Riding with Paul is a rare treat.|
|I hate snakes. At least this was a small one. Unlike the one I saw the next day and did NOT take a pic.|
The next morning I woke up to rain. Yes, seriously. RAIN. And not just the misty type. It was full on rain for quite a while. But by noon, it stopped and I headed out to McDowell park. The 'competitive track'. Took a nice ride out there with perfectly dry trails. Apparently it didn't take long to absorb and evaporate. Then packed it up and went to the airport to pick up "THE WENDY SIMMS". We jammed up to Prescott for a late arrival to the Kona headquarters, which was eerily empty. Until an hour later when I was surrounded by bacon eating, 'eh' speaking Canadians. It was going to be a fun weekend.
Friday was the FAT TIRE CRIT downtown Prescott. It was, hmmmm. Dare I say fun? Or would hellishly hard be a better description. At any rate, after a rest week and some easy rides, my legs felt GREAT. Perhaps too great, b/c the first lap I forgot I was at elevation and by lap 2, I was all blowed up. I came back to 'normal', but man, that hurt. Breathing through a straw when climbing a 18% grade (?) hill. It felt like about 25%. It was a tough one.
|steep hill. I'm on left going around after my bad start. bad idea.|
Saturday Wendy and I went out to 'pre-ride'. Yes, one may think a 50 mile course is a lot to pre-ride. No worries. We skipped the gravel road out and back and just did a mere 28 miles with 3700 feet of climbing. It was awesome though. The weather was great, the trails were fun and we were all smiles. And Prescott was a buzz. The event was HUGE. Everyone was excited, the downtown was all about this race. it was certainly a spectacle and a good one.
|Views we would not take in the next day.|
Sunday morning the small pro fields took off. The men blasted out of the gate at 8:30 and we followed 10 minutes later. I was pleasantly surprised at the pace out of the gate. I could hold it. For a while, at least, until it amped up. I told myself, DO NOT GO! NO BLOWING UP! And I just paced myself at a comfortable pace I knew I could hold. After the first long descent, my back was angry. And that next climb proved more difficult. Girls came by me and some asked, are you ok? I didn't think I was going that slow. But I motored on, got to the descent down to Skull Valley. I hate gravel road descents, but I pushed it as fast as I felt comfortable and made it to the bottom, catching a few gals and then started the climb, where I passed a few more. I thought maybe I could climb myself back into the money. I was motivated. Then I saw a familiar butt. Yep, Alice Pennington was up the road. A very familiar battle for me. I could not catch her, b/c she knew she was being chased and once on the single track climb & descent, she was gone. I almost cramped for the first time in my life, but I pushed to the end. And sure enough, once I popped out on the pavement, I passed a few more gals. Alice was one of them. There were a couple with mechanicals, I started thinking, maybe I did it. Maybe I worked my way into the money. Well, no such luck. I finished 11th.
|Christopher See got this spectacular shot. Water felt good at this point.|
But I had an amazing time and hanging out with Barry, Chris, Spencer, Cory, Wendy, Alice, Dave & we even had a Kabush sighting at the house. The event was amazing. The riding spectacular and the vitamin D I got will get me through this next period of pouring rain here in Oregon. The girls even got some pool time on Monday back in Pheonix. Mountain bikers wearing bikinis is pretty funny. Awesome tan lines! I hope to see the sun again soon!!!