“Sometimes in mountain biking, you just need to eat a raw egg,” Marc said to me race morning when I discovered that I somehow messed up hard boiling eggs and very much under cooked them. I did not eat the raw egg that day.
Sometimes everything just sort of falls apart, but then sometimes it all just comes together. After a constant struggle last year to stay with the field and recover from crashes, this season has come together nicely, very nicely in fact. It was almost a surprise to me, looking back at races this season, and realizing that I made it to the podium in nearly all of them. And many of these also happened to be races that I never imagined a podium spot as being possible, or even simply a finish time, mainly Greenbrier, Hoo-Ha, Stoopid 50, Curse of Dark Hollow, and the Wilderness 101. After struggling along for the past few years at a level of competition where I didn’t quite feel like I belonged, it was a bit of a surprise.
So I went into the SM100 feeling confident and excited. Even more so after being called out in Chris Scott’s pre-race brief as a podium contender. I knew that was an overly optimistic prediction and that even the top 10 would be a stretch, but I certainly appreciated the little extra boost of confidence it gave me. And after that, I sort of realized that the hard part was done. It was proof that I put in the time and effort all season long, and now it was time to enjoy the ride.
The race itself went pretty well, which happens to result in a rather boring race report. No triathletes making odd comments, no tumbling off mountains into poison ivy, no Camelback disasters, no bee stings, no rainstorms (for me), no food problems, no mechanicals, no mud bogs, no smiley faces on trees. Just a long grind to the finish.There were still of course, times where I wanted to collapse on the side of the trail and cry, and the ongoing war with my Garmin making up lies continued. I was also feeling the tingle of potential cramps all day. Maybe I was just paranoid, but I did manage to avoid them.
I crossed the finish line at 11:13, about 50 minutes faster than last year, and in 14th place out of the women’s field of over 50. As one of the most competitive endurance mountain bike races around, I am very happy with that result.