It wasn’t the ride or result I was aiming for, but I don’t think I could have tried any harder to make it happen. In the end – well – 3/4 of the way to the end, my lack of experience in marathon racing caught up to me as I hit the Great Wall. Cracking and cramping harder than I have in my life – reminiscent of Ryan in the 30km at Nationals in 2017 #27minutepositivesplitfortheboysandgirls
The first 50km were unreal though, I’ve never had such an awesome ride (race) with a group of girls, and on endless fun-flowing trails to boot! The entire event really was amazing. The Epic Rides crew, and Oz Trails here, have nailed the recipe for a great weekend of mountain biking – Fat Tire crit Friday, citizen race Saturday, Pro Race Sunday, festival/expo good vibes. I dig it. Huge prize money brought out a stacked field with current and former National Champions from Argentina, Canada, Czech Republic, and the USA, World Cup podium’ers, World Champions, so cool to be able to mix it up with truly world class competitors ($60,000 was up for grabs on Sunday – 10k for both the mens and women’s winners, paying out the top 20 too!!)
On the flipside of unreal – dropping from 2nd to 11th over the last 20km and losing over 22minutes. The desperation that filled me during those agonizing last kilometres was an entirely other-worldly experience. The hype and excitement I’d had for the first few hours as we tore along the endless flowy Oz Trails were a distant memory, the anticipation of being the hunt for a $10,000 winners payout long since past… if it hadn’t sunk in enough, along the last couple km’s to the finish are on a public multi-use path, I was passed by a random person out for a rip on their hybrid. Tell me about being KO’d.
Honestly though, I am so happy I got myself to the finish. And I feel really good about everything up until I unravelled – well, everything except being irresponsible about fuelling well. Eat and drink. Eat and drink early, never forget, and don’t keep telling yourself “next section I’ll take a feed”.
I’m also so stoked on the endless fast flowy trails here. It’s probably a good thing I seemed to be perpetually stuck at the back of the group because I have been known to occasionally go a into the “scary fast” zone, and get a little too wild on this type of trail (this is Taylor’s fault). So many awesome little lips and doubles all over the place, tons of practice boosting it. If only I’d somehow managed to win this thing, then I could have afforded a trail bike and really huck it.
[ imaginary race picture ]
This race, I’ll never forget for so many reasons. It was my first go at an Epic Rides event, and it certainly won’t be my last. I know I can and will be better with some more work and deliberate practice.
Winning points –
- not flatting – everyone was flatting, shrapnel rocks everywhere
- not crashing – high speed, wet rubble-y corners saw a several people hit the deck
- leaving it all out there
On average, my tactic of chasing the front of races as closely as I can, for as long as I can, probably doesn’t yield the best results. But there are so many people here who are so good, I can’t afford not to… It at least gives me the opportunity to be there in case, one day, I can hang on all the way. Or maybe one day, I’ll be the only one left at the front.
Pictures to come as/if I find any. For now, imagine – torrential downpour, 80.6km, endless flowy trail, group riding, mud, shrapnel-rock, flats, solo riding, epic bike race.