Megan tackled a 44-mile mountain bike race for her first one of the year. Yep-those Naked ladies are tough! Read her recap here.
For a mountain bike race, 44 miles seemed pretty long, particularity for my first race. After missing out on the first 2 Rocky Mountain Endurance races I decided to give PV Derby a go, despite the daunting length. Being all the way out in Elbert county it had to be a nice flat small rolling hills type course right? Wrong! Boy was I in for a surprise, with technical drops, and a couple of narrow rocky descents on the edge of a small gully that dropped down into a creek. There were 2 laps, on lap 1 I found myself alone for most of the journey, I didn’t mind (besides the small paranoia that I was going to be eaten by a mountain lion) knowing that I just needed to keep a steady speed to make it through the distance. The first third of the lap was fairly mellow except for one very technical rocky descent, which was of course where the photographer was, I chose to walk it, realizing when 35+ miles ahead of me, the last thing I needed was to get over confident. When it opened up into prairie grasslands there was an AMAZING view of Pikes Peak, I remember saying “wow!” even though I was the only one who’d hear it. Around 3/4 of the way through the loop was the “aid station” which I decided to pass up (big mistake).
The final leg of the lap was down near the gully with lots of narrow drop offs that made me extremely nervous. I remember coming up on a big rock that I was unsure off, next thing I knew I was still clipped into my bike getting dragged down a (fortunately muddy) side of the hill. My chain-ring caught part of my thigh and I could see blood on it but I knew I was fine. I was overcautious the rest of the lap but kept pace behind another XC racer through the end of the 1st lap. I could feel my body fatiguing and stopped at the aid station only to find they were out of food. The 2nd lap was much slower than the first, my legs did not want to keep turning the pedals over. There was a section of trail with two very tight rocks you could barely get your tire through that I decided not to attempt (good thing!), after I had climbed up and over the rocks another racer came up behind me and pinch flatted, with a loud pop! There were many people throughout that lap whom I saw headed backwards on the course which confused me until I got closer and realized they had flatted. I saw my main competitor about half way through the lap, I tried to keep pace but knew I didn’t have the energy. I stopped at the unmanned aid station and found a builder bar which I quickly ate, but for the next 20 minutes kept wondering if I had chocolate smeared all over my face.
About 10 miles from the end of the lap I came across a herd of cattle, all standing in the trail, making extremely angry cow noises, 2 coming towards me. I quickly turned around thinking I could find another racer behind me and we could get through them together, but 10 minutes later, I was still alone. I approached the location where the cows were and they had moved far enough away I felt comfortable passing once I had my speed up. The rest of the lap was fairly uneventful, except for the looming wall clouds that kept getting closer. I crossed the finish line as they were packing everything up to get it out of storms way and not 5 minutes later it started pouring rain. They cut off all racers they came through who had another lap to finish, but I had just finished my first XC mountain bike race! I placed 2nd in my category, it took me 5 hours 14 min to finish the race, but only 10 min behind 1st place.