Brittany had the longest race of her life, both road and mountain, and surprised herself with a 3rd place overall in the infamous Laramie Enduro!
The name is a bit confusing, but the Laramie Enduro is not an enduro as in #hashtagenduro, shuttle-to-the-top-and-shred-all-the-gnar-on-six-inch-travel-bikes. The Laramie Enduro is a 70 mile (ish) endurance mountain bike race that started long before #enduro was a thing. Just so we’re all on the same page. I raced the sport category and because of the field sizes, the race director combined the Women’s 0-29 and 30-39 age groups into a single 0-39 Women’s Sport category.
Not only was this the longest distance I’d ever ridden a mountain bike, it was going to be the longest race—road or mountain—I’d ever done. I was really concerned with pacing myself, and trying to trick myself into treating it like a ride instead of a race. Everyone I’d talked to who had previously done the Enduro had warned me that the last 20 miles were the most difficult part of the trail, super steep, loose, and rocky. Slow and steady and hopefully I’d make it.
Meme based on web comic Hyperbole and a Half: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-why-ill-never-be-adult.html
The first 50 miles flew by! Some fun singletrack broke up the long stretches of forest service roads. I drank, ate, and hummed songs to myself.
I ran out of water around mile 50. My reservoir holds 3 liters, and I average—forcing myself to drink—1 liter/hr. Like a good girl, I refilled my reservoir at 3hrs. Mile 50 happened at 4:45. I still don’t understand how I drank 3 liters of water in an hour and a half, but I had roughly 45min-hour before the next aid station. Not good.
That station was 9 miles from the finish. I was cracked. A volunteer took my reservoir out of my hands and filled it. All of it. All 6.5 lbs and 3 liters of it. For 9 miles. Then this wonderful, horribly helpful person tried to put my reservoir back into my bag. Except she didn’t know where it went. As I repeat over and over, “thank you, but I can get it,” she unzips all my pockets. I finally got my bag back and struggled to zip the overstuffed compartment. As I rode around the corner and took a big gulp from my hose I got…nothing. The overly helpful woman hadn’t attached the hose to the reservoir! I almost started crying in frustration. I plopped onto the road, pulled my bag off, and re-did the time-consuming, unsuccessful packing.
Hose reconnected, I start up the awful final climb. It was just as described—steep, rocky, and loose, and I was already so tired I could barely pedal. Rocks that would normally not bother me were stopping me in my tracks. Every time I got off my bike, I felt more defeated and closer to exhaustion-tears. About half way up the climb were two women cheering their hearts out for everyone that rode by. Normally, I would smile, say thank you, and not pay much more attention than that. But, at 65 miles of utter exhaustion, I assure you, these women were beautiful, loving saints and I couldn’t disappoint them!
There’s a short, quick trail decent, then you hop onto a dirt road and finish the race on a steep downhill for half of a mile. My car was parked right where trail turns to road. I was so busy thinking about how much I didn’t want to ride back up this hill to get to my car that I didn’t bother to chase the woman that sprinted past me to the line. Had I known we were standing 2nd and 3rd, I probably would have tried to chase, but I did know there were several women in front of me who I assumed were my age group. Apparently I was wrong.
I crossed the line, turned around, rode back to my car, drank my recovery drink, and debated whether or not I should go back down to see the results. Maybe eat the free meal. After dumbly staring at the hill for about 10 minutes, I decided a free beer and food weren’t worth going up the hill again. So I loaded up and drove home.
It wasn’t until the next day when results were posted online that I realized I’d placed 3rd. I’m slightly embarrassed to say I have no podium photos for y’all because I was too lazy to go down and up a hill. Moral: You should always stick around for results. And you should always make the effort (however great it seems) to actually go check them.