Monday, June 2, 2014
When I registered for the Bearscat 50 in February, I had no idea what role it would play in my season. I had a few minor hick-ups in my spring training schedule, and I use the word “training” loosely. I like to think of it more as riding with a purpose. Whatever term you want to use, I had a minor set back and was trying to play catch up. The Bearscat 50 had been approaching too quickly and to be honest, I had some doubts on how well I would handle the race.
Day before the race, I received an email saying that it would be a mass start, staged according to estimated finish time. I had about an hour of panic, envisioning aggressive men elbowing and running me off course or brow beating me to stay behind them while they flailed about, but I decided to let go of all that negative stuff and take a deep breath. It is always best to embrace the positive. I slept better that night and was mentally prepared to be patient and positive towards my fellow racers at the start. After all, I entered this race mainly to become a stronger rider.
As it turned out, the traffic on the start kept my heart rate down, allowing me to ease into the race, as well as offering me a lot of practice on passing, both in handling skills and etiquette. By the end of the Pumphouse trail, I had somewhat calmly worked my way through what seemed like 100 Keystone Cops and finally found some space to ride.
It was kind of strange, but it seemed like I would pass the guys in the single-track and they would pass me back on the climbs. Once a strong climber with apprehension on the descents, I now find myself struggling on the climbs and chaffing when I want to flow more in the technical. A few seconds of patience often allows enough rest to pass cleanly. This was great passing practice for Nationals, and I now know that I need to work on my climbing.
The course was pretty awesome and I can honestly say that for most of the time, all I thought of was the actual riding. I had received an early report from a marshal that I was 3rd women on course. My team mates Darlene and Marianne, as well as my riding buddy, Wendi were all close to me on course, yet with the entertaining trails, traffic and rest stops, I did not know where we all were through most of the race. Then in the last few miles, and right before Porcupine trail on our last lap, we merged into a train together, and I took the lead. You may expect some narrative of a dramatic sprint to the finish, but at 45 miles tired and as humble as we all are, we all rolled in quite calmly within minutes of each other. Dar and I even held hands for a tie for 3rd.
Our finish time: 5:43. Our estimated finish time, and where we lined up: 6:30. Once again, the humble Jeresy girls, rocked the rocks in style almost an hour faster than we thought we would. I am feeling much better about Nationals after this race!