Thursday, November 3

Firestone Flashbacks

This is how you get through a 24 hour race. Yup. Coffee brewed in the pasture.

Our little home. So much food!
I took no videos, I took a few photos. Our 5 person team was trimmed down to 3 the morning of the event. Lets just say the boys didn't want to play. This left all the dirty work up to us. Me, Suzanne Sonye and Ina Teutenberg.
Thankfully it was really hot during the day. That sounds weird. But that meant that the night was tolerable. The fire pits got us all nice and toasty to go back out on the course where I got away with a long sleeve jersey and my bib shorts! Awesome!!

The course was so much fun! I have raced here so many times, I knew every part of the route! Although it was all linked together differently than before, and the cow-path breaking bumps were super rough by 3am! But I saw the tree that knocked Adam out, the switchbacks where Georgia Gould got heat stroke in 2008, the other set of switchbacks that Heather Ranoa lost her breaks and came screaming and carrenaing towards us in 2009. Lots of great memories of all my mountain bike friends!

Us gals kept it together, railing good times and having a blast until around 3:30am. Well back it up. I had 2 laps from roughly 12-2am and on lap 2, I passed a rider with double flats and zero lights. I said my usual "good job, have fun" and kept riding. Jerk!! I stopped and rode back up the trail to give the guy one of my lights. As soon as I started to head back down the single track POOF...there went my remaining light. Good thing I know that course so well! That was a fun descent and traverse back to the pits!

Then I finally hit a wall. If you know me well, you know how much I like my SLEEP!!! I had a 4am wake up call on Saturday to drive 3.5 hours to the event. I was cracked in every way. Trying to keep it together, I just lay down in the back of my Subaru on my camping pad with my sleeping bag and hatch open. And I passed out. One of those shaking-sleeps from massive stacked up fatigue. By that point I had ridden 6 laps, well over 60 miles and 6k of climbing and was beat.

But I didn't have enough time. Poor Ina shook my foot and said she had thought I was lost, because who in fact would sleep in an open car? My time to ride was close and she had made coffee, although it wouldn't stay hot long! Ugh. I couldn't do it! We decided to take an hour off and she was out on the trails again before sun up. My lucky straw got me the first laps, sundown lap and sun-up lap. So rad! Beautiful valley and sky, worth the effort!

We finished the day 22 laps ridden in 24 hours! Ina and I both did 8 and Suze did 6, one more than she did last year on a 5 person team! She got to ride that 6th lap in perfect temps in the nice crisp morning. Perfect!

Post race was the hardest for me. It was hot and no shade to be found. I was completely cracked and emptying all liquids I could find. Water, Coke, Gatorade. And sitting on a stump licking the crumbs out of the triscuit bag, I just couldn't get enough salt!!

Although waiting in the heat/sun was rough, have you ever put ice cold chamois cream on at 4am?!?! Hmmmm????!!!

And then the drive home started...

I went to my most favorite eatery, Ellen's Danish Pancakes to throw me in a food coma right off the bat.
Which quickly forced me to pull off the freeway for a power nap, waking only to the horrid thought of "Oh crap, I have 3 hours to drive solo. I CAN'T GO ON!!!" Despite all hardships, I made it home just in time for Brian to play pizza delivery boy! I had been thinking about this very piece of pie since 2am!
Yes, I promise to start eating better. Yesterday.

It seems I keep finding myself in oddly broken states with some amazing athletes and mentors, not to say movers in the sport for women. Ina and Suze were amazing teammates for the day and I continue to learn about the many layers of cycling, racing, competing and being stand up women for the sport, and in the sport. Thank you girls!