Jennifer Douglas, o2fitness-athlete-extraordinaire, and Roseville Cyclery Team member shares her play-by-play at the Cool Mountain Bike Race.. Race Recap Cool - signed up for Expert for the first time and was anxious about that but fully embraced the challenge. One of the competitors was Mi Ling who has won the race the last 3-4 years and beat our own superwoman Sara. So I knew game on!
I arrived early so I wouldn't be rushed and got bike ready and went to put on shoes and NO shoes!! Really!! I rode up and down the street asking other riders and Hank had an extra but size 46. I'm a 43!! All I could think about was stepping in one of the mud puddles and leaving the shoe in the mud they were that big!!! But with no other options hank gave me several pairs of socks and I was bound to make it work. When I got back to my car I remembered I had an extra pair of road shoes but they had look cleats. I decided to swap the cleats and at least I would have a pair that fit and hoped I didn't have to get off bike on the trails with road shoes!!
Start - experts/pros went off first. I put myself in the middle not knowing how fast the guys would hammer out and also knowing the first section (200 yards) has some drops you need to be able to see. We started and I was right behind Mi Ling and Kevin G, team Orange was right next to me. We started to climb and I was right with Mi Ling but I felt like I had a lot more energy so by the time we got to the middle of the first climb I powered on and created a gap. Kevin and I descended the first section really fast (very rockie/technical) and crossed the creek and the first major challenge was ahead! A really steep two part climb that I set a goal to climb all the way up!! Bam, I killed it and had a good gap still. Julie Young gave great advice about separating into segments so that you could focus on each section and not get overwhelmed by what is ahead! Also instead of how tough the climb is, just focus on good mechanics, smooth turnover. Worked great!
At the completion of the first lap I was still in the lead but she was right behind. My goal was 55 min laps and last year she did 49 and 51. I crossed at 46!!! Hell yeah!!!! We started first climb again and she was right behind me I couldn't help think that she had been toying with me the whole time. Stayed with her a while but was near my limit and concerned with toughest climb coming up that if I gave it all I had to stay with her I might not have anything left for a lot of the course that was left. I definitely was a better descender and could make up ground on her on the flatter section/technical. Kept her in my sights but around 2/3rds through I started to really cramp on left calf. The focus became making sure my foot stayed in a certain position so that it would not cramp to force me off bike! I knew we had a good size gap on the other ladies behind us but it was very disappointing knowing that I could not get out of the saddle to attack her to close the gap. I had really bad cramps at the end of the last TBF race and thought I had resolved the problem by adding more coconut water and food prior to the race. I was really well hydrated. So disappointing. I've been doing Whole30 and something must be lacking.
I was able to finish last lap and got 2nd and the final third was all about surviving crazy cramping. Entire lower body cramped on and off during warm down!! Ouch!!
Summary: challenge yourself and don't pre-set the outcome! Of course unless you see yourself winning!!!! Rode strong until cramping but still happy with training and how overall strength on bike. Shout-out to Eddie at RC for setting up my bike perfectly