Matt and I headed to Gunnison, CO on Saturday, late afternoon. Matt was planning to volunteer, since he’s still recovering from the back injury, and I was registered to race the 1/2 Growler. Last year was a not so good year for me at the Growler. I just plain sucked. This year, it was my goal to redeem myself. I was in a race against myself, to see if I could better my time from last year.
I think I had the smallest singlespeed bike at the race. 24″ wheel in back, 26″ wheel up front. The Kind Jeni is awesome!
This year’s course was run opposite from last year. Those who rode last year said it was more difficult, but worked for me. Of course, I have a knack for forgetting bad things quickly and only remembering the good. Anyway, we rolled out of town this year with a vehicle escort to pace the crowd. I didn’t start the Garmin until we actually hit the dirt at the “official” start to give me a more accurate comparison to last year’s ride that started in the dirt. My final results? 2nd place singlespeed, total time of 4:19 (4:37 from the in town start that included a vehicle escort to the dirt)! I managed to shave almost an hour off my time from last year! The even better news? I finished feeling great!
I started off mid-pack with Kera Durland, a great singlespeed endurance racer.This is a cool photo that Matt captured…2 little women on singlespeeds in a sea of tall men on gears.
Kera and I rolled out to the dirt together, chatting and taking it easy. It was a great way to get rid of the pre-race jitters! We hit the dirt and the separation on Kill Hill began immediately. I didn’t stress it and paced myself up the climb and pushed the 2nd half of it. Last year, I burned myself out on this hill trying to make the entire climb.
We got rain the middle of the 1st lap, and thank goodness Matt was kind enough to lend me his Shower’s Pass ProTech jacket. This lightweight jacket kept me warm and dry. I just had the jersey and a liner underneath. I didn’t buy one for myself, because they don’t come in my size, but after wearing Matt’s, I’m getting one anyway.
So once the rain hit, the geared riders (many of them) started flailing. Nobody, myself included sometimes, thinks to just leave the geared bike in one gear and ride it like a singlespeed when the rain comes and the mud builds up. So there were chains breaking and dropping everywhere. No problem for me!
I got to the finish feeling strong! Tired, but strong. I could have made it out on another lap. I felt I had the energy to muster that. Of course I’m glad I didn’t…Kera got nailed with heavy rain and hail on her 2nd. Course Matt says with my Shower’s Pass jacket and their Portland Cap under my helmet, I’d be just fine.
Matt has been coaching me through nutrition for a long time, and this ride, I actually was able to keep on top of it. There were enough dirt roads and singletrack sections that let me get the calories from the bottles. I opted for no Camelbak for the race. Based upon my calculations, I took in 900 calories. Probably should have done 1200 to be totally on top of things and still run strong for another lap, but just getting in 900 is a big feat for me. I hate eating/drinking on the trail.
Garmin Stats –
Total Distance: 30.34 miles
Total Time: 4:19
Total Ascent: 4337 ft
Avg. Heart Rate: 166 bpm
After the race, I rolled into the local KOA (thanks Dave) with a friend of mine, Catherine from Keystone, whom I met while out riding the race. We hosed down the muddy bikes before heading out on the road towards the ceremonial finish line in town.
After getting showered, warm, and dry, there was tons of free Fat Tire and cajun faire for eating and drinking. Ahhhhh, what a great way to end the race with all our friends! Here’s me sharing a table with Susan DeMattei, Mountain Bike Hall of Famer and Olympic Bronze Medalist. She rocked the 1/2 Growler in 3:15. Holy crap!! She and her hubby Dave, another Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, put on this race. Thanks to both of them for creating such a fun annual event!
Special thanks to my sponsors that really helped me get through this race:
Showers Pass – for keeping me dry and not cranky during the rain and mud
King Cage – for my great titanium water bottle cages that kept my bottles where they belong…on the bike, not the trail
Kenda Tires – for my Small Block Eights that shed mud fast and kept me rolling in both the wet decomposed granite and the funky, slick clay stuff at the end of the race
Ergon – those grips are awesome–no more numb hands
James Slaman – my dentist who fixed my 2 knocked out front teeth and now keeps my smile happy
Sock Guy – for those awesome red and green BWR socks