Bike race 9:36:47  100.0 mi (10.4 mph) +13473ft
SM100 take 2! Traveled down with my BFF Dee, who was volunteering and amazing enough to drive me home Sun night after the race. It was rainy all Fri/Sat in Stokesville, so I wasn't too upset that we opted for a hotel and better night's sleep. For nutrition, I planned for more Infinit with a little food supplemented. 2 50oz bladders and a bottle total Infinit, plus 2 add'l bottles. I ate less food than I ever have and didn't feel the need for more. Also 10 or 12 Sustain tablets. My only drop was at AS4, which was 57mi in and run by THE BIKE LANE.
I strategized with Simona the night before, and since I was projecting a sub9:30 finish, she said to line up at the 8hr mark. That was perfect placement, and I settled in to a hard pace for the first 10ish miles until we hit the singletrack. By the time I entered it, I had basically solidified my positioning with the women's field for the day. The main hike a bike climb was muddy and slippery, making the hike longer than last year. Conditions weren't as fast as last year but ended up being much better than people expected.
Everything felt good, Peri was dialed, and the lockout that finally works got heavy use. Swapped a bottle somewhere btwn AS1&2. Crashed twice on early descents, both times on account of guys riding poorly. The first time, the guy in front slammed on his brakes on a rock garden, I went around him cuz I couldn't stop, and he whipped his bars and threw me off. Next time, a dude passed me on a skinny then did a super man ending right in front. No getting around his bike. Stopped at 3 for a quick sandwich and bottle. Passed Laura Hamm still in AS3, putting me in 3rd. Got out to the road, my right adductor/quad got grabby in exactly the same place on the course that I started cramping last year. Oh no. Pills, food, Infinit, and thank goodness it was gone for good before I hit the singletrack. The one thing I could not catch the whole race was another rider or a group to work with. I was solo on the road the entire race after the first 15mi. Laura passed me pulling behind 2 guys while I was recovering, and I couldn't hang on without making it hurt. Let them go. The next singletrack section is my least favorite, off camber rocky with high root ledges on climbs that aren't all rideable for me. Lots of quick on and off. Finally the descent and some flattish trail to AS4 and a TBL welcoming party. Legit pit crew since I was really the only one in the AS. In and out in under 90sec with full bladder, fresh food, lube. My only real stop of the day. Simona gave me some more pointers and said that Laura and Lauren had just left about 1min ahead of me.
Time to climb. 14 road miles with no one to work with again. I figured if the gals were working together, I had little chance of catching up to them. Got a sweet beer hand up and a boost somewhere around mile 60. Just kept my head down and foot on the gas, pushing all the way to AS5. Bottle swap and on to the Killing Fields/High Meadows. Yeah they suck, and the downhill after is worse. Painful on the hands and arms! Somewhere in here, I was climbing a short steep hill, riding while the guys around me walked. Laura rode by me like I was standing still and then launched down the descent. She's a madwoman on the downhills. No question a better rider than me. But there's always next year! She said she took a wrong turn at Reddish. She left AS6 less than a min ahead of me, but I never saw her the last 12mi. One more time up Hankey, then a couple more short climbs before the downhill all the way to the campground. 9:36 was good enough for 4th place, finishing in the money! Shaved over an hour off of last year's time, and the 9:30 goal was spot on considering conditions. The year of the bike has been a good one, and I can hardly wait to see what next year brings. It was so much fun hanging with the other fast gals and some teammates after the race. Now back to AR mode for a couple months for USARA and NAARS. Plus cross is coming...