This race. I was on the fence but the week before had a lot of miserable rain in the forecast and the next weekend was hinting toward absolute perfect tacky trails and sweet racing on trails not usually open to the public. How could I refuse? As the days approached to the race, it was obvious I were staring straight into yet ANOTHER rainy race of misery. As usual, I had my “glass-half-full glasses” on, and as usual I was wrong. The rain was there and not just moving in and out but swirling like a mini small hurricane not leaving the area until I had left Lookout Mountain myself.
2015 will forever be dubbed the year of the muddy races.
I arrived early as usual and went through my usual pre-race checklist. Tire pressure – ran about 22 in front and 23-24 in back. I almost forgot to put on my small camelback but in the end the only kink was linking up my garmin cadence sensor to the 510 edge. Lost that data, but that’s ok.
We started, and I ditched the glasses fairly early. The mud flap was a Godsend. I may just leave it on my bike since I seem to be magnet to muddy races. We rode the five miles on pavement, and I didn’t have that usual feeling of speed. I felt tired and lame. A friend of mine in Velo Vixens was on a fat tire with her boyfriend, and after another Velo Vixen, Melanie, past me again, I settled into the pace I had going. I past two ladies during the whole race. There were not many of us – only 10 women.
During the race I learned some lessons.
- Just because the elevation profile is less than another race doesn’t mean the race will be easier. Maybe it was the horrible conditions? Maybe the climbs were steeper. It was harder than I thought. Training Peaks agreed and assigned it a harder ranking than Fool’s Gold 50.
- This race has a ton of climbing after mile 35 when the legs are already fatigued. Torture. I walked. I prayed. I contemplated phoning a friend to send a lifeline.
- Crossing the river (maybe it’s a creek normally?) freaked me out. I wasn’t prepared for it as no one had mentioned it and hadn’t seen an online write-up about it. Thank goodness for ziplock bags or the phone would have been ruined. The bike is a mess, I will say.
- Red thick clay mud is no fun.
- Lula Lake has some beautiful land. I’m thankful they allowed us to ride on it the one day out of the year.
- I did better on nutrition this time. I had 5 bottles with two scoops infinit each. I think increasing my water in real life is working.
- A rear mud flap isn’t a bad idea.
- Melanie is amazing on a SS.
- I had wanted a sub 5.5 hours but I will take my 5:56:30. Fourth place.
So overall I was ok with the race. It was hard, and I didn’t feel 100% healthy with an upper respiratory infection going on. Next year hoping for perfect conditions since the last two years were muddy.