Snake Creek Gap 2017: a recap

January 7th rolled around bringing with it ice. I was ready for the race and ready to beat last year’s time. I knew by those registered that I needed to focus on ME and my time and not trying to win or get on the podium. Sometimes I get wrapped up in who is racing rather than just going faster myself. One thing I am learning this year and this past fall: I am my own competitor. I am racing myself. 44-years old is no joke, and every year I have to do more and more before it comes down to age where I cannot really compete. Because of that, I tend to work harder and harder because I am running out of time to see what I can do physically. It wouldn’t be so if more women raced, but seems like the older women get, they lose interest or have too much going on.

 

I attempted to make it to SCG the morning of the 7th. I talked myself out of it somewhere along East Brainerd Road and turned around to go home and walk home because of the ice. I settled on almond pancakes, coffee, and playing in the ice with my son. My daughter wasn’t interested in it.

So, I lost the chance of the belt buckle this year.

February 11th arrived for the 2nd SCG and the finale.

And the weather was perfect.

Ron shuttled me to the start which really helped the race nerves more than anything. Last year I was a ball of nerves. This year, I was just ready to get it over with. I have not had time to get down there to ride the course prior to the race, but I figured that was ok. It is a bit remote and a bit of a drive, and it takes a whole day to make the trip, ride it, and get home. Pretty much.

The first hour of the race, I went out pretty hot running about 90% effort. The weather was warm. I didn’t really get cold in the mid to upper 40-degree weather. I didn’t burn it on the climbs, and I certainly didn’t handle the gravel descent well and saw Jen fly past me like a bystander watching a race. I love watching other women handle fear on a descent so much. It’s an area that seems to grip me at times and at other times I am ok. need more mental training I stopped maybe 2-3 times for seconds to let someone pass or because I didn’t plan my line right, but no stupid mistakes with too much clothing or freezing drive train.

I crossed the road to SCG at 1:52. I was ahead of my time a little bit. I felt pretty energized because of it. I mean we are talking 4 minutes faster than last year, but I will take it. I am such an endurance steady rider. Kind of like the turtle that is chugging along at a pace, and if you aren’t careful, I will sneak up – kind of rider. I really want to be the rabbit, but rabbits bonk, too.

What I remember most about this race is that I had some fabulous tunes. I trusted my nutrition which I didn’t nearly consume as much as I should have which leads me to a later issue I encountered the next week after this race… fatigue, both physical and mental. I enjoyed my Trek Top Fuel so much. Doug, at Scott’s Bikes, was right when he told me how great this bike would be for me. It handles well. The tires were handling every rock well, and I cleaned some sections I have never done before. It is light and really made the ride great. I remember bombing (my version of bombing is not really bombing) down the descent before the creek crossings, and I LOVED it. Hey, I hit 22.2 mph downhill. This is PROGRESS.

Every single section after SCG seemed to pass so quickly. There was not the usual mental questions I had with where is this landmark and that landmark with the race seemingly going on forever. Places CLICKED by and mentally I was fine trucking along. I always had someone to chase, and I liked that aspect. Seems like last year I rode alone more.

The wall was a pain, but not nearly as long as last time. I wasn’t behind anyone so it was ok. Walkie walk.

After that, it was fun. I was really trying to beat a 4-hour mark, but realized soon I was on pace to do what I had said out loud, “I want to finish in 4:15 or less.”

So I had to at LEAST do that.

And soon I was out in the open and was ready for the last descent that used to be the part I dreaded… and I flew like the WIND!

Just went almost 40 mph down Dug Gap. He was drafting earlier 😉
I passed some dude on a bike who looked pretty fit, and afterward, he told me he drafted off of me and had to pedal to hang on. Who knew this fearful downhill girl could hit almost 40 mph on a mountain bike paved downhill descent?

I did!!

Need to tackle the mountain switchback downhill on a road bike next.

Snake Creek Gap Finale:

1 154 2 04:54:54 Hamlin Katie 34 Women 29 and Under -34 Mile Sorella Cycling
2 294 2 04:58:32 Russell Molly 34 Women 29 and Under -34 Mile Spindle
3 187 2 05:15:32 Mohn Megan 34 Women 29 and Under -34 Mile
4 123 2 DNF Cornett Kayse 34 Women 29 and Under -34 Mile Union College
1 198 2 03:37:39 Nielson Jen 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile SouthPaw Cycles / Liv
2 245 2 04:14:26 Childre Angie 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Childre Nissan
3 279 2 04:15:52 Lofgren Beth 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Scott’s Bicycle Centre
4 222 2 04:21:23 Snyder Amy 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Motion Makers Bike Shop
5 300 2 04:31:15 Simpson Loretta 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Traxxion Dynamics
6 276 2 04:38:04 Braddock Jennifer 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile
7 261 2 04:40:53 Cross Kim 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Sorella Cycling p/b Hincapie Sportswear
8 190 2 04:51:46 Morrow Mary 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Steel City She
9 278 2 05:22:34 Isaac Mary 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile SCO/BIKE ZO
10 257 2 05:22:38 Barry Beth 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Taco Mamacita
11 164 2 05:38:08 Jackson Eden 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile
1 220 2 03:59:14 Sickler Mary 34 Women SingleSpeed – 34 Mile GearONE
2 272 2 05:22:29 Ragland Grace 34 Women SingleSpeed – 34 Mile Teva Neuroscience

4th overall female in the 34 mile

3rd place in women 30 and over