It was damp and foggy when we arrived around 7:30 or so. Signed in and started race prep. There were quite a few people I know that went. Of course there were more that were going to go and didn't due to the forecast, yadayada It had rained overnight, but only lightly. I took some pictures and cheered friends on and was in the feed zone for my teammate. There were only 4 Cat 1 women, two I know personally and 2 from PA and NC. My friends came in 1st and 3rd. The Cat 1 race (both genders) was 3 laps. Listed at 9 miles the laps were more like 8.1 according to my Garmin. But still I admire everyone that raced 24 miles on Sunday. Brian had a very good race. I spent his third lap prepping my bike and myself. I had about an hour between his finish and my race. Rode the beginning of the course, through the rock garden and then when I got back to the van realized I had been in my big ring for that. Such an AirHead! haha Every CX or XC race I've done I always go for the holeshot. Not Sunday. Big Mistake! Several of the Cat 2 women in front of me got off their bikes at the rocks. UGH so frustrating. But it was my own fault. I was running 5 or 6 and caught a wheel and stayed with her for most of the first lap. It started pouring rain at some point. I mean bone soaking. But it was good because it kept the mud from sticking to the tires. KK passed me not far past the rock garden. Then the top JR boy passed us. But with about 2 miles to the finish the first of the Cat 3 men started passing me. That slowed me down more than I wanted. I got to the end of the first lap and stopped long enough to catch my 2nd wind, get nutrition from Brian and started back out. I was slower than I hoped for at 1:15 ish. The 2nd lap I was alone the entire 8 miles. I never saw a single racer, only the volunteers. They started packing up when they saw me. They thought I was the last one, but I wasn't. It stopped raining and the sun tried to come out a few times and the wind picked up. This meant the mud started getting drier and stickier. Well I fell once on the first lap, but can't tell you where. On the 2nd lap, I was so happy. I rode all but one short part of the rock garden. Proper gearing and no traffic made it easy! haha After the rock garden there is some twisty stuff then a drop into a muddy runout . I bombed it just like the first lap but once I hit the runout my tires slid out and I landed on my left side and hit my head. Immediately got up and started again. I got slower. The mud got thicker and deeper. The last three miles is more climby but there were places that I couldn't get any traction and just spun out. I could hardly walk up some places. Wish I'd had toe spikes. With 2 miles to go I just prayed for the next mile marker. haha it's those little goals that keep you going. I finished. I was 7th of 10 or 11 that started. It took me 3 hours to ride 16 miles. CRAZY! But it's done Glad I did it. Proud of those that raced 24. I'm so grateful Brian was there at the finish. Most people had left, except for the Cat2 women and their entourages. He was so very helpful. He got the back of the van cleaned out so I had someplace to strip and dry off and change. He cleaned my bike and then drove us home.
I have plenty of work to do on my fitness and bike handling. It's only March, right? Also have a lot to learn about my nutrition. I shivered for an hour or so after changing. But I wasn't cold. I think I was bonking. I was very tired, I know that.
Here's what I looked like at end of the race.
Chickasaw is an AMBC race and is a qualifier for USAC XC Mountain Bike Nationals in July at Bear Creek Resort in PA. I'm so excited to travel to new places and ride new trails!
Hopefully, there is more to come.
I had a great weekend. Hope you did too!