Thursday, November 11, 2010

Race Report - Swank!

Soooo, it's official - I survived Swank!  It had been one of those big goals that loomed out in the distance for a while, and it's slightly surreal to actually have it finished.  To be sure, for people who are serious endurance mountain bike racers, it's not that huge of a deal.  But then, how many serious endurance mountain bike racers are there??  So for the rest of us, those that like riding a bike and find the idea of a big goal appealing, it was kind of a big deal.  And I guess women must find it a bigger deal anyway, because out of the 150 registered entrants, only 7 were women.  Yep.  Seven.

So. . . the start was actually quite civilized.  A 10am start, which with the time change felt like 11, so no crazy early alarm action.  My mom (the uber-sherpa) came with me, and we carpooled in with another woman racer who I was randomly paired up with, but really liked (in one of the fortuitous turns of fate), and we all had a rather enjoyable time hanging out before the start.  Here I am right before it was time to go:

You might notice we aren't actually on our bikes.  Because it's a LeMans start - meaning you run a loop around a field before jumping on your bikes and heading out.  And theoretically this should be the one place where I would actually excel - being a runner and all.  Except that I see no reason to go sprinting like a crazy woman at the beginning of a 6 hour race, so I was pretty firmly in the back half for the beginning.

This was my first time racing with a heart rate monitor, and it was the bomb. (If you aren't used to that expression, and/or don't know my neighbor Geoffrey, I mean that phrase in the best possible way: "It was the bomb!!!")  I loved it - easy to tell when I was going too hard (e.g., climbing up Long Branch, I looked down and my heart rate was 185.  Not the bomb!! ), and also easy to tell when I was doing pretty well and was not actually going to expire regardless of how it felt (e.g., the last climb at hour 5.)  So overall I felt pretty in control, walked down Farlow Gap as planned (I have a great deal of respect for people who ride that trail, but not much desire to actually do it myself), FINALLY got my nutrition figured out (it mainly involved a LOT of Perpetuem), and finished feeling pretty good.

Here I am coming through the finish:

That pretty much says it all.  I was REALLY happy to be finished, REALLY happy to have met my time goal (I wanted to be under 6 hours, and I was 5:46), and REALLY happy to have kept myself more or less upright for the duration.

My friend Robin (my usual biking partner-in-crime) came to watch the finish, which was such a nice surprise, and took these pictures.   Here I am just after.  Again, looking quite happy just to be off the bike.

It turned out that my 5:46 was good enough for 4th place woman (out of the very slim women's field), and they actually gave prizes.  Here's the jersey I won:

Cool, right?  That's a good thing about mountain bike races - they always give out really good stuff.  Sure, sure, it's all about the personal satisfaction, but who's going to turn down really good stuff??

And here Robin and I are under the finish line.

A good day complete, a big goal accomplished, a good friend to share it with - yay!


  1. You forgot to reveal how many miles it was!!!! I think you are incredible.
    I ran 6 miles yesterday... not so impressive... hee hee but there you have it.

    Rock and Roll Sumner!

  2. Thanks guys! Andrea, It was 38 long, steep, rocky, leaf-covered miles. :) Also, I think 6 miles is pretty great!

  3. Wow! So proud of you! It's inspiring to see a friend aspire to more than just being a great mom and small business woman!