This is a little late being the race was the end of April. Sorry!
I had heard good things about this race and that it was definitely one I should do. As it got closer I actually debated whether we should actually go up there this time. Well, we did decide to go and camp (rain and all) and a have a fun family adventure. So glad we did!
Got up and ready and made it over to the other side of the lake where it was much colder with winds at the race start! It was chilly and then I realized I didn't even bring my arm warmers! I knew I probably wouldn't need them once going, but before the race I was downright cold. Also, we somehow managed to be running a little late even though I thought we had plenty of time. Mostly because of the racer meeting 30 minutes before start. Anyway, I didn't get much of a warmup and just got over onto the massive start. Kind of crazy, I didn't hear anybody saying anything just some clicking pedals in the front and the whole pack started going. I guess that is how we roll here!
I really didn't know much of anything of the course except that we started with a long climb and there was going to be another big climb later with a bunch of fun singletrack in between! We started the climb and teammate, Craig, told me to settle in because it went for a ways. I took his advice and got into a good climbing pace. I knew there was at least a couple girls up ahead, one I recognized from Big Sandy and another that passed and was climbing just in front of me. Soon we came down and raced on the road across the damn and onto the first singletrack, this is where it got fun! I passed the girl that was right in front of me off that first single track and then heard reports that I was the second female. I soon caught Tracie and passed around mile 9 when she bobbled and had to come off on a climb. This was right before a fun flume section of the course where my new 27.5s really shine. I was able to put in a little gap there! I love the speedy acceleration of the my Liv/giant Obsess 27.5 in the corners and punchy climbs! Somewhere along the way, a guy I passed told me there was one more girl up ahead. I was confused but figured I needed to catch her if he was right. So I kept pushing. I have to say all the guys I was riding by were great gentlemen, even calling up to the others to let the lead female through. I have to note this because that is not always the case when passing men. Soon, the one who told me there was another girl caught me again and informed me that he gave me bad information, it was actually a guy and I already passed him :)
Then we hit the really long climb. Not knowing the course, I had no idea how long this went. I was good for a long ways pushing a good pace and then it just kept going and then finally got steeper with dry pine needles and we had to come off. I wasn't sure I wanted to use these different muscles! Soon, though we finally finished and were rewarded with a great trail that descended through the forest. There were some great little sections of trail through the end of the race.
I crossed the line as the first female by over 3 minutes. I really enjoyed the course even though I had very little idea what to expect. The race experience was made even better by an awesome post race meal, huge burritos! We made our family kid swap and Ashlyn and I hung out for burritos and awards while Drew headed out to try and ride at least some of the course!
We finished out the weekend enjoying the afternoon at our campsite and one more night of camping. Ashlyn worked her bike skills a bit too.
I am definitely glad we didn't miss out on this one. That was some great riding and the rain the day before made the track perfect!