I woke up with my head pounding and I couldn’t turn my head more than 20% either direction. It was early enough, the sun had barely risen. I had four events to compete in throughout the day, I had to get everything together, including my bike and all of my biking kit. I loaded into the Dagger truck to get to the top of Gore creek for a super painful downriver race, on class 2, that lasts about 20 minutes. 19 of those minutes, you can’t feel your hands. I was also lucky enough to paddle the ever elusive carbon Phantom…
Despite almost vomiting my breakfast at least three times, I got third, and couldn't feel my fingers. I quickly changed into my biking kit and met up with the Staffords (my support family for the next two days). I got some water in me and a little bit of food then headed straight to the starting line of the Cross Country Mountain Bike Race.
I entered into the Elite division despite never doing a XC Mtb race. This race was going to be the pinnacle of my weekend. I immediately felt out of place at the starting line. Everyone was wearing clip pedals and spandex. I had flat shoes and baggy shorts on, with an Osprey pack. As soon as the race started, I was passed in a cloud of dust like I was standing still on my bike.
I have never, in my life, felt so beat down while riding a bike. Going up the Vail mountain, starting at 7200 feet going up 2000 feet of elevation before going down some steep-ish trails through aspen groves. I knew I was in contention for literally, dead last place. As I passed the line to start on my second lap, I realized it had taken me over an hour to do my first lap. This race was going to be way longer than I thought. I ended up having to walk up some stuff, even on the road, on my second lap.
The sun was beating down on me and I was physically crashing, hard. I just kept one foot (pedal) going in front of the other. I felt like I was melting and was trying so hard to control my breath. At one point, I was going so slow, one of the support staff walked up behind me and pushed me for like five feet. I finally made it to the top and knew going down was going to be just as hard. I really didn’t want to crash my bike so I was concentrating hard.
Every muscle in my body was telling me I needed food and I was starting to feel pretty worn down. I was also getting passed by the pros at this point (they were doing three laps), that added to my stress of not going fast. I came down a steep section and then a nice straight away. I let my guard down for one second and I suddenly was catapulting over my handlebars straight off of the trail and into some prickly bushes. My bluetooth headset went quiet and I laid in the bushes on my back, trying to regain myself. I sat up, took my backpack off, and ate a snack. Meanwhile, all the pro men were passing me (not even noticing the small woman in the bushes).
I got up after a few minutes and got back onto the bike, super apprehensive now but at least I had some fuel in me. I finished the race in 10th place, there were two other women behind me. One who didn’t finish due to a crash and the other who only did one lap.
The Staffords met me at the finish line and I tried to eat some food but I wasn’t feeling super good. I had definately screwed my body by not feeding it correctly and I was feeling the consequences. My neck was also not feeling the best. I choked down a quarter of a burrito and got ready for the family mud run with the four of them. It was a fun course with a water slide at the end.
Despite having done the downriver sprint, the XC Mtb race, and the family mud run, I still had to compete in the freestyle finals at the end of the day. To say the least, I did not compete my best. I couldn't stay in the hole and I really didn't want to hit my head again. I was seeing stars almost the whole competition and I had absolutely no energy left. I, somehow, got 4th place and finished the day so ragged out. I had one more day but Saturday (the hardest day) was over and I was still alive, for now.
UMC Points at the end of Saturday:
- Downriver Kayak Sprint: 2 points
- XC Mtb Race: 7 points
- Family Mud Run: 1 point
- Freestyle Kayak: 4 points
Total: 27 points