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This was the fourth year of testing my metal against the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek. Each year as half of a women’s duo, my partner Melissa has always been the ringer for us and I wanted to be able to pull my half of the race as strong as she could.
Originally, this race was supposed to be a tuning race for the Burn 24 in late May. As plans have changed, boxes are being packed and I realized this would be my last race in the southeast it became clear that this race mattered more to me than I originally thought.
I pre-rode the course a week before race day. The course was excellent. The rock gardens were much easier and the climbs seemed to pass with less time. All good signs.
Aligning with my coach on all workouts, making sure my legs were rested and “loaded.” Bike was safety checked and then as it rained a few days before race day, I installed my more aggressive Maxxis Ardent tires (which saved my ass first lap.)
Brap, BRAP, BRAAAP
It was my year to run first lap, which is a full lap plus some road section and singletrack in the beginning to break up the field. I did my best not to blow myself up on the road, and keep a steady pace for 3/4 of the lap. Putting in some effort on the last sections of climbing and downhill gnar rock gardens.
My partner, Melissa, was rocking a single speed and turned over a pretty fast first lap. I headed back on the trail hoping to maintain our 2nd place position. Quickly 3rd place overtook me and I never saw her until my lap was over (damn it, she was only 2 minutes a head!) Melissa held our 3rd position and we ended on the podium. I coulda/shoulda/woulda gone for a 3rd lap (5th for the team) but 2nd,4th and 5th place girls (and I) all agreed not to go out for a 5th lap. Thank god for negotiations.
• Melissa rocked a 1:16 lap on her single speed
• We were in the “money” in 3rd place and somehow I walked away with cash in hand
• My high visibility yellow shoes, and Lazer Magneto pink/yellow glasses were a big hit.
• The Foundry Broadaxe with SRAM XX1 performed flawlessly, compared to last year this was an AMAZING feeling as most of the day I was fearing some mechanical that I couldn’t fix with my multi
• First place women were 16 and 17 years old! Hopefully I’ll be able to rope one of the girls, Sophie, into a race report!
• Warrior Creek is one of my favorite trails on the east coast. The Garmin has a hard time tracking milage but Strava thinks that I rode 26.7 miles with 2,752 ft of elevation.
Thank You to the Pit Crew
The day wouldn’t have been possible without a group of amazing friends. My girlfriend flew literally around the world from Turkey to get to the race. Shelley, Syd and Allen all were great support as Melissa and I came in and out of the pits. The guys from Bicycle Sport were there for mechanic assistance (though I didn’t need it) and the guys/girls from Total Cyclist had amazing encouraging words as they kicked our asses. Finally, thank you to Taryn and Jacob who watched the dogs for us so they didn’t have to be at the races all day!
Photo Credit: Lynn Willis (I purchased a full print version too!)
A friend of mine, Jason Grantz, has been focusing on the definition of words for the past couple weeks. I’m going to utilize this idea and sum up how I feel the day after 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
broken |ˈbrōkən| past participle of break
1 having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order : a broken arm.
• rejected, defeated, or despairing : he went to his grave a broken man | a broken heart.
• sick or weakened : broken health.
• (of a relationship) ended, typically by betrayal or faithlessness : a broken marriage.
• disrupted or divided : broken families.
• (of an agreement or promise) not observed by one of the parties involved.
2 having gaps or intervals that break a continuity : a broken white line across the road.
• spoken haltingly, as if overcome by emotion : he whispered in a broken voice.
The trail was amazing, the berms were buff, the climbs had traction and even the first lap wasn’t too muddy.The temperature ended up being around 70º in Wilkesboro, NC.
The pit crew, as always, was extraordinary. Kimberlee and Shelley were always there for food, smiles and a good kick in the butt.
Our pit mates, the guys from Luna Cycles, Dale and Robbie, and of course Darby.
The weather was perfect, a bit chilly in the morning ending up around 75 in the afternoon.
The other racers, encouraging, helpful, inspiring.
My teammate, Melissa. Always smiling and optimistic. Even when my last lap took twice as long as it should and we ended in last place.
The sweet lady next to our pits that recognized me as Bike Shop Girl and even stopped as I was suffering after the race to say she enjoyed my writing.
A flat tire at mile 5 on my second lap.
Losing tons of electrolytes and only having water on my back.
Walking a ton on that second lap.
The feeling of competitors passing you and not being able to do a damn thing about it.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, wtf happened?
Somewhere between the start of lap one, and the middle of lap two my bottom bracket started to seize up. Hills that I was able to spin up in a middle gear on my cassette I was grinding up in my easiest cog. My multi-tool didn’t have a 2.5mm allen wrench on it to back out the adjustable ring on the SRAM X-9 cranks.
The feeling when you realize why you are sucking is between happiness and a stupid sick gut wrenching. Especially when you realize you can’t fix the thing. I knew I had 5 miles more to go, and most of it was up hill. It got to a point that I was simply hoping that I would get through before 5pm for my lap to count.
For the rest of the lap I pushed, grinded, walked, tried to smile and hoped the miles would tick by. My knees ached from trying to climb the hills with my cranks not spinning freely, my stomach hurt and at times I hit hyperventilation in frustration and pain.
A couple days later I feel better. My knees still hurt, and my brain is rather screwed up from the event. Who knows if I could have done something differently. Maybe check over my bike better between laps. Maybe tell PF30 bottom brackets to kiss my ass.
I feel badly for letting down my team. I feel badly about many things. At the end of the day it is only a race, but to look forward to something for a complete year and it to end this way is a horrible feeling.
For some reason Jason over at 6 Hours of Warrior Creek likes me… Regardless he has allowed me to slip you folks a secret discount code.
April 7, 2012 in Wilkesboro, NC
Registration opens October 31, 2011 at 12:01am here…Click me (but look at the code below)
The first 100 spots that use the below coupon code… get 20% off applicable registration fees!
Secret Code for Registration: HEADWATERS1
As a human I try not to stress about the small things in life, only when I am highly intoxicated do I start to worry about all the things in life that I am juggling. A few days last week I started to stress out majorly about the upcoming 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
Worries are for Pussies
And I’m a pussy. Here’s a small list of things I stressed about over the course of the week prior to the race.
- Tire selection
- Gear selection
- Lack of riding in the mountains
- Lack of gears
- Lack of suspension
- Lack of pre-riding the course
- Girlfriend would be in the pit with a broken foot, could she make it to the bathroom…up the road..?
The car was packed, we were ready and in the car by 5:45am and at the gate (7th in line) waiting by 6:45am. 10 minutes from the course there was evidence of a rainstorm with puddles of rain on the road and limbs across the shoulders. Not good, not good at all.
Quickly, my trusty pit chief Kimberlee and I setup our spot that was to be shared with my team mate Melissa, her pit chief, Shelley, their dog Darby, a teammate racing solo, Stephanie, and Namrita/Eddie from Team Ergon Racing. Oh, you can’t forget Team Dicky who pit next to us but poached some grass from our pit area.
Stephanie and I pre-rode 2 miles of the course to see how much rain was left, and to contemplate switching tires or single speed gearing. I regrettbly forgot to do many things. 1. Put toe spikes on my shoes, 2. Switch tires, 3. Switch gears.
Actual Race Recap
This could be the hardest and stupidest thing I have done on a mountain bike in a long time. The first lap, which I happened to be doing for our team, was the hardest. The course is super fun and fast when dry. Tons of berms, switch backs and as long as you stay in front of your gear..it is great fun. For the 13 mile course I probably walked 4 miles. Most switch backs were so muddy and rutted by the time I got to them, my front tire would slip through and my gearing would cause rear tire slippage. I was simply left to walk up the short up hills.
My calves screamed.
My brain was frazzled.
It was not fun, at all.
By the time my lap was finished I was so mentally beat down that you couldn’t have paid me to get back on my bike that day. I’m not ready to be racing single speed or single speed fully rigid for multi lap racing. I’m also in better shape than this time last year, but that did not show up at the mud wrestling I dealt with.
I probably wouldn’t of done anything different. You learn from every race, and I can atleast say I didn’t quit. Yeah, I could have done another lap but I didn’t. I’m looking forward to having gears and some suspension in my future thanks to Airborne.
At the end of the day we came in 3rd place for our division at 6WC, not at all thanks to me. I owe that completely to Melissa my awesome partner in crime. A podium place, swag and a cool coffee mug. It could have always been worse… I didn’t crash or break anything!