The best part about doing a long technical self-support mountain bike ride in the desert is that I get to spend virtually every minute of daylight outside, on my bike, and in the beautiful outdoor world. I am truly lucky and appreciative to be alive, healthy, strong, motivated and in possession of a fine bike. I am also lucky to have Matt Fletcher as my partner because he is a wonderful self-taught bike mechanic and a genius when it comes to conjuring up ideas on how to make a bike self-support race ready. Oh, not to mention Matt also happens to be quite the bike rider and last Saturday proved himself to be a pretty good racer as you can see by the results here. Not bad Matt for your first “race”.
Photo taken of Matt by Tom Purvis.
My main goal for the Rim Ride was to have and stick to a nutritional plan. Believe it or not I have never controlled my nutrition in races before hence the nausea I experienced in every race last summer. It felt great to be in control of my caloric intake and even better to reap the benefits of this new found strategy. No nausea until about the 12th hour and I’m pretty sure I know why.
We started riding at 6:20am with lights. Up the bike path towards Bar M Loop we went soon to enter Rockin’ A slickrock trail. The name is appropriate as my lower back suffered immensely. I thought I was in trouble when at only hour 1 my back already felt like I had been on my bike for 10 (hours). Luckily I was able to stretch later on and take some Excedrin to help soothe the pain. On Sovereign trail I fell and broke the end off my brake lever. I thought because of the impact of the fall that my left Ergon grip would have been broken in half, but there was zero damage to speak of. The grips are awesome, I use the GC2 Grips and when I used to experience numbness in my hands pre-Ergon grips, now I only experience pain in my butt. I started to leap -frog with Brad Mullen, Adam Lisonbee, Tom Purvis and Matt Fletcher starting on the Sovereign Trail and gradually by the end at the “top” of Poison Spider it was just Brad and I.
Rather than going into all the details of the different trail segments I’ll just point out some highlights. Actually seeing Lynda during the first 5 minutes of the race was cool, she was on her SS of course but I’ll take what I can get. She is my hero. The morning sun on Poison Spider Mesa seen from Sovereign was spectacular, almost surreal. Taking an Excedrin (or 3) on Seven Mile and feeling like a new woman afterwards enabling a slow (as usual) but steady pace until the very end was life saving. Matt finishing and finishing 20 MINUTES in front of me, after feeling at mile 30 he couldn’t make it, was a great example of how if you endure the worst will pass. Seeing Josh Tostado coming up behind us on Gold Bar Rim when he started almost 3 hours after us was not only a humbling experience but testament again to what a strong and amazing athlete Josh is. Having a friend like Brad Mullen to finish such a long day on the bike with was a gift. The end of this one happened to be the hardest for me with some nausea setting in during the last hour, I couldn’t pull a strong finish together but I finished and that is always the #1 goal. On Potash Road Brad not only accompanied me to the finish but he practically pulled me in. He would actually stop and turn around to come back and ride with me when he’d get ahead. He also gave me a peppermint candy which was like gold at that point. Thank you Brad, there are not many men or women that would sacrifice a sprint to the finish to keep a tired and hurting rider company.
All in all the day was a wonderful success and adventure. I can’t stop thinking about how great it is to live on this beautiful earth and be able to see a great portion of it from the view of my handlebars. I also can’t stop thinking about the KTR!!! Moab to Loma this year is going to be pure bliss. Happy riding and thank you everyone for an awesome day.