The last two OTH races have been tough. To mix things up a bit, the race director(s) have decided to run the course in reverse AND add an extra half lap. The original course is pretty challenging, but not too bad. This REVERSE course is crazy challenging, not just because it’s a a couple miles longer, but because the climbs are just harder. It’s a seemingly faster course (as in I pushed myself a to go a little harder, a little faster), but it’s not forgiving and doesn’t give you many breaks.
Let’s take the first half, for example. Where there’s a steep climb, there isn’t a nice downhill afterwards to help you recover. There’s just another (less steep) climb, a little flat, and then a little more climbing. The hardest climb of the course is in this first half, and is usually a hike-a-bike section for most riders. I FINALLY made it up the third go-round and I was SO PROUD of myself!!! After this series of climbs, you get to the downhill, which isn’t too steep, but is super gravel-ly (which is scary in itself). You pick up a bit of speed, but then need to slow down so you don’t wipe out on a sharp turn. Hence, you lose a lot of the speed that you built up on the downhill.
The second half (across the bridge) is A LOT of fun in reverse and a lot faster than the original direction. However, there are some areas of bottlenecks (slows down somewhat unnecessarily in the singletrack section through the cottonwoods) and the trail is very SOFT. I was slipping and sliding all over the place, and having a hard time keeping tracking on the short climbs. Doesn’t help when the person in front of me is also slowing down on the climb and there’s no room to pass.
Coming off the marathon a couple days before race #3, I didn’t think I would do that well. However, some adrenaline must have kicked in or something, because I was trying my hardest to stay near the front. Came in fourth, just 26 seconds behind Elise. Here are some select pictures from that race:
I was hoping to do a bit better for race #4, but Tuesday came around and I just wasn’t feeling it. Elise was coming off the Ironman 70.3 Boise (NUTS!!), but that girl is FAST. I was ahead most of the race, but she passed me during the second half of the second lap and stayed ahead of me the entire time. I was came in second 1 minute behind her, tired as all get out. Here are some shots from that race:
Before the race kicked off, there was a kids fun race for the 10-and-under riders. Just a short lap: through the boat yard, take the singletrack through the cotton woods, a little riding along the lake, then across the bridge to the finish. There were three kids at the end that were sprinting it out and giving it there all to finish first, one of them was an adorable 6-year-old all decked out in his Team Velosport/Sho-Air kit.
Two more races for this first half of the series, and then a three week break before the last 6 races close out the season. I’m looking forward to the break and riding where there isn’t as much dust. Need to work on that endurance and the climbing legs.
Here’s the gallery (although it’s the pictures are mostly the ones I’ve already posted):
Oh.. as an unrelated aside.. I just signed up for the Silverman Half Iron-Distance Triathlon in Henderson, NV in November. It’s only a few miles away from the Vegas Strip. So, if anyone is interested in coming out to watch me race and then a weekend in Vegas, let me know. It’ll be FUN FUN FUN!!