Yep, I survived. You'll have to bear with me and my horrible typing, I'm not back up to 100%.
The Damsels in De-streSS did well. We won our catagory, in fact the competition was so scared they didn't even show up! OK, truth be known, we were the only women crazy enough to do a duo team. But that's OK we weren't out to be hardcore and compete, we wanted to have fun and see what we could do on our singlespeeds. The fact that there weren't any other teams in our catagory just solidified why we were there. ALthough, we did decide to see if we could beat at least one of the other females teams of four or six.
We broke up the 18 hours in a reasonable way. The race started at midnight, giving us 6 hours of nightriding, so I took the first 3 hours and she took the second three hours. Then we switched off every 2 hours.
Before the race we tried to nap and eat, but I was pretty unsuccessful with either objective. Anne saw me off at the starting line after we did a little victory dance (hey, we had this one in the bag, no one else was in our class!).
The race began with a cyclocross start, meaning I had to run. I used to run a lot, but my legs have forgotten how and the even the short 30 yard sprint sent my lungs and legs into rebellion. "What a wuss!" I thought. I hopped on the bike and began to pedal, letting most of the other racers pass me, knowing they were all leaving the gate wicked fast and I wasn't about to blow myself up. Well, I got sucked into it and started increasing my speed a bit more and more, letting my legs and lungs burn. I was working hard and cruising of the fast singletrack when I heard "CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!" I knew exactly what it was, it happened the night that we prerode the course earlier in the week. My battery for the headlight had fallen off and was hanging by the cord, banging against my bike frame. I stopped and wrapped it back up in the velcro strap. During that time a few racers passed me then I hopped back on and got going again. I made it throught the rest of that lap without incident but the second lap had the familiar noise again. Again I stopped and fixed the strap and again it came undone. I tried one last time to fix the strap that lap but it just wouldn't stay, so I wrapped the cord around the frame and kept going. I would occassionally unravel and I would have to reach down and wrap it up again, but I could do this without stopping. I think it was during the third lap that I witnessed the brutal murder of a poor little gerbil/kangaroo rat thing. The guy ahead of me ran it over. Poor thing, I would see the body each following lap. Shortly after the murder my chain came off and I had to stop to put it back on. By the end of lap four I was pretty beat, but I wanted to get in 2 more during my 3 hour shift. I ended up only getting in 5 laps, as Anne was waiting for me at 2:45.
I crawled back into the sleeping bag and shivered to sleep.
At 5:20 the alarm went off and I had to make myself eat a bannana and put my clothes on and be at the exchange area at 5:45. I felt horrid riding to the starting line and my stomach wanted to eject all of its contents. I met Anne as she came through the start finish and told her that I might only make 3 laps in my two hour shift. I was well aware that 4 laps was my goal, but I didn't know if I had it in me. About one mile into the ride I felt much better and stronger. On the far side of the course there were some horrific cowprints and I think that some evil bovine fairies added more while I was sleeping. At least I could see the enemy in the light and try to take a less bumpy line. The second lap seemed to just fly under my wheels and before I knew it I was on my fourth lap. I had made the goal!
My 10:00 to 12:00 shift was pretty uneventful. Everything went smoothly and my legs still felt pretty good; too bad my shoulders felt like they were going to blow up. During the last hill climb on my last lap of that shift the crew (OTE and friends) were sitting on the couch (yes, they pulled a couch out onto the course) and told me I had a chocolate malt waiting for me. I told them not to tease me like that but they assured me it was true and that Mynette had brought me the malt. With the thought of the malt I stepped it up a notch and sped to the finish line. A chocolate malt never tasted so good! Thanks Myn!
At the end of Anne's 12:00-2:00 shift she said she was hurting and wasn't sure if she could put in another four laps next time out. I pondered that as I left for my 2:00-4:00 shift. My legs were compaining a bit, but by the time I warmed up I knew that I was going to get in four laps again. I made sure that I left enough time for Anne to get in four laps. I knew she would, she's tough and determined. And she did.
We ended up beating all of the other women's teams except for the 6 person college racing team (I'm probably twice as old as their freshmen members). I rode 88.4 miles in my 9 hours and Anne rode 93.6 miles in her 9 hours (she made 6 laps during her night shift). Our combined laps were 35 for a total of 182 miles.
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