Yep – I predicted it on the Whistler Bike site that it would be the hardest race I would ever do. And I was so right.
Last Saturday, I lined up with 180+ other women to open my morning up with a vicious hot lap down Crank It Up, only to be followed up with an afternoon in 30 degree heat on Whistler’s West Side trails. It felt like I went into a vortex one day of not being registered for this event and I woke up on the other side registered and struggling through Danimal. Seriously – why did I say I would do this thing?!
Crank It Up was ok – I don’t think I could have done much else in my run than what I did. I was certainly taxed by the end and I made fewer mistakes than I did in my 2nd place showing at the last Phat Wednesday on the same trail. This time we rode all the way down to Heart of Darkness, and I know from experience that I can be really fast on that section- my run felt pretty clean. Honestly, I’m not sure what else I could have done to be faster – I rode my Vixa (with my “bike park conversion kit” on it – Maxxis Minions, 40 mm stem, my Aurum’s front wheel and DX pedals instead of XTR) and pedaled my ass off. I’m more impressed by Kathy Pruitt than ever – I think after the last Phat Wednesday she wasn’t pumped with her 3rd place so she got her clips out and pedaled World Championships style – and won the DH portion (and the overall in the end!), which is pretty mind blowing, if you ask me. She also beat me by enough of a margin on CIU that I wonder if I should have even pedaled more (is that possible?). I guess 2+ seconds is relative to the fact that the course was 6 and a half minutes long for us. Phew. Strand was 3rd and she said it was hard too…
I felt sick all day (especially after maxing out in CIU) and was sure it was a nerve thing so I tried to be super sensible with eating before the XC stage. I ended up accidentally putting myself in front of the pack at the start of the race and was horribly ill pretty much right into the first climb. I guess it was just one of those days when most of us would have been happy to call it a day – but I couldn’t. I thought if I fought through it for the first 3o mins I’d start feeling better but I started trainwrecking super hard the longer I went – water didn’t help and supplements were out of the question. I had to stop at the second climb to try and pull myself together – at that point I was ready to fall over and was cramping everywhere so pedaling was becoming impossible. 99er was exactly the gong show I expected (people flailing everywhere), Middle Danimal was absolute torture under the circumstances and when I got to Dylan Wolsky and Todd Hellinga the first time at Sproatt I was ready to pass out. I figured into Danimal South I’d get myself together but the illness got worse and I was flailing harder. I was just about to deek out and head home at the bottom of THC before the climb started again when I found Gunner right at the final climb and he wouldn’t hear it. So I kept going…READ MORE!