"Hey, what category are you in"? I got that question 2 times during the Stampede. Amusing in one way and a total boost in another. The start for the Sister's Stampede was well executed. The Cat 3 riders went 30 minutes before the Pro and Cat 1 riders. The Pros and Cat 1 left 5 minutes before the Cat 2 men, then the Clydesdale, then the Cat 2 woman. Perfectly spread out. Since my group was last I was last! Not kidding, very last for about 5 miles. Then the hills came and I caught a couple of people. I wasn't taking my sweet time either. I was riding as fast as the synapses in my brain could take in the terrain. XC MTBer's have this perfect balance of Power, Speed and Endurance. I find their athleticism fascinating. Oh, and let's not forget Guts!
The course includes a loop that must be completed twice. By the time I arrived at the junction the pros and cat 1 riders were coming around for their second loop. Monitors held me at the junction while the first group of speedsters launched onto the trail. I quickly remounted and made my way into the loop. Just as I was getting my MTB on more pros and cat 1 riders came from behind like a freight train. I unclipped and pulled to the side and watched them go by with amazement. With incredible speed and power they took on the rocky butte like it was nothing. I realized this was just the beginning of many more pullovers. I decided to make the most of it by tucking right behind the group and trying to stay with them as long as possible. This is where I got the question about which category I was in. I could stay with them on the short climbs but the minute the terrain would flatten, become technical or head downhill they were gone before I could get my gears changed! I played this game several times and was proud I could climb so easily. Seemingly effortless. Maybe it's the 6 inches I cut off my hair J
I was really happy with my day. I rode everything, didn't fall and took more risks than I have before. I am still super slow compared to all the other riders despite the fact I felt like I was riding very fast. At some points I was doing 13+ MPH on single track that is not straight. All the trails seemed to be very curvy with a Ponderosa Pine on every corner just begging to be a bounce pad. I clearly have endurance which is no shock. After I finished I could have gone out and rode it again and most likely faster. I was completely fine. Not at all fatigued. My cardio was barely taxed. I am really banking on this being my only hope for Leadville. My ability to stay in the game.
I ran 14 miles of the course the day before while Bill, Alex and Ryan rode. It was great to watch Alex and Ryan (Alex's best bud) ride with absolutely not a care in the world. Alex jumped rocks and showed me some of his best moves. Desperately trying to teach me how it's done. The boys rode the short course (Cat 3) and had a total ball. They learned a bit about pushy people and nasty un-sportsman like attitudes. One kid told Alex to F-Off when he asked to
pass. Alex replied by passing his butt and dusting him but good. He handled it more maturely than I would for sure. Alex is too cool to wear bike shorts and his butt is paying the price but he said it was worth it because he had no intention of wearing those diaper shorts (his words). Bill had a great ride on the long course but took a bad endo onto a boulder. he's fine but beat up. He loves his new bike!
The next day I had a 10 mile run. It was a rough go. I was low on food for 2 days and felt it. I'm trying to drop a couple of lbs and my body is adjusting to having to consume some of itself. Next up is a 6 hour ride on Saturday and long run on Sunday. With only 4 weeks to go before the first Leadwoman event it's packed from here on out.