December 2010
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Month December 2010

a double feature weekend: sewanee cx

cx

Time for some more mud!! On Sunday, Scenic City Velo was hosting a cyclocross race up on Monteagle. Wanting to support the local club and have some fun, I made the trek over. Since I had friends staying at my house for the Lookout Mtn trail races the day before, I didn’t get an early start and have much time for a warm up. I got registered, pinned on my number, got ready to get on my bike and… where is my damn helmet? BIG oops! Huge thanks to Kym for letting me borrow her helmet.

The Women’s B race had 8 of us starting. The beginning was a short gravel road, before we veered off onto muddy grass/trail – not much time to really get into position. There was some twisty, muddy corners that moved into a series of chicanes on one of 2 hills on the course. It wasn’t until the double barriers that I was able to pull away from Grace (having a ton of fun in her first cx race ever). I tried to hold onto a few Cumberland Transit girls through the next section of mud, that ended with a hill that definitely required a dismount; however, I was having so much trouble clipping into my pedals that I lost a ton of time on the straightaways. (I had this problem at Cross-a-nooga too, but had totally forgotten to look into the issue – actually hadn’t been on my bike since then!)

The rest of the laps were pretty much the same. I did spice things up on my third lap when my rear wheel totally washed out and I went down sliding. Luckily the mud wasn’t too thick or wet there… Anyways, local collegiate cyclist Stephanie got her first cx win, with Kristi nabbing second. Great job! I finished 5th, not too bad for minimal practicing and racing the day before. I’m really looking forward to the Rome Winter series in January. The challenge with the cx races is that they are so spread out, all over GA and TN. (and TN and AL too)… it’s hard to justify driving a few hours for a 3o min race. Rome should be close enough to have some fun and not eat the whole day traveling.

a double feature weekend: Lookout 10k

10k

Saturday Dec 18th was the final date in the 2010 Rock/Creek Trail Series – the Lookout Mountain 50 mile and 10k trail races. With temperatures starting in the upper 20s and only climbing into the mid-30s at best, you were going to suffer a bit no matter what distance you chose. I’m focusing on a race in Feb (the Mt Mitchell Challenge again), so the 10k was my fun for the day.

The race started & finished at the Covenant College athletic fields. The first part of the race (map here) followed their cross country course – despite the hills, it was a pretty fast section. Then we turned onto the powerlines and the “fun” (not!) began. Powerlines just are never fun. In adventure races, it always meant thick, nearly impassable underbrush. Thankfully in a trail race there is at least a trail to follow, but big climbs (and descents) are the norm, with a service road that doubles as a creekbed during storms (watch out for deep ruts). It’s never particularly scenic either. After we followed this for awhile, the finish was near – just 2 (big) climbs left. I had kept a girl that passed me earlier within sight, hoping that she may crack a bit on the climb and I would surge past. Well, it didn’t quite play out as I imagined. Somehow that first hill energized her, and at the top she grew wings and darted through the trees. Dang. My next hope was to just hold on to my current position (top 10 I believed) and make it to the end. That last climb took everything out of me. Thanks to Robert of Wilderness Adventure Photography for capturing the pain and agony I was experiencing. As if that climb wasn’t hellacious enough, we had another 250 agonizing meters of pavement before we hit the actual finish line. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so completely done (& sick) before.

After getting into some dry clothes, racers huddled around a bonfire to keep warm until the awards. One of my friends up from Athens, GA (who didn’t decide to race until she caved to peer pressure race morning) took the overall female win with a speedy 46:29. I finished 7th, in 52:58.

That night, Carol and I swept the last section of the 50 mile race, from Lula Lake to Covenant College. (Yes, while I was staying warm and working inside, all those ultra runners will still out there running!) All the racers made it in safely, making for a great close to another race. (Yeah for no search & rescue in sub-freezing temps!)

Thanks to WildTrails and Rock/Creek for the great event!

race day gear:
Patagonia beanie
Smartwool NTS short sleeve shirt
Patagonia Capilene 1 silkweight long sleeve
Patagonia Nine Trails jacket
Lululemon Run Inspire Crop tights
Smartwool socks
Vasque Mindbender shoes
Buff
Mountain Hardwear powerstretch gloves
Ultimate Directions handheld with Banananuun!


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