June 6, 2013
Out of all the races I've done, this one ranks among the hardest. One big loop around Lake Sonoma, almost all singletrack - only 35 miles, but they are brutal - relentless steep, loose, fairly short, punchy climbs, over and over again to the tune of 7000+ feet of climbing. Not to mention the forecast was for 100+ degrees!
We started with a 2.5 mile climb up the road to get above Lake Sonoma. It was hard and fast right off the bat - I wasn't feeling great but knew I just needed to get warmed up. I dangled off the back of the 2nd group, entering the singletrack with maybe 40 people in front of me.
Konga line funneling onto the singletrack
One we got on dirt I started to feel better. After some steep, rooty descents down to the lake, I started picking people off as lots of riders dismounted to run up some loose, steep climbs. I knew the trail well and knew I could ride all the climbs, so I just kept the pedals turning and threaded my way around about 20 people.
Still felt pretty strong as I exited the first trail section for a quick road transition to a long, fun, rolling descent down to the lake.
Not too much drama to report from here onwards - I just focused on keeping myself hydrated in the heat, not crashing, and not getting passed. Compared to last year, when I felt totally crushed and lost a lot of steam during the last 15 miles, I was having a blast and felt great all the way through. It was a race against the clock - I wanted to see how much faster I could finish than last year. Despite some mild cramping near the end, I chopped about 13 minutes off my previous time. I thought maybe I got top 10 in my category, but as I crossed the finish line, the announcer said I got 2nd!
Actually ended up getting 3rd, but got a sweet bottle of wine! Super fun, felt great, I don't think I could have gone any faster.
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