February 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

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                



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.
















                    aaron sonomas.jpg                



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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