Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fatbike Frozen 40

First of all...I cannot believe how sore I am!!  The thing is, it doesn't feel like I raced the Frozen 40 last weekend...rather it feels like I got into a rock fight instead!  Please tell me I'm not alone in this department??

Our Frozen 40 weekend started out last Thursday with a trip to Brasa with Jorden, Stacy and Chelsea.  It was so much fun to welcome Jorden and Stacy to the cities and of course we couldn't turn down a post dinner stop at the Fulton taproom!  We were all so excited about the race and I just love that kind of energy!

I swear I could barely focus all day at work as I was both beaming with excitement and totally freaking out about racing my longest race in quite some time.  So much more planning goes into races beyond 3 hours when it comes to nutrition and clothing options etc.  In the end I felt I had everything dialed and was sure to get a good nights rest. 

Saturday morning came quick and soon enough I was lining up in a warm tent with a bunch of racers to pick up my number!  How cool were this years # plates!?

I managed to get in a small warm up on the course with Rob and was pleased to see that my tire pressure was just about perfect and the freshly groomed trail was in awesome condition.  It was shaping out to be a great day.  As a result of my 2nd place finish last year I was able to get a call up and a nice starting spot behind speedy LaLonde. 

I felt great right from the start and my plan was to really push the pace on the first lap (and pretty much pretend that I didn't have another 3 afterwards!).  The truth is I haven't raced more than 3 consistent hours since last years Frozen 40 so I really wasn't sure what to expect. The first lap was awesome and for the most part things flowed smoothly on the trail.  I let faster dudes get past me when I had a good spot to do so and vice versa.  I was a bit concerned about how this would sort out as this race was 99% single track, but really everyone raced with class and let those pass when it made the most sense.  I came through the 2nd lap around 2:10 and was really feeling great.....but then right as we started the 3rd lap it began to snow!

And snow, and snow, and snow.  The course conditions began to change dramatically.  I liken it to  downpour happening right in the middle of a cross country race. The course got really sloppy and I crashed hard a few times....  and then a few more times. At this point in the race I had been riding with JP from LaMere Cycles and we began discussing our tire pressure and how slippery it was.  At one point I had passed and dropped him to only have been caught by him. As he passed me on the trail our conversation went a bit like this.

JP:  Did you let any tire pressure out yet?
Me: No, did you?
JP: yes, and it's WAY better. 

Hmm.  The fact that JP passed me like I was standing still should have been a big enough sign that I should have just let air out right then and there, but NOPE!  I was being a stubborn punk and worried about wasting too much time and decided I could grunt it out....thus resulting in even more crashes and one legendary full on face plant on the final bridge. Yes, I was winning the race....but it was very far from graceful.   I was a freaking HOT MESS!

Mastering the Tripod Shuffle

I finally crawled my way out of the trail closing the 3rd lap and was super happy to see Tom in the pit!  I pulled over and he and Gabrys helped me let some air out of my tires! Thank God!!  It was life changing and I wished I had done it an hour earlier!!  I was pretty shelled on the last lap, but I was also stoked to ride clean for the most part and roll into the finish in 4:46 and 1st place female!!!

Photo Credit: Brad Boyd  www.racevista.com

Congrats to all my racing buddies, and to everyone who toed the line to challenge this beast of a race.  A big shout out to Stacy who refused to quit and finished this race in 8 hours.  Stacy - that's amazing and I am so stoked for you!!! 

Huge thanks to Brad and Ben for putting on one hell of a race! This is truly a first class event and I'm sure it will continue to be for the many years to come!!   The warm tent and burritos post race were amazing and who doesn't love a big swag raffle?  Thank you to the sponsors.  Thank you to CJ Smith and all the rest of you that volunteer your time and equipment to groom this beautiful course. We are all spoiled!!  The positive impact you have on all of our lives is immeasurable. Thank you is not enough. 

Photo credit: Brad Boyd www.racevista.com

Lastly, sure...winning races is fun.  But spending time at the races with all of our cycling friends is really what makes me fall in love with this sport over and over again. Believe it or not after 30 years I can almost say I love winter!   I can't wait for the next fat bike party at Cuyuna!

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