Monday, January 18, 2016

Race Report: Solstice Chase

I'm excited about this, but you don't really have to be.

+ Solstice Chase, p/b Cycova XC, 12/19/15, St Croix Falls, WI

This race was the first in the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, and it was [hopefully] my worst race of the season.  It's already been about a month since the race took place, so the fine details are quickly fleeing my memory, but what sticks is how hard the hills were, how bumpy the course was, and how I got my butt handed to me mentally.

I ventured out to St Croix Falls solo, but pulled into the parking lot to find loads of familiar bikes and faces.  First race of the season.  So many nerves.  My teammates had also just arrived, and the brand had just finished putting up their amazing tent, changing room and all, and had fired up the propane fire pit.

Race start was a cool 10F, the coldest it had been all winter.  There was no snow, so the course was frozen and fast, albeit bumpy, and I regretted swapping from the Bluto to a rigid fork.  The women's field was stacked, and I was happy to see so many awesome ladies towing the line on fatbikes.  In addition to the usual suspects we had Jenna Rinehart, Kyia Anderson, and a lot of other riders I've only seen on paper.

The race started, and from mid-pack where I was it was pretty slow.  With so many riders and only so much space, there was a lot of adjusting forward and back depending on your speed on the course.  For a little while I could see Danielle and Jill ahead of me, but quickly they were out of my sight.  There were a few other women around me, so I had to concentrate on catching up to the ones ahead, and on trying to not let the ones behind catch up.  My start wasn't very great, so I was trying to make up time for the first hour.  I never swapped my tires, but wished I would have swapped out my 45NRTH Husker Du tires, for some Dillinger 4s because I lost a little bit of traction on some of the hills, but it wasn't too terrible.

After that, my race kind of fell apart.  I had a hard time getting the food and water that I packed, and my body wasn't used to riding more than 55 minutes, you know, coming off of cyclocross season and all.  I caught up to Jill at one point, passed, and then quickly got passed by her and then Pam Nielson.  Not too long after that I got passed by a few more in the women's field.  I didn't perk up again until I grabbed a banana at the half way point during the second lap, but still my legs were toast and the hills were tough.  Really tough.

Mentally I was checked out.  Physically?  I was checked out.  I made it across the finish line in 11th place (out of 18), and I was dead.  Like I said: it was [hopefully] my worst race of the season.  Even with all this, I was happy to see a few of my teamies on the podium!  Nice work April & Danielle!  Jill killed it too with a solid 5th place.