Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dawn 'til Dusk Recap

Last Saturday began the first race of the season for Brett and I who traveled the nine hours to Gallup, New Mexico for the Dawn 'til Dusk, a 12 hour solo race.  For the week leading up to the event, the weather forecast grew increasingly more intimidating but at the same time, hilarious. Fortunately, I typically appreciate training in the challenges of battling the elements.  If you're going to race in it, you better train in it!

Like other racers can imagine, I was hyper as hell once arriving to the first race of the season.  Brett and I scoped out the course which was absolutely gorgeous comprised of nearly 100% singletrack, beautiful rock formations, punchy climbs, some technical and sketchy sections, and descents that never got stale. Even after eight laps, not a single section of the course lost its flavor.

The race began brilliantly in great weather with a dirt road section that lasted for a few miles to string out riders and avoid bottlenecking at the singletrack entry.  I spent lap 1 and 2 assessing how my legs were feeling and tried to find my rhythm. Lap 3 is when the lovely and promised weather began showing itself on 20+ degree climbs with punchy winds that were so strong that I had been pushed off the trail and into rock wall formations on several occasions.  By Lap 5, the sun was shining and along with some serious winds, the moisture on the trails evaporated while riders packed down the soil composed of clay.  This made for some seriously fast laps until Lap 7 began.  I remember undressing down to a jersey, arm, and knee warmers since the precipitation looked like it would subside for a bit.  The next thing I know, it starts snowing. Upon lapping through, the race organizers announced to riders that the race was cut to ten hours.  My 8th and final lap was a bit tricky since the clay was full of moisture and therefore would either stick to your frame and tires or would act as a slippery surface like a skating rink. Good thing the race organizers made the call when they did! I was bummed at first about the news of a shortened race since I was pacing very well for the anticipated twelve hours, but due to safety concerns, it had to be done.

In the end, I finished in 4th place out of all 76 geared riders and 2nd in my age category.  Not a bad way to start the season!

Supposedly, a few riders suffered from hypothermic conditions and here I am riding the last two laps with a single jersey layer.  Still very focused on the seventh lap and wanting more.


I never realized how cold I was until I ultimately crossed the finish line.

Ah yes, the tempermental weather conditions.  Too bad my Garmin doesn't measure the 40+ mph wind gusts, rainfall, and snowfall.

Hmmm....What's in the bottles you ask? Carborocket Half Evil 333, maybe? : )  I almost feel like I'm cheating.

Showing the guns.  I swear this gas station is the inspiration for The Villa level on Call of Duty.

Yes, the trails were this gorgeous on every section of the course.

My very own Navajo Kachina doll for 2nd place in my age category.

Brett and I not so serious about our course recon...
...but very serious about our well deserved post ride pizza. 

Thanks Lindsay and company for organizing a helluva race and making the most important decision of the event when it was most necessary! See you next year!

See you on the trails,