Better late than never…

The last few years around this time there were always stories about how the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde was awesome and the course was super fun. I meant to do it each year and but somehow it didn’t ever happen. So this year when the opportunity popped up to race duo with teammate Jenny, I jumped in. And it was true. The course is a 16-mile rocky pump track – damn hard but super fun.

I left Ogden on Thursday evening with Mary, Taylor and Amy and we rolled in to Moab around midnight, crashing out in the middle of the desert in Mary and Taylor’s secret camp spot. I didn’t sleep much and when 7am rolled around and the tent turned into a furnace, we were up and ready to roll. After breakfast in Moab we finished the drive to Cortez, CO and arrived at the venue. I met Jenny and we did a lap of the course, confirming its fun-ness :)

We picked up registration packets and drove to Durango to NoTubes Women’s Elite Global Team Headquarters - aka, Shannon’s House. Somehow it took about four hours to shop, cook, clean bikes and eat dinner and we finally got to bed around 11. Which was NOT long enough before our 4:30am wakeup call. Good grief.

I made Jenny do the run – that whole pro-triathlete thing comes in very handy (from my perspective). I wasn’t surprised when she was the first lady on her bike (though I did feel quite smug) and the first lady in after her lap. We traded off the clothespin/baton and I headed out on my lap. I felt pretty crappy on lap one but the good news was that I felt better each lap through the day (hehe…maybe it’s because I got slower – go figure). The couse was still fun but it turned out it was A LOT harder at race pace. Why is this always such a shock? Running to my bike.

Photo credit: Dusty Powers

My new Cannondale Scalpel is a super rad bike but it fits pretty differently from the custom mini-bike I rode last year. It’s taken some time to get the fit dialed and my goal at Mesa Verde was to use each lap to fine tune and adjust to get it sorted. I made a few mental notes during my lap about adjustments I wanted to make in my off-lap, finished up and handed off to Jenny. Jenny’s second lap was even faster and after fighting sickness all week I think she was finally feeling a little better.

I felt better on lap two as well and was enjoying myself until about four miles from the finish when I clipped my pedal on a rock through a high speed section and hit the ground. Hard. I didn’t even have time to get my hands out (which is probably a good thing with my broken collarbone track-record) and my face took a good part of the impact. Got my clock-cleaned, bell-rung, etc., and had a good session of lying on the ground in the fetal position while I tried to catch the air that had been knocked out of me. Body check, bike check, scavenge for lost computer and glasses and I got going again – albeit a little more cautiously. The course was super dusty and landing on my face made for a pretty good post-crash look. Sadly (okay, not sadly), I don’t have any photographic evidence of the dust-mask.

When I got back (after the deserved heckling) I iced the bumps from my crash and got ready for lap three. There weren’t many places to eat or drink on course and I wasn’t finishing my bottle each lap so I thought I was being pretty smart by only taking half a bottle on lap #3. But the day was heating up and perhaps the previous two laps were starting to drain me because on my third lap, I had emptied my bottle by about halfway through. And I was pretty thirsty. Knowing I had one more lap to do, noticing all the ejected bottles all over the course and knowing that Jenny and I had a pretty solid lead, I did what any thirsty-and-not-caring-about-germs bike racer would do. I started looking for lost bottles on the trail. I checked a few that were empty and finally found a nearly full bottle of water. Which I drank. I did lament for a moment that it didn’t have any elete in it. But then I remembered that I was drinking from a bottle I found on the ground and that not having elete was probably the least of my worries.

Handed off to Jenny for her last lap and got ready for mine. I gave myself some caffeine and got stoked to rail one more lap. I had gotten the bike fit dialed and was super comfy. I felt the best and had the most fun on this lap but it was my slowest – go figure. Even without crashing or scavenging for hydration. The NoTubes Masters team had a rough day with a lot of bad luck but Jenny and I held on for the win in our category. Smiley and loopy post-race.

Photo credit: Kenny Wehn

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