I have become a big fan of St George, Utah. The area is stunning, the city accessible and child friendly, great swimming pools, bike paths, reasonably priced accommodation and exceptional mountain biking.
The True Grit mountain bike events showcase some of the great desert riding close to town. I signed up for the 50 and drove down to St George with my baby Jade to do the race.
Travelling with just the two of us offered some logistics. I had been recommended a daycare by the race organizer Cimmaron. I had visited the daycare in January and pre registered Jade for drop off. By chance the motel I booked was located three blocks from the daycare and it had a kitchen suite which was a huge bonus (baby breakfast mixed from the coffee ‘hot’ water at the Motel 6 on the way had been a subpar solution). Yoghurt instead!
We arrived to St George on Friday. I dropped Jade at the daycare for a trail run, drove out to the course and met with Jen’s of our Durango masters No Tubes team to put a pair of Valor carbon wheels on my bike. OH MY – riding carbon wheels felt stiff, cush and responsive at the same time! The combination of the new wheels and the race tune up from Dan Crean of Double shot cyclery in Gunnison had my Scalpel feeling like a race ready bike.
On race day I had the same routine, drop Jade at the daycare and drive out to the race. I was thankful for the laid back 9am start time. I got to the venue a little after seven, with loads of time to do some yoga, drop my feed bags, get dressed, chat to fellow racers, and warm up.
Rolling to the start I felt really happy and chill and ready to race. The Gun went off and we set off. Yes. My legs felt good, success. I relaxed – this was going to be a good day.
I rode in second behind my teammate Kathy, watching her and happy with where I was. Ten miles in climbing a wash, I picked off two of the men between us. Yeah, I thought, I’m warming up. This is good.
Then I miss shifted. Odd. It happened again. Had Dan put new cables on my bike? He hadn’t said anything. I dismissed it. Descended a road, turned into another wash climb and realized my bike would only shift to the mid range on the cassette. Climbing a big gear I thought about ‘what’s up’. I looked back and saw that the rear derailleur cable was intact. Hmm, must have banged the rear derailleur , weird, I hadn’t noticed an incident. Well, I’ll stop at the aid station, this is going to be interesting, doing this race in these big gears.
Soon after my chain jammed. OH. The rear derailleur cage had snapped. OH. SAD. OH. I stood on the side of the trail for a bit, well. I guess I’m walking back.
I walked to the aid station and cheered for Kathy. OF NOTE She went on to finish 11th Overall!!!!
I walked back to the start/finish too. I thought about what a success the day was for me too. Jade is still waking up about 4 x an average night, wanting to nurse. I’d like to change her habit, as its now been 9.5 months since I’ve slept for more than 4 ish hours uninterrupted. I want to be a good mum too and it can be a challenge balancing my roles of mother, wife, coach and athlete.
I was proud of myself and encouraged by how good the race prep and race day experience had been.
Later I thought about the irony of the cage breaking. My bike had seen mechanical love and care over the previous week. It traveled to the event inside my vehicle. Then I thought about how when I rolled up to the start it had made an odd noise that I’d noticed and I’d thought, wonder if my cassette is still tight ( we’d changed it the day before) then I had dismissed it. Oh well. Good thing I bought my running shoes and Jade’s stroller for Sunday.