It's not often that I can be talked into a full-fledged cross country race. Two hours of suffering just seems so...hard. Give me 100 miles, or 500 for that matter. But, the stars seemed to align with a pre-planned trip to the Front Range and the Lake Pueblo XC race, which I had raced two years prior and enjoyed, so I put on my big girl pants and saddled up for 28 miles of single track.
And in preparation for the big dance of Whiskey 50 in two weeks, I brought my single-speed with a brand new fork on it. One with suspension. My warm-up consisted of trying to relearn how to ride the bike and pulling myself out of more than one ditch after blowing corners.
The gun went off at the start and I immediately found myself in dead-last after a slightly downhill start. Having the bike geared for Crested Butte hills did not bode well for the mostly flat course and I looked dejectedly at the 100+ people I was going to have to work my way through once we hit the single track.
Sure enough, once we hit trail, I started making up ground. I worked my way through conga ling after conga line of traffic having many near encounters with the cacti dotting the course. But, once I was out on the open trail, I was flying...as long as I could spin at 100+ rpm. Did I mention I was under-geared?
The first hour of racing consisted of trying to pedal as fast as possible, knowing that the last 3 miles of the course were flat/slightly downhill, so if I came into the last bit with anyone, I wasn't really going to be able to hold on to them to the finish. The second hour consisted of holding onto the bike for dear life as the wind picked up, gusting at close to 40 mph, knocking the bike all over the trail as we navigated a twisty-turney trail along the edge of the reservoir, right above a 200 foot cliff. Team Vertigo was not happy.
After I managed to not fall off a cliff and survived the final 3 mile spin-and-tuck to the finish, I found out I had managed to win the pro/expert category. This netted me $40 with which I paid my portion of the gas bill, my portion of the camping spot, and bought myself a Chipotle Burrito Bowl on the way home. All in all, a fantastic day in the office.