Pierre’s Hole

The quick weekend jaunt over to Grand Targhee for the Pierre’s Hole MTB race was great.  We rolled into town on Friday evening just in time for the racer meeting.  After that, we had dinner, drove up to Grand Targhee, set up the EZ Up and our tents, and went to bed.

My head cold that I’d been feeling for a couple of days proceeded to get much worse, keeping me up all night on Friday night.  When 5 a.m. rolled around and Mike & Kerry were waking up to get ready for the 6 a.m. start, I decided that there was no way that I could ride 100 miles having not slept and feeling like my sinuses were going to explode.

At that point, Rebecca managed to find a Sudafed, which I gladly gulped down.  About 20 minutes later, my sinuses had cleared enough for me to breath and I fell asleep for a bit.

I woke up at 8 a.m. and decided that I would try the 50 mile race instead.  I didn’t anticipate actually finishing the 50, but I figured I would at least be able to do one lap (25 miles) and then make the decision about doing a second lap.

I lined up for the start feeling quite dizzy and nauseous and thinking that I might just puke during the prologue lap and get it all over with.  Instead, I managed to stay with the lead group through the prologue and felt somewhat surreal.  It didn’t feel like I was putting in a hard effort and it felt like my eyes were simply observing the rest of my body, which was on ‘autopilot’.  There were no conscious thoughts going through my mind.  I was not thinking, my body was just riding the bike by itself.  Personally, I think it was all the work of the Deus, who was out for her first race and was going to give it all she had whether I was down with that idea or not….

I did manage to ‘eject’ (from the bike) one of my bottles during the prologue and, unfortunately, it was the bottle that had all of my calories in it for the next 2 hours.  So, I stopped at the aid station after the prologue and picked up another bottle before heading out for the first full lap.  Doing this allowed almost everyone to pass me.  I decided that this was a good thing because it would take away the pressure of staying with the lead group and allow me to ride at my own pace and not worry about the ‘race’ going on at the front.

The course consisted of a 25 mile lap that had somewhere around 4,000 ft. of climbing per lap.  The descending was all on single or double track and half of the climbing was on a nice consistent pavement grade.  All in all, it was pretty civilized.  The gear I was running (32×18) was a bit on the tall side of what might be comfortable, but I was able to keep it rolling and only had to hop off to run up a couple of short sections.  Despite what I anticipated, and polar opposite from what I usually experience, I ended up enjoying the climbs more than the descents.  My reaction time was slow and it was difficult for me to descend as aggressively as I normally do.  On the flip side, the climbing was where I could grind away and not worry about the consequences (other than ‘blowing up’).

In the end, I crossed the line in just under 5 hours and took 2nd place in the ‘one gear, no brain’ category.  During the race, I had no idea that I had moved up into second place.  I knew I had passed a few guys, but thought there were at least 3-4 still in front of me.  I was 6 minutes behind the winner and, in a way, I’m glad that I didn’t know that.  If I had known, I would’ve chased.  If I had chased, I would’ve probably imploded somewhere along the way.  As it turns out, I’m pretty happy with 2nd.

After the race, Andy and Troy pulled together a well organized award ceremony along with a pasta feed for all of the racers.  These guys have put together a great event.  In it’s second year, this event has grown quite a bit and will, I’m sure, continue to grow into the future.  Great course markings, quick and accurate results, great aid stations, fun and challenging course…..these are all things that seem small from the outside, but that are crucial from a racer’s perspective.  I’m already looking forward to going back next year, especially since I won a free entry!

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~ by ketchumgreg on August 25, 2010.

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