So I was feeling pretty deflated after my Barry-Roubaix DNF. Add to that 9 days off the bike (vacation, but Disney with a toddler so…) and I felt I had to do some sort of race to keep my motivation going. Enter the WEMS Greenbush Grinder! North Kettles isn’t exactly a one-day trip so I talked the husband into making a weekend of it.
My only expectations for this race were 1.) NO mechanicals if I could help it (in other words, fix existing problems before the race!) 2.) Just FINISH and 3.) NO pressure, just have fun and get back in the swing of MTB racing.
Since I only raced Palos the last two years I’ve kinda forgotten how to prep for a MTB race. Things like warm-ups, race food and hydration have completely slipped my mind.
The 3-hour race had a Le Mans start…I took it easy since the last time I did this (Relay CX) I pulled both quads within 5 feet. From there we rode up a hill to thin the group and then hit the singletrack. The Le Mans start made sense but I had no idea where the other women were…it would have been nice to start in our own wave. I didn’t pre-ride the course and kind of panicked when we hit the first rocky section (which turned out to be most of the course) …I am not a good technical rider anymore and it was tough with other racers 4″ from my wheel. I found myself apologizing to folks for slowing them down…
The first lap was all about survival and soon I found myself in a little pack of riders lead by another woman. I really wanted to pass them but there was little opportunity to do so, and I was also concerned they’d catch right up again when things got technical. So I made my move going into the second lap and passed that woman on the climb, then hustled to put some space between us. That second lap was so much more enjoyable as the crowd had thinned and I could fumble over as many baby heads as I wanted to :)Which was A LOT in case your wondering.
Finally I reached the timing table and was told I had just over an hour to complete the next lap. Hmmm…can I do it? My legs were feeling tight, I was somewhat dehydrated and those rocks were starting to tick me off. But dammit, I needed to finish this race! So thus began lap three. I was determined to make the 4pm cutoff and rode as fast/carefully as I could to make that a reality. Just as I was feeling really crummy I caught up to another woman doing the 6-hour race and we rode together for a little while. I looked at my Garmin and realized I had to hustle to make the cutoff so I pushed myself to the end. I finished with 6 minutes to spare and somehow managed to nab second place.
Looking back I think I really needed to do well in this race. I was feeling so discouraged and but now my confidence is back for most part. I don’t think any course can be as rough on the body as Greenbush so things are looking up 🙂
***Side note*** So…I think I have officially checked the Greenbush trail system off my bucket list. It’s pretty out of the way and relatively short to be a sole destination, and THOSE ROCKS SUCKED. Plus there is absolutely nothing around there. Except cows and farms, that is! I bet the road riding is pretty good though- the farm roads seem to go on forever. The WEMS races are super chill and I’d highly recommend giving one a try. No attitudes either, I think it’s because all Wisconsin folks are super nice 🙂