I’m not sure what I was expecting at the Crested Butte 40 but I knew I needed to start slow and not get caught up in the sprint off the start line. For the first time in my life, I climbed the first switchbacks in last place but actually had passed a few girls by the time we hit the first descent. I had been worried about the Cat 1 men catching me in the first miles but I managed to stay in front of them until the technical riding and continued with them for the first 9 miles. And that’s when I felt like I’d been racing for 50 miles and could barely make it up the next road climb. As much as I wanted to quit, I suffered on at a ridiculously slow pace until the first aid station at mile 19. After a few jokes and some great support from Ian, Alissa and Juniper I began catching people (men and women) on the long road climb up to Deer Creek. By the time we hit the hike-a-bike, I was feeling decent and put my adventure racing suffering skills to work and began to pick up the pace. The final climb up Mt. Crested Butte was still brutal, but I managed to not let anyone pass me and continued to catch a bunch of people that had blown by me early in the race. As horrible as I felt, it was nice to finish strong and know that I have maintained some endurance. Now I just need to continue to get that high end back with lots of speed work and hard training.
Although I hadn’t expected a lot for the race, I was somewhat disappointed with my finish. I raced against a group of super strong women but I had hoped not to finish forty five minutes behind the leader. It will take time to get back into race shape but I’m not the most patient person in the world. This gives me a good idea of where I stand and how much work is left to be done.