One Gravel Race; Two nights camping; 62 miles. OMG I just biked my longest off-road ever – by a long shot! (This is also my first bike race ever).
I just had an incredibly proud and rewarding “race” with my gravel bike, Candy. Hunter and his “Thirsty Thursday” weekly riding friends signed up for this tough, mostly off-road race, in the Sierra mountains, just north of Tahoe.
Hunter encouraged me to join them and try the 35 mile easiest option. I had just done a tough 33 mile mostly off-road “Dirty Zoo” east bay ride with 4500 feet of climbing, to train up, the weekend before.
However, Hunter and all his friends were doing the 60 mile option – and the day of registration, last minute I decided to try to push myself really hard and see if I could do the 60 mile option. Rationale? It was less than ~500 feet more of climbing than my training weekend trip. I knew I could likely do another 10 miles – so if I made 45 miles or more, I’d be super happy.
Well, by hitting every rest stop, eating and drinking tons, and gracefully perfect weather (I blow up in hot sun rides), I MADE EVERY MILE!.
Most of the climbing is at the start – if you can keep your heartrate decent, not push toooo hard at the start (and not “blow up”) – you can likely finish the ride (if you keep eating/drinking).
Hunter & I starting out. The 100 mile option left one hour before us. We get a Police escort on pavement for the first few miles, then take a right turn, and SHOWTIME – it’s time to climb 1800+ feet, off road.
Hunter & I agreed to do our own pace and text each other at each rest stop. Lake Davis in bacgkround.
I can’t believe that at this point, I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it.
The wildflowers, sunflowers, and green were so beautiful to ride through.
It was a super-emotional finish line for me! I expected that Hunter and friends were all back at camp. After taking pictures and not really racing, I noted if I pushed it the final 10 miles, I might make it within one hour of Hunter’s total time. I pushed super hard the final mile into the finish line. I was already crying before I hit the line – I couldn’t believe I did something this long and challenging, without nearly enough long-distance rides to train up for this.
When I saw Hunter and our friends at the finish, whooping it up for my hot rush into the line, it was such an amazing feeling. Hunter and I were both crying. :)
Here’s my stats. 9.2 mph overall clock average from the 9am start – this vastly exceeded my hopes. I thought I was going to get caught up by the “sweeps” for going too slow and taken off the course. Six and a half hours for 62 miles is really good – I’m super proud!
Here’s our campsite, right next to a river, about 8 of us.
You can do more than you think you can! 💖