This past weekend was 24 hour nationals in Wisconsin and wow! that was a fun course. This was definitely the techiest course I’ve raced on all year. It was a fun, and tough, 24 hour race with really good competition. The whole trip was fun and I got to ride with and hang out with some really rad people.
We flew into Chicago and stayed with Brendan’s mom. I had shipped one bike ahead of time to SRAM where our friends there put it together and threw on a few little extra cool widgets (new pop-lock for the reba and some little carbon and titanium widgets for the Juicy brakes.) This gave me an excuse to go by and check out their place – pretty cool pad! Everyone there was pretty nice and there was lots of excitement about the race and lots of cool bikes and stuff to look at. We had lunch with Craig then headed back out to Naperville.
Brendan’s mom was sick, so she wasn’t able to drive with us up to Wisconsin. So, we rented a car and headed north Friday. I forgot how green and humid the midwest is – it was beautiful. We stopped at the race venue and picked up numbers etc. then headed over to Todd’s sister’s place just outside Wausau. After a good night’s sleep, we headed back to the venue early Saturday morning. This race was a 10am-10am race instead of a noon-noon. The run took off fast and i found myself in 3rd place for the first few laps. I was pretty excited to be in 3rd behind Monique and Rebecca Rusch with lots of fast women behind me. On the 5th lap, Danielle Musto passed me with a smile and a “good job mary!” On the 6th lap, Sarah Kauffman did the same. Even though these two were passing me, i was happy to be in the midst of it.
On the 8th lap, i had a little bit of a bonk – I should have probably been eating and drinking a bit more, but it was difficult on this techy course. There was just one rock garden after another. That really slowed things down and i had a super long lap taking a small break trailside and another in the pit. Brendan helped me to get my psych back up, but by this time, i had slipped down to 7th place!! Fortunately, for my first half of the race, my laps had been well below the average that i needed to reach my goal – 15 laps. Now, i had to get it back in gear and gain back 5th place, at least. I fought hard and rode well through the darkness. I wasn’t sure if I had passed the 2 girls that had passed me, so i just kept it on.
Around 6am the sleep deprivation was getting to me a little, but i had no idea where Karen Armstrong was. I knew that i had passed her, but heard from the pit crew that she was keeping consistent lap times. I felt like i had a dog on my heels and kept looking back. At 935 i came in from my next to last lap and heard that she was only 15-20 minutes behind. If i didn’t go back out, i’m sure that she would – so one more lap. I wasn’t sure if she had kept strong and was gaining on me, so i kept moving. I pulled in from my last lap at 1121 and the pit crew was there chearing me in. I was able to keep 5th and also get my 15 laps. Going into this race, I wasn’t sure how i’d place, but had a small taste for top 3 early on. I learned a lot and enjoyed the course. My teammate, Todd, placed 6th in the men’s championship 24 hr field with some great lap times and overall consistency – as always. He reached his goal of 18 laps and was always supportive out there on the trail – when blazing past me!
The pit crew was awesome again – Bonnie, Shannon, and Brendan and the support posters made me smile each time around. It was good riding with and talking to Danielle, Namrita, and Sarah. I’ll probably see you all at worlds. Thanks for a fun time. And Brendan – thanks for the pep talk in the evening and driving all the way home!