Stage 3: I still felt good at the start of stage 3. Upon arriving at the second feed zone, I was told that Chris was struggling to keep from bonking. I worried about it for a bit, but figured he would be okay because it was not that uncommon for him. This stage took place at Deer Valley. I was excited for this because I did not have an opportunity to race this course in the Intermountain Cup.
I started off feeling really good. My descending was still smooth and I was having a great time. I had been playing leap frog with this one guy for awhile. I passed him again on the climbs and anticipated his arrival on the descendent, but I did not see him again. The course also incorporated some road sections and I was lucky that there was minimal traffic to take my focus from following the arrows.
I also caught up with Derrick on one of the road sections by a course marshal. He had asked her something, but I was not positive what it was. Apparently, he had ran out of water and was inquiring how far the next cooler was. I offered him my bottle with endurance and gel, because I had plenty of water in my camel back. This may have been a mistake though because not long after that I started to feel really weak. I was to the point of climbing back and was hurting. Once we did get to the water I took back my bottle which had just a swig or two of concotion left. I downed beverage and kept spinning. I started the climbing when it began to rain harder than it had all day. Then it hailed. I still had my vest and arm warmers, but I did not want to stop. I just wanted to get this over. I kept thinking to myself, "I don't want to be cold anymore!" Every endurance race that I have ever entered has turned out wet and rainy at some point. I was becoming an emotional wreck and had thoughts of dropping out. Luckily the weather was short lived and by the time I got back to the feed zone the sun was coming out.
I spent quite a bit of time at this station, first fighting back tears when Jen Hanks asked what I needed. I took my first bathroom break. Spent some time refueling. I also caught a glimpse of the clock and thought it was the official race time and could not comprehend that I had been on the course for 13+ hours already. I was quickly corrected (and laughed at) because it was actually just 1:30 in military time. That made me feel better.
Stage 4: Started off climbing and quickly found my rhythm. I passed Adam changing a flat; he had everything and said he would catch up and ride in with me. Sounded like a plan...but part of me hoped he couldn't catch. The descents were joyous. It was great, but then I got lost. I just got stupid and couldn't understand where I was supposed to go. I ended up missing my turn and was on this fire road. I stopped a truck, but he knew nothing. I climbed back the single track to the last place I saw a flags. That is where I saw three racers. I jumped on behind them and got back on track. I probably lost about 10 minutes and two places. If I hadn't gotten lost I would have really enjoyed this stage also.
Stage 5: I left the zone a bit quicker than I wanted to but the girl next to me was leaving and I really wanted to stay with her. I also thought that because this was the last stage, I wouldn't need so much.
I regained my position and then caught up with Adam and Derrick. Adam was confused and I confessed that I had become lost. I rode with them for awhile. Derrick started to pull away. Adam let me by, but then stayed right on my wheel. This made me nervous and I thought he shouldn't have let me pass him. I asked if he was okay back there and he said yes.
This stage went on forever. I kept thinking the end had to be close and it never was. I felt just hammered. I thought about getting off and walking my bike just because I did not care. Then I would remember that I really did care and I wanted to do well. "Just keep pedaling." My back hurt, so I would stand up. Then it would hurt standing, so I would sit. Up, down; up, down. My feet were numb. My triceps were fatigued as were my forearms. My hands were on fire and I am not surprised that there are blood blisters and calluses on them. I was a mess. I wanted to be done. Then there was the angel standing next to the trail indicating where to go. He said, "Four more miles." I love that guy! I was so excited. At this point I knew I could make it. I thought I am finishing this race to go right to the car. I will put my bike on it and NEVER look at it again. I hate this bike! My body hates me. I can't wait to be finished.
At 12 hours 59 minutes and 50 seconds I crossed the line and started heading to the car. But I hear Chris calling my name, so I turn around. I threw my bike down and told him very adamently that I felt terrible. But I was done and I met my goal. (I was hoping to finish between 13-14 hours.)