i survived the cholla challenge. i use the word survive because that is essentially how i rode it, in survival mode. i knew the race would be long and i anticipated as much. last year, it took me two and half hours. i had cramping issues. this year was going to be differnt. i took put elite in my water bottle to help with electrolytes. i also had a gel before each of my three laps. i was going to take precautions.
the website said that the expert/pros would do 26 laps, but this was subject to change. this usually means a mile or two. on saturday it meant an additional 11 miles. i had planned for only 66% of what my race was going to be. the first lap there was a water station about half way through the lap. it was cold and refreshing. there was also water at the start finish. i could not really drink this time though because they handed off the water just before a descent so i was not able to drink it. i still had water in my camel back and some in my bottle. as we got to the climb i felt cramps coming on. i slowed the pace realizing i still had a lot of race left. i looked forward to the water station, but it was gone. i am not sure why but by the second and third lap they only had water at the start/finish.
by the end of my second lap, i had emptied my water bottle and knew that i was low in my camel back. i stopped at the start finish and drank two cups of water. as i got back on my bike my left calf cramped up. i yelled out. i think i scared one of the kids handing off the water. i apologized to him. i got back on my bike and rode one more lap...slow. i did run out of water about half way through my final lap, but i finished the race. it took me three hours!