The score is True Grit 2, KC 0. Or more like KC's bikes 0. The last time I attempted True Grit it was the inaugural year and it was a mess. I dropped out before the race promoter started pulling people in order to save my bike. But Chris (a bit before its time) was running a 1x10 and was able to finish and take a podium spot.
This year I was slow. I knew that going in. My plan was to ride a nice steady pace based on my heart rate and see what happens. I thought I was pretty well rested and prepared, but my legs did not feel spectacular off the start. I am not sure how soon after the next categories left but I was caught pretty early by the next group of guys. I was continuously caught by gentlemen as the race progressed. I just try to keep my heart rate up and not get frustrated.
A small group of guys passed me right as we entered the single track of Barrel Cacti/Ride. I hoped this would not be problematic as I planned on riding the techy stuff. As we entered several of the guys ended up getting off their bikes. I called out rider back. And then again. Finally as I was attempting to ride but still had people (testosterone monkeys is what I was thinking at the time) walking in front of me a voice from behind me called out rider back for me. Then people started to move out of my way. So to that guy, Thank you.
My ride on Zen was good and then not so much. I made a couple of the harder climbs and thought things were going well. Then I bumbled the descent at the end before the big drop. this was after definitively telling the guy behind me that I was going to ride it. I ended up making him have to jump off his bike. So to that guy my deepest apologies; I really can ride that section. And now I was frustrated.
The climb to Bar Claw/Poppy was a climb. I was thrown off by the sign about what routes to take and ended up taking a slower route down for the first little bit of the initial descent. Next time I need to preride and pick the way I want to take.
Stuki....well Stuki sucked. Sorry but it just did. I am not a fan of Stuki (why can't we race something fun like Snake Pit?). The wind was brutal, but at least I only had to do it once. I feel so badly for the 100 milers. I heard the wind got even worse throughout the day.
My friend Steve caught me on the dirt road section towards Rim Runner. He was kind enough to slow down and let me try to hang with him, but I couldn't. First, I just am not good at drafting. And I think I just had to go my pace at that point. None the less, it was kind and fun to ride with him for a bit.
The Rim Runner ascent was actually pretty fun. At each switch back the wind turned. Tail wind, head wind, tail wind, head wind. Finally I could really feel the winding helping and not just hindering. I was pretty excited as I descended Rim Runner. I knew I just had Barrel Roll and then back. I could do this. It could me fun. Spshhhhh. I sliced the sidewall on my rear tire.
It was a big gash. I remained calm and optimistic. I pulled out my tube, air, etc and got to work. I had some plastic I hoped was big enough to boot the tire. I fought the tire trying to get it back on the rim and finally opted to use my tire levers because I could not get it. Then I heard it again but more quiet. Spshhh...I just punctured my tube. That was it; I was defeated as more and more people passed me.
I walked from the bottom of Rim Runner then to the Cove Wash aid station, borrowed a phone, called and texted Chris to come pick me up when he was done, and started walking to Santa Clara practically in tears. I had tried to hard and come so far. Erin, who was at the aid station and let me borrow her phone, was making her way back to her vehicle. She got off and walked with me. I was so grateful for the company of a friend. I really needed that talk to calm down. I told her maybe I was done with True Grit. Today though I think I need redemption. I hardly ever mechanical and I have twice at this event. I can do this race. I know I can.
Each year that I have DNFed Chris has taken a podium spot. He finished third I was so proud of him. But then I was angry because we had to wait for-ev-er for awards. Totally worth it though. I think the year of Chris is extending into 2014.
I raced/rode 34 miles and then walked two. Next year, right?