LEG 1: 0-47 MILES
|Leg #1: From the start to the Drop Bags at mile 47.
|The start! I'm in the back in the red jacket. Photo: Christina L
|Riding in the field! Photo: Michael Raine Kauk
So I pop out of the first section of singletrack in an awesome state of mind. Next we have a bunch of gravel miles to crush, and I do that mostly solo. Sure, there are some riders ahead and behind me, but I'm not riding "with" anyone. And it's kinda nice. My feet are really cold but otherwise I'm feeling great and just happy to be on my bike.
|My drivetrain after Rutherford Bridge.
As we roll into the checkpoint, I am greeted with the news that I'm first female! Actually other people had told me that earlier today but I never really believed them until the news was corroborated several times over. I dig my drop bag out of the truck and get to work refilling bottles and pockets. I have more food than I plan on needing but I take it all with me anyways. Team Fohty is there with the beer bus so I also have some beer to try and help my feet warm up. It definitely helps. I rally some of the guys that are hanging around the checkpoint and we roll out as a group of 4.
LEG 2: 47-87 MILES
|Leg #2: From the Drop Bags at mile 47 to the Katy at mile 87.
|100 mph bike!
So I spend the next several miles chatting with Rob and Keaton about everything and nothing, all while making steady progress along the course. Around mile 63, we are just rolling through the countryside when we see a tent set up in someone's front yard. There are 2 guys standing there, and a bike, and a Red Wheel Bike Shop banner strung up on the tent. Obviously that means they must be friends of the Cedar Cross, so we stop to check things out. Turns out, one of the guys there is Nick who owns Red Wheel. The other guy is his dad! And Nick's dad is grilling hot dogs...for Cedar Cross riders! How awesome! We all stop for a snack and chat. Nick's dad also has a hose in his front yard which I use to clean the worst of the mud off of the Warbird's drivetrain. We hang out for a little bit, getting updates on the front pack (who passed through 2 hours ago without stopping for hot dogs), and generally taking a break. But pretty soon I get a little antsy so then the 4 of us (me, Rob, Keaton, and Nick) roll out to crush the remaining 50ish miles.
|The nuclear reactor with awesome clouds. Photo: Michael Raine Kauk
LEG 3: THE KATY, 87-112 MILES
|The last 30ish miles. All flat.
ATTENTION future Cedar Cross riders: this part of the course is extremely challenging. You've just crushed almost 90 miles of gravel, pavement, and singletrack. You've ripped down a huge hill, and are now looking forward to a few easy, flat miles to finish out this ride. WRONG. At this point, you still have ALMOST 30 MILES TO GO. You are barely over 75% done, but your mind wants to think that it's just a short hop, skip, and jump to the finish line. Be warned: it is not any of those things.
|Check out the sky. THE SKY. Photo: Michael Raine Kauk
Keaton and I are still riding together and as we start this last section, we comment on this exact fact. We probably have at least 2.5 more hours of riding to go, when it feels like we should be done already. But there's no choice other than to keep making forward progress, so we just ride. We take a few brief stops here and there to fill bottles, and I discover I am completely confused about the cue sheet directions. Never fear though, because I have my Garmin (a 310XT) loaded with the route so I switch over to that screen for this section. It's a lifesaver.
The Garmin directs us off the Katy and onto some flood plain farm roads. These are absolutely stunning. The sun is streaming through gaps in the clouds, there are wildflowers in the fields, the whole area is just rich and vibrant with spring. It's really pleasant, and combined with our easy pace, just a very relaxing way to finish out the ride.
|The final miles. Photo: Michael Raine Kauk
POST-RACE (10:04 total time)
|The Thunderchicken after 112 miles. Love this bike.
|Me after 112 miles! I was really excited for beer! Photo: Christina L.