Although a 13hr drive seems pretty far, I really needed to get in a race before Beaver Creek so Bryce and I grabbed a Team Ford Flex and began our drive up to Jamestown, ND from Boulder on Thursday evening.
There really isn't much between Fort Collins and Bismark, North Dakota, actually there's nothing and unfortunately we found that out the hard way. After driving over 8hrs, we found the only city within 4hrs of driving that had a couple motels and every single one of them was full!!! Apparently there are tons of oil workers in the area and nothing is available in that town for the next couple months. There was no way we could go another 2hrs to the next town so we just parked on the side of the road, threw the bikes on the top of the car and attempted to sleep on the benches of the Flex for 5hrs. That was probably the most worthless thing we've ever done!
After getting some coffee and Red Bull and splashing our faces with cold water, we got back on the road to hit the course for a little pre-ride. We met some really nice people and ran into two of my favorite people on the XTERRA circuit...Circ and Cindy Topel! After some good chats, we went to the hotel to wash up then over to the Buffalo City Grille for packet pickup and a little Q&A.
Race morning came much quicker than I had anticipated as all I wanted to do was sleep...in the huge comfy bed in our hotel :) Alas, I got moving, went to the course then ended up sitting in the car while a HUGE thunder/lightening storm went through. The start was delayed an hour but after the clouds cleared, the weather was great...very humid of course, but doable.
The swim started with the men leaving at 10am and the women at 10:05am. I've been swimming really well lately so I was excited to see how many people I could catch during the 1000m swim and 100m run across an island in the middle. To my surprise, my swim was only 15sec behind the fastest male and I had passed everyone except 3 guys!
After running up the steep dirt road from the reservoir, I jumped on my bike and headed out on a mission to kill the next 13 miles! The first loop was really windy with lots of short ups and downs. Because it had rained so hard just an hour prior, the dirt (or mud) on the trails in the middle part of the loop were slicker than all could be. I had the absolute worst tires for the conditions but made due and only slid off the trail once or twice. My legs weren't totally there but then again I'm used to going straight up for a while rather than up and down and up and down, etc. I was having a total blast then realized my gel that was taped to my stem had fallen off. I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade at the aid station and that immediately popped out of my bottle cage. This was the beginning of the bonk.
I normally ALWAYS keep a gel in transition to grab before the run but for some reason I totally spaced it...must be because I haven't raced in forever...At any rate, I headed out a bit fatigued but pulled it together for the first 2.5 miles. I was flying and feeling great then all of a sudden things started to get fuzzy and I got the chills all over. When it's in the 80s with 100% humidity, that's not normal. I stopped at the next aid station to sip on some Gatorade but chose not to take a 'GU' bc they just don't set well in my stomach. I dumped some water on my head then headed back out as best I could. I got caught by a guy and stayed with him until about a quarter mile from the finish. All I could think about was the cold coke with lots of sugar I was going to down when I was done!
I crossed the finish line as the first overall woman and 4th overall. It definitely wasn't the best of races but I'll take it for the first one in a long time. I like to think of it as getting the cob webs out! The race director's wife and father made some delicious food for the post race BBQ that hit the spot. I also provided some great Timex swag and 2 watches for the raffle.
Other than some crazy lightening storms, a speeding ticket, and pumping gas on old school pumps, the drive home was pretty uneventful. We tried as hard as we could to do it in one straight shot but couldn't and luckily found a room in a small random town in Wyoming. That was the best $30 bed EVER!
Above is the picture that was in the local paper (Jamestown Sun) today.