This past weekend was the rescheduled date for the Battle of the Bear 30 mile mountain bike race that had been previously rained out earlier in May. Trying to slip a race into the Colorado race schedule mid-way through the season is almost near impossible unless you want to share a race day with another event. Although there were no other events on Sunday, there were two big races the Saturday before which didn’t make for the same turn out as most of the Warrior Cycling events. The Teva mountain games was the main race which lead to a slim pro field. Since I was still battling a small cackle from that nasty cold, I figured racing with the big girls at 10,000ft was probably not the smartest of choices. So, instead I raced the B2B at 1:30pm in the afternoon in the 95* heat!
My good friend and one of my greatest competitors decided to do a double race weekend and drag her butt out to compete at the B2B even after the super hard race at Teva the day before. There were around 20-30 total women racing, but we happened to be the only two racing in the ‘Pro’ category so we got a sweet clean start behind the pro men – this was really exciting considering that in years past, we’ve been stuck starting behind all the men including the Clydesdales and Single-speeders which is just simply miserable.
As we started the race, we giggled going up the first hill but since both of us are super competitive, we quickly gave it some gas and started to full on race. Rebecca has been racing almost every single weekend since she won the 30-34 World CX Champs this winter and her fitness is out of control right now. I figured she’d be a bit sluggish after racing the day before but I guess not. I stayed with her for a good 5 minutes and then just had to let her go. With zero shade and the heat as high as it was, I did not want to put myself in a hole on the first lap – plus, I was out there without Bryce so I had to at least be able to drive myself home.
I slipped into my race pace, let some of the faster AG group men pass by easily and just focused on my race. I came through the first lap right at 40 minutes and knew last year’s winning time was holding 39 minute laps so I was pretty stoked. I could still see Rebecca up the road so I knew I wasn’t too far back. However, that great feeling diminished soon after when the combo of 185bmp and 95* heat started to sink in. About 1/3 of the way through the 2nd lap, I was starting to get goosebumps and the chills and couldn’t for the life of me bring my HR down under 185. My new body awareness mode instantly kicked in and I quickly turned down the throttle. My legs felt great but I’m still not used to racing at a really high intensity so I needed to finish the race controlled, in one piece and not put myself into any kind of sickness.
I finished the second lap 2.5min slower than the first and went out on the third lap with the attitude of staying consistent and drinking every couple of minutes to stay as hydrated as possible. The final lap was about another minute slower than the 2nd but at least I didn’t totally blow up. I finished almost 10min faster than my time last year but averaged 183HR vs the 179HR of 2011. I thought it would be fun to compare the graphs from both years so I’ve inserted them above – the first is 2012 and the second 2011.
Despite having to slow down quite a bit, I still managed to place 2nd overall and win a bit of cash. I was 4.5min behind Rebecca and only a mere 10 seconds in front of 3rd. I got to see lots of familiar faces, mingle with good friends and even meet Ben Pryhoda who works at Training Peaks. My main focus for 2012 isn’t until the CX season this fall so I’m thrilled with where things are at now considering the low volume and intensity of my training. The Winter Park MTB series is just around the corner which means summer has officially arrived! Thanks for reading :)