On September 14 & 15th I raced the RAAM Norcal Cycling Challenge. It was a very good race for me. I won and set a new course record. For the first 220 miles I felt so good, like I could do anything I wanted to do. I could maintain speed on the flats, power through the rollers and climb in or out of the saddle without the legs burning. There was 21,116 ft. of total elevation gain but 80% of that was in the first 220 miles. With 180 miles to go I had around a 45 – 60 min advantage over the second place rider, Seana Hogan. But I began to suffer the last 180 miles. The legs really began to hurt and with 40 or so miles to go Seana had closed to within 20 or 25 minutes.
Several things went through my mind the last 40 miles. One is I wanted to win and two is a double century I did where I was out in front of the other riders. I was caught by Eric Wilson a very good and respected rider. The double century organizer told Eric he needed to show me how to ride at the front. I haven’t forgotten that comment and I wanted to prove that I can ride at the front. So I began to ride out of the saddle, pushing as hard as I could. Then I would ride in the saddle until my speed began to drop and then I’d be out of the saddle again. I pushed like that all the way to the finish. Even on the levee road into the finish. The levee road was extremely rough. So rough that at one point I hit either a bump or a hole and it sounded like I had broken a wheel. In those last 40 miles I gained some time on Seana.
This race allowed me to reinforce something I always knew about myself but lately had begun to question. In my mind I reinforced the fact that I have heart, I have courage.
Special thanks goes to my special girl, Ann and her daughter Alli. They crewed for me and got me to the finish in first place. As anyone knows it’s impossible to race effectively without a good crew.
Thanks also to Cardo. Maker of the BK-1 communication system for bike helmets. I used their system to communicate with my crew to get a new bottle or get food. My crew used the system to let me know about up coming turns. Before I used two way radios for communication with my crew. The Cardo BK-1 is much easier to use and communication comes across loud and clear. Lately on training rides I’ve been using the Cardo BK-1 to listen to my iPod through the bluetooth setting. A great and versatile system.