This past weekend I race in the Spa City Extreme, a 6 Hour Solo MTB race in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Since Michigan trails are still unrideable, the race was a great opportunity to get some trail time, and collect points (Spa City was the third race in the USAC Ultra Endurance Series).
I didn't have to look far to know that the field was going to be competitive, since I was sharing a house with Rebecca Rusch, two-time 24 hour World Champion. At the start line the promoter called off the different States being represented, and it was good to see many endurance athletes ready to duke it out so early in the season.
We started out with a typical Lemans start, and ran around an unfinished BMX track. Even though the run was only a few minutes it seemed to last forever. I was happy to finally hop on my bike, and entered the single-track in 3rd place behind Rebecca Rusch (Specialized/Red Bull) and Anna Jean Dallaire (Sobe/Cannondale).
Waiting for the run...it always feels weird to line up without a bike!
The 10-mile course was a great combination of tight single-track, a few water crossings, and short switchback climbs. My tires (Kenda Karmas) handled the washed out corners perfectly, and I always had a lot of traction.
6 Hour races are shorter then most of the races that I do, and I tried to keep my pace as fast as possible throughout the day. As I headed out for my last lap, my mechanic informed me that I had gained time on second place and that she was only 2 minutes ahead of me. I knew that I would have to lay it all on the line if I wanted to catch her.
I don't remember much about the last lap except powering up every single climb as fast I could. It's funny how a course changes throughout a long race. I thought that the course was relatively flat when I started out. 5 hours later, the course seemed like it was all uphill.
With only 2 miles to go I caught second place! She was halfway up a climb and I think I passed her before she reached the top. After that I just lowered my head and did a time trial to the finish line. After almost 6 hours of racing I ended up taking second place by a minute.
Podium picHere we are with the top guy finishers posing for pictures
Thanks for everyone's support. It's going to be a great season!!!
Posted by Danielle