The end of the series was in Ashland Oregon and just so we didn’t get comfy, the weather predicted rain and snow for the race. Here is how it went:
Thursday: Pre-ride stages 1 and 2. Last year when Kim and I raced we went up the 8 mile fire road climb to stages 1 and 2. Then proceeded to hear all weekend about how we didn’t have to do that climb but could actually ride a trail called Time Warp that was supposed to be the bomb. We just kept getting the sucks to be you face with, “Oh so you didn’t get to ride Time Warp? It’s sooo amazing and you reallllyyy missed out.” NOT THIS YEAR. We were determined to ride it. IT. DID. NOT. DISAPPOINT. That seriously is one of the most fun trails I have ever ridden. We all came off it hooting and hollering like crazy.
Friday: Pre-ride stages 3 and 4. The rain manages to hold off until we are done practicing but not for the wet, cold 20 minute ride back to the shuttle shop.
Friday afternoon: It’s not fun to camp in the rain. I forgot my jacket so had to spend some time sitting in the truck, heating up my bum knee because it was pissed in the cold weather.
Friday afternoon: After contemplating getting a hotel I decided to see if I could brave the camp shower in the cold. The camp shower was a coin operated contraption where the coin machine was not located within the shower stall. You had to put in your money then race over to the stall naked and shivering to dart back to the area where your clothes are because the shower took a second to warm up. During my shower I realized I was going to have to run back wet and cold to get my towel when the 4 minutes was up. Regretted not getting a hotel.
Friday night: We went out to dinner and lingered at the restaurant forever to avoid going back to camp.
Friday night through Race Day: Realize dicey Mexican food was not a good choice for racing. Justin spends the entire night noisily climbing out of the Tepui tent to race to the bathroom.
8:30am Start 8 mile climb up to stage 1
8:35am It starts raining
8:45am Realize rain jacket is not even water resistant
9:15am Have more water inside my jacket than outside
9:45am Still %^&*climbing
10:00am The Mexican food from the night before is making for some scary moments
10:30am Reach stage 1 delirious and wonder if I died somewhere around mile 3
Stages 1 and 2 are fun, a little more wet than yesterday but still a good time.
12:45pm Get ready to load the shuttle van
1:00pm Step into oldest van in the shuttle fleet and immediately step back out
1:00pm It smells real bad in there. Like wet dog, wet Pro/Expert racer and the seats are grimy with sweat and dirt.
1:10pm Get back on and go to my happy place, which is not in this van that has broken windows and doors and can barely get up to 55mph.
1:45pm Arrive to the top of Mt. Ashland aka Mt. Everest with some freezing winds. Everyone jumped out and got on their bikes real quick to get the hell out of there. Karaline had to pee so we had to wait for her. Rachel and I huddled on the side of the van until we saw her coming then we fled down the trail. My hands were frozen popsicles even with hand warmers shoved into the tops of my gloves. I could barely brake as we descended quite rapidly down a double track to the next transfer stage.
2:00pm As we hit the transfer stage and started climbing up to stage 3, I had to dig deep to stay positive. It’s the last race of the season. I am tired, cold and just want to go home. Knowing that my team was there and we were making history by being the only all female team on the podium got me through it. It was an exciting day and I just needed to finish.
Stage 3 is a roughly 22 minute stage. That is like an XC race. It’s actually fun except the long hill in the middle. I had to talk out loud to myself and elevated heart rate. “You are okay. You aren’t going to die. You are almost to the top.” And because I lie “You never have to do this again.”
Stage 4 is off the hook fun Jabberwocky trail. A fantastic way to finish the race.
The racers did amazing in these conditions with several podium finishes!
1st Jennifer OConnor
2nd Kim Rafter
3rd Liv Parker
4th Jenna Peterson
5th Stephanie Louis
Sport Women 35+
1st Kathy Craft
2nd Rachel Seymour
3rd Nicole Ellsworth
4th Jeni Boltshauser
5th Rachel Kagan
1st Essence Barton
2nd Ingrid Larouche
3rd Janea Perry
4th Heidi Kanayan
5th Sara Schneider
Stay tuned for a special update regarding the overall individual and team results!