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Nicole's story: Echo Red to Red

Nicole shared her experience from a big weekend, starting with the Echo Red to Red mountain bike race.

So this race starts with 4 miles of paved and gravel road, every year I’m usually spit out the back. This year was no different; 10 seconds in and I am all by myself.

When I finally reach the single track I can see a couple riders not too far in the distance so I work my way up to the first one, a lady and I hang behind her for a little bit catch my breath and then we both come up to a single speed who seems to be scared of the trails and he is crawling, this course has zero opportunities to pass so you have to get creative. So after several minutes, as the gap between us and any other rider keeps getting bigger and bigger and a bushwhacking around the corner and finally getting by this guy. A few minutes later she pulls over letting me go. After that he was two hours of solo riding. Death by 1000 climbs, a little bit of torture a little bit of fun on the down hills. With an hour to go all the sudden the rain starts pouring down with little bits of hail along with it and the wind picks up to gusting 30 miles an hour or so. Fortunately they didn’t last too long but it did make the trails at Mucky mess and my tires were full of clay type soil adding an extra 5 pounds or so to my bike.

Every year this research teaches me some thing, usually it’s that I don’t train enough above threshold and that I am not actually race ready in March.

I tell myself all the things: ‘it’s just a training race’, ‘I don’t want to be peaking right now’, I’m really just making myself stronger’, when I really want to curl up and cry wondering why Im so slow. It’s a tough race for me mentally, every year and I do wonder why I keep going back sometimes (this was year 9).

So for punishment I went and did an 88-mile gran fondo on the gravel (the one Deanna Duke was doing).

For this one I did manage to hide behind a bunch of groups people conserving energy, and halfway through I found one of the ladies that was a really good match and we worked together for the last 48 miles.

212 TSS yesterday and 433 TSS today and a 900+ TSS week will hopefully put me in a good place to taper into the Moab Rocks Stage race I have coming up in two weeks.


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