31st Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival!
Ryan and I (and a few 2500 or so of our closest friends) headed to Hayward, WI this weekend for our annual Chequamegon 40 race weekend. This is always one of my favorite weekends of the year. Not because of the race, but because it is the big end of summer party with our closest cycling friends.
My day started off great! I actually had 8 1/2 hours of solid sleep and woke up without race jitters. Until I thought to myself, “how weird…I don’t feel nervous at all.” Then, of course, I started thinking about what I was about to do and had my normal pre-race breakdown. :)
(Apparently the sun was bright in the morning. Squint!)
I started out in corral 6 (about 1500 people were between Ryan and I) and was “all by myself”. I wasn’t feeling super prepared and decided early on that day that I was just going to race MY race. I was going to have fun. I was going to do MY best. The cannon went off and at 1000am we were rolling through downtown Hayward.
The first 14 miles went off without a hitch. I felt fast. Breathing semi-controlled. I rode every climb. No falls. No blunders. Fun. In all honesty, I felt pretty great until fire tower (about mile 29 out of 40). I was at 2:30 minutes at mile 29. I walked almost all of fire tower and it took 8 minutes. Eight minute walk of shame. (The fast guys and gals climb the whole thing.)
After fire tower comes more of the Birkie trail. There are a few hills right after this that are confidence destroyers. I really hate the last 10 miles of this race. I always forget how much until I am there doing it. You know it’s a bad when the guy racing next to you says “shit” the same time you do when rounding a corner.
Around mile 35, I knew I wasn’t going to make my goal. 3:30:59 This was the goal I set for myself last year and didn’t get. This was the same goal I set for this year. Only this year, if I made my goal, Ryan said he would get me a new road bike. So, when I felt like going slow, I kept chanting to myself “how bad do you want a new road bike? how bad?”
At 3:15 I came to terms with not making the said goal and just decided to try for a PR. That means anything under 3:53 and it was doable. There are lots of thoughts that go through your head when you are “alone” on your bike in the woods for 40 miles. At one point, I thought that I should have created a Facebook page “Help me get my new road bike!” or “If I break 3:30, I will get a new bike!” or “Who wants to pace me to a new bike?” I digress. I am not as clever as Albert Einstein!
At mile 38 I hit one of the many large mud puddles on the course and was flung from my bike, hit a log, lost my prescription inserts for my Rudy Project glasses, and hurt my wrist, knee and pride! I spent a few minutes looking for my inserts, but came up empty-handed :( Either way, I needed to get back on the saddle and finish MY race and get to the beer 2 miles later. I. Was. Covered. In. Mud. But. Done. 3:51 PR