Jason finishing up the race in just over 4 hours.
PIC credit: the BIZ
My Dad, son and myself headed over to Rochester for the marathon race.
I had a good result at the Stony race (4th). I felt strong for most of the race even giving the first lap a long leadout to shake the race up from the gun. The conditions where sloppy at first then they turned gooey. The continous heavy rains for the past week left the 2 Tracks with standing water while the single track was nice and tacky.
The Simonster, Randy and Christian where all leadout for most the first lap by myself. Mike paced the rest of the lap, until Christian punched it thru the feed area (start/finish). I held on for a short time then dropped my pace so I could sustain the remainding 5 Laps. I passed randy as he was tightening his bars, knowing he would kill himself to catch back up. I paced along until randy came up and he was off fast and furious. As we rolled into the last little climb at the end of 2 Randy punches it up the climb and gets a small gap thru the Start/finish area. I slowly reel him in about 4 miles later. I sit on until the last 2 track section and move to the front to keep pace for awhile. As we roll into the last little climb at the end of the lap I start to accelerate to counter randys know attack spot. My pedal comes off the crank as I pull up, I stopped and messed with it, but couldn't tighten it to far without a 8mm. I ran up the hill and 1leg pedaled to where my dad was waiting to hand up a bottle. Luckly someone had a long 8mm allen key so I could re-install my pedal. Mean while i lost 3 places and about 5 minutes of time. I caught my teammate Joe and tried to pace him back thru the 4th Lap as we passed JP side lined with a mechanical. I lost Joe in the lapped traffic in the single track, as I made a effort to find out a time gap to 3rd. To far up and no one coming from behind I cruised the last lap with the hints of leg cramps shooting through the quads.
Iced Oberons made the day complete !
This was my 3rd crack at the Tailwind USAC Stony Creek Marathon. This years addition had added challenges thanks to lots of rain and humidity. It was slick and thick out there. Elite men were to complete 6 nearly 10 challenging miles of single track and open two track. Lining up with a strong field, including a handful of endurance specialists, I was ready to suffer. The start had me rollin' in the top 5 with my teammate Jason leading it out. I was feeling OK as we went through short early portions of single track and puddle filled two track. As we approached the first lengthy "Rollercoaster" portion of the course I knew the race was about to begin. It was slippery and quite treacherous at times. I was hanging in there for a while still in the top 5 but kept losing ground in corners. As the trail opened up I'd chase back. Eventually I paid the price and came off the bike as I slid off a wet tree root. Just enough time to get passed by one or two guys. I quickly got going again and tried to chase back on. Me chasing in conditions that already have me struggling isn't a pretty picture let me tell ya. A few more bobbles later and I was free to let it fly back on the two track. One of the race favorites, Greg Kuhn(FrasierBikes), was popping in and out of sight in front of me. Working to reel him in I slid out on a sharp right hander causing me to enjoy more time on the ground. I was up quickly and back at it. I fought back up to Greg in the 2nd lap only to lose him again as we closed in on lap 3. Lap 3 had me chasing Greg again and caught by a flying Jamie Parker(Specialized). Going in to lap 4 Jamie had some unfortunate mechanical problems and was forced to abandon. Coincidently my teammate Jason was also sidelined with a mechanical issue which he resolved thankfully. He caught me and immediately went by and set a solid pace. I hung in there for a while but was starting to tire and cramp. I knew things would only go downhill for the remaining 2 laps. I tried to keep up with my teammate staying in a really small gear hoping to avoid further cramping. He was still out of the saddle on climbs and looking comfortable. I survived until the Rollercoaster section and once again was dropped. I was super tense due to previous crashes and fear of the dreaded leg cramps. I went into lap 5 already a minute or two down on Jason and with another stock pile of fluids thanks to friends Michelle Simonson, Keith Reige, Zack and Mr. Lummis. Unfortunately, as hard as I tried this time around, muscle cramps would not be avoided. Both laps 5 and 6 were complete misery. I stopped, walked, stretched, drank, ate and massaged. Nothing worked. Going into lap 6 I stopped for a few minutes to refuel. My hamstrings totally locked up and you could see my muscles contracting. Creepy. After some deep breaths and something to drink I pressed on. I was determined to finish. Little did I know I was in 5th place! I pedaled on in the best gear possible up the first little climb. That's when my buddy Robert Herriman(American Cycle&Fit/Wolverines) rolled by smooth as can be and said "just pedal on lightly". And that I did. Except now I was in 6th place. Bah! I continued on with lots of stops and walks along the way. Chatting with some friendly folks and fellow sufferers I was happy to know it would be over soon. As I was closing in on the final couple miles I was passed by Cycle Therapy's Mark Parmelee. I just stood hillside and watched him ride off in the sunset putting me in 7th. That's how my race would wrap up. Lots of cheers, beers and friends at the finish. Yup, it was totally worth it. Congrats to all who finished this difficult event.
Upon arriving at Stony Creek I found that in addition to the competition that shows up on a regular basis, the ladies field would also consist of a couple of local CX gals, one of which was Ann Schwartz (Flying Rhino’s) & also an endurance specialist Danielle Musto (Kenda/Titus). AWESOME! The 11 of us lined up & chatted for a few waiting for the Elite & Expert mens waves to take off. Some where during those few minutes I must’ve given my body the ok to abandon my “Steady Eddie” strategy and adopt a new one: Ride as hard as I can for as long as I can,cramp up, & fizzle out in the end. When race promoter Robert Linden said “Go!” I WENT! Ha! I took the hole shot & lead us out into the trail. After a few miles I looked back to see who was hang’n on: Kerry Collins (Team Giant MI) & Danielle were glued to my wheel. I excitedly exclaimed “Nice little group we have here! Aye?!” HA! I was feeling good & having other faces in the mix just added to the fun! Along we went hammering on our merry way down the two-track (about half the course was fairly flat two-track). Eventually the three of us slipped into the sloppy, winding single track section called ‘the Pines’. I believe it was here Danielle lost contact with Kerry & I. I kept it on the gas & honestly I’m not sure where I dropped Kerry?! I assume it was in the Pines because I highly doubt it would’ve happened on the two track. Anyway, all alone now with 10 people chasing me, heart rate pegged & still feeling strong, I started reeling in the Expert men. It went on like this until I came through the lap chute for a bottle feed ( :o) Thanks Mitch-a-palooza Simonson!) heading out on lap 3. Uh oh! I had 30 more miles to go...Yikes! I felt good though & had a few minutes lead, but still decided to back it down some. On lap 3, still alone, I passed some more expert men & at one point crashed. While lifting up & over a thin,wet sapling lying across the trail, it’s bark scrubbed clean off making it slick as ice, my front wheel didn’t make it over & instead rode it down length wise. Shaken but not broken, I jumped up got going. I must’ve been overdue for a mishap! All along I made sure to drink all fluids on board, slurp down my Clif Shots, & take in extra electrolyte. Going out onto lap four while reaching in my pocket to grab the electrolyte pills I pulled out my hand & lost them all on the ground. No matter I thought... I’m fine! I guess I was due for a second mishap (getting them out of the way before Nat’s hopefully...LOL). CRAMPS! About three miles before the finish of lap four (almost 40 miles in) I felt the onset of muscle cramps. In a matter of minutes I had cramped so bad my hamstrings, calves, & quads had completely seized up. As I was coasting, spinning, (punching my quads) & stretching trying to recover I heard a rider surging up behind me. It was Kerry. Dang it! & the timing of it all! Now on my wheel & approaching the chute to our final lap there was no covering up just how bad I felt. Actually it was so obvious I was hurting someone even asked “Erin, you alright?” . And silly me, I murmured “No.” And with that Kerry quickly propelled herself past me & out of sight. Starting lap 5 I wondered if I would even finish. Pretty crazy how fast things can change. I forged on spinning the pedals around with as little effort & pressure as it took to keep moving forward. I walked up a couple hills & even stopped to stretch. As all this was going on I had not forgotten that somewhere behind lurked (most likely) Danielle. Every once in a while I’d look back expecting to see a glimpse of her red jersey. About half way through the last (5th) lap I did! In the ‘Roller Coaster’ section of single track I saw her gaining on me fast. I knew it was now or never. I gave it everything I had RIGHT THEN hoping my legs wouldn’t fail me in the effort to escape a looming 3rd place. I felt like a wounded animal being hunted through the woods...trying to scurrying out of sight so she might give up. On the two track I latched onto the wheel of the 2nd place Elite man, Greg Kuhn(who happened to be lapping me at the time), and held on for a minute to gain momentum. I was fading fast & the finish line wasn’t coming soon enough. For the fifth & final time I dumped out of the single track, crossed a field, went back into a very small stretch of single track which wrapped us back towards the finish line.It was in that last tiny bit of single track that the 3rd Place Elite man passed me, Randy Laprarie, & told me Danielle was RIGHT behind me. OMG! I had nothing left! Heading towards the finish line people yelled “Sprint Erin! She’s right behind you!” . I could do nothing but softly spin across that bumpy grass. I kept looking back and she was gaining on me like I was standing still... because I basically was. BUT I made it! I made it across the finish line before she caught me! In 2nd Place! Not as good as first 1st,6 seconds better than a 3rd, & WAAAAAY better than a DNF! Up Next: East Coast Road Trip-NMBS#5 @ Windham Mt & Nat’s @ Mt Snow