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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was so impressed by all the riders this year. I raced, er, rode the course, and was not fast by any means, but here is my story, especially for any slow people....

SeaOtter represents milesstones for me. Two years ago I went on the fun ride on a fluke and got hooked on singletrack. It was my first time. One year ago I raced women's beginner and did pretty well in my age category. This year I have been riding SS and decided to enter the SS race. Looking at the times of last year's beginner/sport singlespeed women I knew I would be last in my class. But I still wanted to do it anyway.

Sunday was race day! Aosty and I got up super early and got to the venue. It was really foggy and cold. I'm still getting over my cold and I was hacking up phlegm. Blah. I was glad I had my wool jersey and arm warmers on. We warmed up a bit and all of a sudden it was about time so we got to the starting line. I'm looking around and feeling very intimidated - because there are a hundred guys and only a handful of girls. Literally a handful, I can only see 5. They all look 25. I am intimidated because I am considerably older. We start chatting and they are all talking gear ratios and they are all running higher gears than I. I'm more intimidated. I see Aosty over on the other side of the pack and realize that he has the hammergel. Ut oh. I can't get to him now. I wanted to eat some before the start but it is too late.

The gun goes off and off we go. I don't hammer up the hill full speed because I'm afraid I will get a bad asthma attack with all this phlegmy stuff I'm coughing up. Last
year I got a terrible asthma attack in the beginning and it was very scary. I'm looking at others who are all speeding away from me and realize that my gearing is going to
be too low to be competitive. (As if I was competitive anyway). My cadence is the same but I'm not going as fast. So by the time I hit the singletrack, I'm only with a
few stragglers at the back of the pack. No women anywhere. That's ok, I just need to finish the race. I'm breathing hard, I see endoverendo and he calls out and gets a picture of me. That gives me a boost. I soon realize that there is one advantage to being in the rear - I have no obstacles or slow riders on the singletrack to get stuck behind. All the fast
people (which at this point is pretty much everyone in the race except me!) are gone.

I am going along, trying to alternately conserve and push. I had no idea how hard racing a SS would be. I am so used to recovering after sprints during regular rides, and
I never "trained" and this is suddenly very apparant. I begin to doubt my ability to finish this race, or do the long climb out. I am really hurting. I definitely walk the
steep hills - it's not a matter of choice, I am just pushing so much harder than usual that I just can't make it up them. Legs are burning! I have a lot of company in
pushing though, so that's ok. I actually pass one girl on hurl hill. She catches me a short while longer on the flats - her higher gear is impossible to keep up with. We
leapfrog for a while - I catch her on the steep stuff and she takes off on the flatter and downhill stuff.

My asthma does decide to kick up along the "goat trail". I can taste a little blood (this happened last year too). At least I can more or less breathe, it is not a
terrible attack, although it is tough. I am blowing snot rockets everywhere. I see my friend Linny, who is on courseside paramedic duty and he eggs me on. "just a steep
uphill and then lots of downhill and an aid station". I look at the uphill and just blow up. I can't even begin to clean it. I need GU, I need water, I need rest! I push
the bike up it and catch that girl again, then we take off down some singletrack. Oh thank god. Downhill. Although I'm not exactly resting, I'm standing to absorb all
the bumps as I fly down as fast as I can and my thighs are burning here too. I get to the aid station and grab some cytomax on the fly. Back onto singletrack, more
climbing. Ugh. I am not going fast. I'm so slow, I can't believe I'm going this slow in a race. I'm only halfway finished. I keep on though. There is a hike a bike and
I actually do pretty well on it, I remember the good line and get up it relatively easily. THere is a very sandy section that I have to walk, but catch and pass one guy on
a SS. I should mention that the speedies from the classes behind us (gearies) are passing me up now. I kind of fleetingly wish I had gears. Wow am I hurting.

I lose that girl (for good) on a fireroad section - she takes off and I never see her again. I am doing ok now, I am stil hurting and I am not going fast but I know that
the major climbs left are just the 3 b!tches, and then I'm home free (well except for the 2.5 miles climb out). I might be able to finish. I clean this rocky section I
had trouble with in the pre-ride and feel very encouraged. I catch a guy who is in the 60+ group and we egg each other on for a few moments. I am inspired and woo here is
the the 1st b!tch. I don't clean it but I get up a good ways and run the rest. Same with the 2nd - I must be tired, this one I usually make. The third I can't get far up
at all because there are too many people walking up it, and I join them. I am excited at the top, thats the last time I will be walking, I hope! Down a steep section,
through the tight fast twisty singletrack. I note that I am a little slower than on the pre-ride - I'm tired and am afraid I will crash. My legs are so tired even on this
descent and then its over and its just a climb out. Pedal pedal pedal. I'm actaully doing ok on this part. I'm not able to stand as much as I would like, but as I go up
the looooooooooooong road and get closer to the top I see a group of spectators. Wow, nothing inspires you more than knowing a friend is up there. I see Hollywood and he
runs along side me, snapping pictures. This makes me laugh.

People are starting to cheer, I hear the women. One says "Cool a chick on a singlespeed!" and I am encouraged. I am charged by this crowd and I am getting delirious. I start yelling "Yay i'm almost done!" A little farther up are some friends. They always have a beer handoff here and when they see me coming they run over and hand me some guiness. I take a swig and I can see the top of the hill! I am so close! I am so excited! Now I get my second wind and I stand, and people are cheering the riders on. I make the final little climb and try not to crash on the to the paved racecourse finish. I am on the pavement and man it's hard, I am spinning so fast to try and finish. It is a lot farther than I remember it being when I had gears. I get passed by a tandem and I spin like crazy to draft them. It works and I am able to get some good speed down the descent. They break away and I am spinning spinning spinning I can hear the crowd I can see the finish line I am spinning legs want to cramps they are so tired but I am spinning as fast as I can and I finally make the finish line.

I am smiling. I know I'm the last woman, I figure I am also the last singlespeeder. But I did it. Aosty and two friends whose names totally escape me were waiting at the end and I was very happy to see them. One said something really nice - he said "People like you are really inspirational to my daughter" and I got all verklempt.

So guess what. There were only 5 women, and there were 5 medals. And that is how I got on the podium despite being last in my class. :)

PS: I was not the last SSer, (mechanicals I figure) even though there were 100+ people faster, so I was happy about that.

;)
 

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the bomb
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531 Posts
podium baby!

yea!

Great write up Impy! I must say I envy your courage. I always say I have no interest in racing, that I'm not competative, but I think I'm just chicken. Way to keep going, and on a single speed no doubt!

I still remember that group ride I did with you at anadell that one hot day. I bonked so hard and I really just wanted to bail, but everybody encouraged me, and I ended up enjoying the ride. I guess that's what racing is like in a way.

Good to see you Friday ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
screampint said:
Thanks for the write up! I figure I'll be writing some similar story of torture after the 18 hours of Fruita. You wouldn't want to join me in the pain would you?
You know, I would, but I can't! I'm working the weekend of April 30-May1. That's when it is I think? :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Heya pfunk! It was great to see you too. You and your mad skills at Demo, I was impressed. You hit that teeter totter like it was nothing.

Yea racing is wierd, its like painful and discouraging and an emotional rollercoaster and I always swear I won't do it again then I find myself planning my strategy for the next one.
 

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Homegrown
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It's True...

... you are an inspiration. Because of your posts (and Screampint's as well), I am totally encouraged and inspired to ride way more SS this year than ever before. I know that I can do it because you can do it.

Don't underestimate your accomplishments! And remember that there are those of us who rely on your reports to keep us moving...

SheFly
 

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Awesome!

Impy you're an inspiration to all of us. Right now I'm trying out the endurance thing so I'm sticking to my gears, but the more I hear from you and Screampint the more I think I want to add a singlespeed to my bike corral. I think it would be the ultimate test of self, the best way to really see what I'm made of.

Screampint are you doing the 18 hours on the SS?

Mallie
 

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MallieD said:
Screampint are you doing the 18 hours on the SS?
Looks like it, even though most people are bailing on me. I think I have one persont hat will ride with me, no thanks to *rt* and Impy :p Can you believe they won't quit their jobs to race? Of all the nerve...
 

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I mean, really!!!

We women really need to get together and do some lobbying for the two-day workweek, five-day weekend. We'd all be happier and healthier. I think we need to Cyclemainiac in on it since she's already got the lobbying thing down. Formica, too, as she's unstoppable once she "get's started"! :D

I definitely want the full report after 18 hours on the SS. I'm sure you're better prepared than I was, but lemme tell ya, rest before your body demands you rest. I think I could have hit a 7th lap if I'd taken my first real break a lap earlier.
 

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I'm not too worried about the endurance, I'm worried about the night riding. I'm in better shape now than I was when I did the 24 Hours of Moab and the White Rim in a day. Although, the other rides were on geared bikes with front suspension. So I figure 9 hours on a rigid ss can't be too bad, right?:rolleyes:

Most likely the write up, if there is one, won't come until after the FFTF, I'll be incredibly busy the entire week.

As far as the 5 day weekend, I'll help in any way possible!
 

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120 pounds of xc sex!
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nice

Go impy! I think there was a lot of dirt and sand kicked up this year, more than last. I had a asmiatic type attack after finshing the race, and I dont even have ashma....lucky the medics helped me out at the end. I felt all tingly and numb all over, scarry stuff. I even had a high pulse. (I did a lot worse, 2 hr 22 min in beg mens xc, 25-30)

anyways
good job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
carbnjunkie said:
Go impy! I think there was a lot of dirt and sand kicked up this year, more than last. I had a asmiatic type attack after finshing the race, and I dont even have ashma....lucky the medics helped me out at the end. I felt all tingly and numb all over, scarry stuff. I even had a high pulse. (I did a lot worse, 2 hr 22 min in beg mens xc, 25-30)

anyways
good job!
Sorry to hear! It's a pain this asthma thingy. I coughed up junk all the way to LA.

It was great meeting you at the booth. You and JRM were too funny, heckling the passerby's and trying to recruit hotties. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
adlo76 said:
way to go Imp..in fact, i recognize your ride..i even remember watching you crest the Grind while watching some other friends.
A
Thanks for cheering! People at the top there are SO motivating just when you need it!

PS: just saw the movie, love your avatar
 

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wow!

Great work Impy! Racing is a strange animal indeed. Well done sticking it out, phleg, blood, and all. Seems like MTBR.com was quite well represented at SO!
 

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Hey Impy! I was "that girl" on the Haro you kept leapfrogging with! Good to ride with you! Nice write up and congrats on your finish. I was hurting, too...I guess that's what I get for preriding the course twice on the ol' one-geared wonder.

Actually, I think there may have been more than 5 girls in our group...there were a couple that I either saw on the startline or passed who weren't on the podium. I think a few didn't finish.

We need to get more singlespeeding girls to the line at next year's Sea Otter!

Ciao!

Jill :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
downhilljill said:
Hey Impy! I was "that girl" on the Haro you kept leapfrogging with! Good to ride with you! Nice write up and congrats on your finish. I was hurting, too...I guess that's what I get for preriding the course twice on the ol' one-geared wonder.

Actually, I think there may have been more than 5 girls in our group...there were a couple that I either saw on the startline or passed who weren't on the podium. I think a few didn't finish.

We need to get more singlespeeding girls to the line at next year's Sea Otter!

Ciao!

Jill :)
Hey cool! Thanks for speaking up. You were very motivating to me during the most painful part of the race. Congrats!
 
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