I had an excellent 2 days in Ridgway after working in Southern Utah last week. It was really great to be in the hood again. Dinner with couch potato, breakfast with Andy at Artisan, and a little hang time at Peak to Peak Bike Shop with Danika while she was building some Yetis.
I headed over Red Mountain, Coal Bank and Molas Passes to Durango on Friday afternoon. After picking up my race stuff, I ambled up to the Compton Compound. Though Moira, Ted and C were out of town (in Alaska--how is that more exciting than Iron Horse?), I still had the invite to stay there. Superawesome Katri was also staying there to take care of all the animals (dogs, horses and a barn cat).
Saturday was the Iron Horse road race. Its a 50 mile point to point race from Durango to Silverton. It climbs about 5700 ft and goes over two passes. It is not what you would exactly call "my" "strong" "suit." But it really is a super cool, amazing beautiful race.
The race started out mellow since the 1st 10 miles are pretty flat. Kris Walker (aka Coach K) was not content to tool across the valley and she attacked pretty much right away. I bridged up to her and we worked together on the flats. No one ever gets away on the flats so I figured we'd get caught soon. But Coach K was intent on helping me get a little head start on the climb...and, thanks to her, we got to the top of the 1st climb ahead of the field. I knew big guns Mara Abbott and Alisha wouldn't really be too worried about us being in front for a while, but hoped that I might gain a little on the rest of the field and force other people to work some so my 2 stellar climbing teammates could chill out for a bit.
Being in a break with my coach so great and a really neat experience. I will definitely remember that one for a while. While we were off the front, we joked that maybe we would get a Giro day, and sort of slip away unnoticed. But this race is really way too hard for that, and there were too many talented girls.
At the top of the 1st climb, Mara passed us. Kris and I tried to hang with her but she was super strong and as soon as the road pitched slightly up, she was gone. Really impressive.
Shortly after Mara passed us, Marisa, Alisha and Alison Testroete caught us. It was so cool to be able to ride with these girls at this point in the race. ALL of the girls (not just my teammate) all gave me the thumbs up for being able to even hang in that long. They were pretty much just tempo'ing the climbs and I had to give'r to even just hang on their wheels--but still, I was just psyched for that. Whenever the road flattened out I went to the front and pulled as hard as I could to try to minimize the gap to Mara. I pulled to the base of Coal Bank pass and then those girls started to do their thing.
And that's when I basically started my own self-motivational program. I was super tired, worked over, ad waiting for the rest of the field to pass me on the steepest climb of the day. However, it didn't end up so bad after all. As I was entering the pain cave, I heard my name--teammate Kasey came riding up--looking fresh as a daisy. I gasped out what was happening ahead and gave her the woot woot to go catch the next group. As I got closer to the top of Coal Bank, Shantelle caught and passed me (giving me a little encouragement on the way). I caught back up to Shantelle on the descent but couldn't hang up Molas. Everyone says Molas Pass isn't as bad and I suppose I would generally agree but I was completely tapped out at that point and it was all I could do to get myself to the top, worrying about being passed the whole time.
However, I made it into Silverton without anyone else passing me (phew, relief) and was met at the finish line by Marisa and Kasey who ended up finishing 2nd and 5th. Awesome! Alisha finished 3rd, Alison Testrote was 4th, Shantelle was 6th and Coach K was 7th. 8th is the best I've ever finished at Iron Horse and I was about 7 minutes faster than my time from last year--so I was psyched.
Had a fabulous afternoon and evening with the Mapels and then came back to chez Compton for some recovery times. I also ended up taking a yoga class taught by Mara Abbott which was really cool. I definitely had to retreat to child's pose several times during the class--but felt better afterward.
This afternoon is the crit...It should be a lot of fun and hopefully we will do well too! Send us your speedy vibes and thanks for reading!
Write up about the race here
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