This time last year I was in Missoula, Montana with a different racing mindset and chasing as many UCI points as possible. After a hard race that weekend I was driving home with my dad scrolling through instagram and saw that many top domestic pros and amateurs at a weekend long event put on by Epic Rides called “The Carson City Offroad.” I had no idea what the Carson City Offroad was or what I would be getting myself into, but I was hoping to make it to this event in 2017 and marked it on my racing calendar. After all the name “epic rides” sounds nothing but “epic” and it being in Carson City I figured “hey we must ride some awesome Tahoe trails since we aren’t that far away.” Turns out, I had one of those assumptions correct. This race would be epic, but we wouldn’t be ripping around Tahoe trails.
The last time I had raced had been State Championships and with a busy couple weeks with graduation, working, and a down week from the bike I was more than happy to get back to spending the weekend at a race. The weekend before the race my Scott teammates Stella, Alexander, and I headed up to pre-ride a long lap of the course to get a feel of the terrain, how to ride the course and pace ourselves, and learn where the valuable aid stations would be. Pre riding the week before was very beneficial and as the week went by the temperature seemed to heat up for a hot weekend in the Nevada desert.
Friday rolled around and I met up with my teammate Cody to make the drive up to Carson City for the pro riders meeting in the Capitol Building at 2pm. Taking advantage of extra time we decided to take a little detour and do a couple shuttles of Corral in South Lake and spin around for a little bit before the fat tire crit that evening. I was psyched to hop on the crit course for my warm up as I thought of my strategy for this 20 minute plus 3 lap all out effort. The course winding through downtown and quiet neighborhoods held plenty of wide open flat sections with a little bit of wind coming into tight turns. I knew we would be punching it the whole time and that positioning would be important to conserve energy and save myself from a potential crash or getting bumped around by some ladies. I finished my warm-up and rolled to the line towards the back but in a good spot to move up within the first couple of turns. The gun shot off and in an instant I had my bars tangled with another rider and I was on the ground. I got up as quick as I could and worked super hard for half of a lap to catch the tail end of the group. I was feeling good and full of adrenaline so I moved myself up farther in the group not realizing that I was burning a match by doing this… Within a couple laps I was smoked and was dropped now soft pedaling waiting to get pulled. I was bummed for the crit to go down this way, but it made me excited for the thought of redemption on Sunday morning.
Saturday consisted of spinning to the venue and cheering on my teammates Alexander, Stella, and Sean in the Capitol 35. They all looked super strong out there on their Scott Sparks and Scales and Alexander won his category and overalled the whole race while Stella took a win in her category. Within 2 hours of their finish, my dad, his girlfriend, and my coach Jon Hyatt rolled in to the finish with their 50 mile races done and dusted. Everyone I talked to was very happy to have their races out of the way and had plenty of stories and experiences to share.
Now it was my turn… there isn’t a ton to say about this one besides I spent plenty of time pushing the pedals up and down the mountain 3 times;) This totally was totally me riding my own race since I have never done an endurance race as challenging as this one in an experienced field of professional women. Right away I let the group get away from me and settled into my own groove. I didn’t really think of any thoughts or feel any pain as I effortlessly kept pedaling. I would catch ladies in my sights or a couple people out there on course, but other than that it was just my trusty steed and I going along. I came in around mile 35 before heading out on my third lap and at this point I was feeling fatigued. I was out of food, water, the bottoms of my feet were in tremendous pain from the stiffness of the shoe. Luckily, my dad and Kathy were in the aid station with everything I needed to get me through this next two hours on course and I was back going again and across the finish line with a smile and 54 miles with 7200 feet of climbing in my legs. I am so stoked to finish this “epic ride” and gain valuable experience and mental toughness. Now, a few weeks at home and then off to West Virginia for nationals!