There were 20 of us in the Open Women category, which I was happy about. Nice to have a big field for a change. My goal was top 5, but I honestly just wanted to race smart for 6 hours. Drink plenty, eat, not go out too hard. Just wanted to feel good while racing. And I even got to try out my new bike that I picked up two days earlier. A Superfly 100 that I only rode once the day before while preriding the course.
The preride felt great and I figured why not race it for 6 hours. I knew It would be a lot more fun on a new bike. Which it was. It's my first 29er and the first time I've been on full suspension in about 5 years. The day before I put on a longer stem. Switched out the seat post & seat. Didn't have time to make it tubeless, so just aired down, but not too low.
Once the race started, I knew it would be a fast start w/ Jane in the lineup, which it was. And I was surprised that I was second or third after her heading down the fireroad. But, then I backed off, let a few pass and got back on the train. I didn't want to blow myself up too quick. Last year I did that at this same race and finished in third at the end, but I remember feeling pretty bad after a few laps last year.
During this race, I did have to adjust the gear cables several times, as it was loosening up/mis-shifting, but I still had lots of fun. Tires on it seemed to do well, except in that last muddy trail, Wishing Well. Which I'm sure was pretty slippery from most, from what I heard. Conditions were mostly good at Stewart. Several muddy areas, a few slippery rocks, but really not that bad at all overall. And the rain held off for the most part. The first lap was crazy. The Cat 2 guys started right behind us, so it always gets pretty crazy when several of them pass in a rush. And if you let one pass, you normally have to let a train of them pass. Luckily, no crashes, although I had to walk a couple things because of other riders stopping, but that's no big deal. And the other laps were less crowded, which was really nice. I was really enjoying the bike and knew I was in top ten. On my last lap, I started feeling the slight start of a cramp in my quad, so I had more gels & drank more. I had time to do a 6th lap, but decided against it. Which I kind of wish I did, but either way, I had a good race. I finished in 5th out of 20 on my new bike. Pretty happy w/ that result.