Carson City was the third race in the Epic Rides series, on a course which took us up one massive 7,000ft climb to the top of the mountains on the east side of Lake Tahoe over the first 35 miles and then plummeted us back down again in one big 15 mile descent. It was freaking epic. Much of the 52 miles of the race saw us racing on trails etched into the sides of mountains with sweeping views of Carson City, Lake Tahoe, the Marlette/Tahoe double lake situation and endless forests of pine trees. It was ridiculously pretty, endlessly ridiculously pretty. Basically I was super pissed off most of the time because I borrowed Brendan's Camelbak, put my phone in a ziplock baggie in a zippered pouch (it rained on us some, so wanted it to be waterproof) and couldn't get to it to take pictures. This probably helped me a lot though, because had my phone been in my pocket I would have taken A LOT of mid-race pictures, despite all the flack I've gotten in the past for such antics :)
|Pretty cool to get some pictures riding alone in a group with these two heros. I was in bike race fan girl mode big time here :) Photo: Dave McElwain|
|Ash to Kings from my pre-ride.|
|Waterfalls on course!|
By the top of the fire road, as we rolled into the first aid station I had somehow caught all but the lead group of 4, and was shockingly 45 seconds behind the leaders. I was really really suprised, but very worried I had ridden too fast and caught them too soon, which might mean blowing up before the last 2,000ft climb to the high point of 8,600ft above sea level.
I didn't have to worry too long though because right about then is when the dude in the feed zone asked me what the quadratic formula was, which was both awesome and awful because it distracted me from being worried/stressed but it also got that DAMN SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD for the rest of the race! It's not like I didn't spend enough of the school year singing that dang song! Then I saw Brendan and was stoked to tell him I had made use of his barplugs!
|Another nice view of the trail from our pre-ride.|
So I continued to race my own race, conscious of the elevation and not wanting to go into the red before the last heinous pitch. When I got to the Flume trail there were no course markings, and having not pre-ridden I had NO idea which way to go. I had to stop and was about to pull out my phone to look at a map when I saw a dude with a number plate on the trail below me. Hoping I wasn't hallucinating I dropped into the trail. Flume trail provided another good 15 minutes of extreme frustration as I wanted so badly to take pictures, but couldn't get to my phone. Also not pre-riding that section meant I was a little freaked about hitting my bars on a rock and falling off a cliff to my death, so I went the safe route and didn't pin it.
The climb following Flume didn't hurt as much as I expected, I started cautiously hard and waited until I was pretty sure we were near the top to empty the tank (which looks like a sad sort of effort given the elevation). And then it was all pushing as hard as possible on trails I had never ridden screaming downhill to Carson City. Some of the fire road was crazy steep with ruts, so I was channeling Carl trying to ride the shoulders of the ruts as fast as possible. I almost died like 4 times, and am shocked that despite smacking my bars on trees, and clipping my pedals on rocks I stayed upright and made it to town in 4th place!
Overall it was one heck of a good weekend, complete with the most amazing meal at a farm to table restaurant in Carson City we stumbled into on accident, a result I'm super proud of because it came despite adversity, and plenty of time spent with good friends and Roger. Thanks again to EpicRides for continuing to blow my mind with your outrageously fun, scenic races! I don't know how you do it, but every race is better than the last!