As it happens, the SM100 fell on my 29th birthday. Yup, the last birthday in my 20s …and I still don’t feel like a grown-up. In addition to being my birthday, it was also my first experience with the illustrious 100 miler. And so …this is how I spent my birthday ….a day comprised of a generous supply of both climbing and cake.
I should begin my race report by describing the ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL birthday cake that Jeff made for me. What that man does with icing is almost as amazing as what he can do on a bike. You might notice the outline of Maryland located in the center of the cake with a flower placed strategically over the location of Frederick (aka our soon to be hometown!!!!! Yay!!!! Housewarming party details soon to follow.) (photo: Jeff's shoulder recovery regime)
Alright, so we lined up 500 racers deep and set off roughly somewhere around 6:30am. Our spirits were lifted by the loud IF guy who relentlessly belted out Led Zeppelin tunes into the chill morning air. Mayhem ensued as we were all funneled onto a narrow gravel road careful to make our way around the stalled lead moto.
Maybe about 30 minutes later I noticed my saddle felt a bit strange …a little crooked …like it had moved a considerable amount? As it happens, I snapped one of the rails on my saddle. Wow, this makes for the third time I have broken a saddle/seat post clamp …must be all that badunkadunk.
At aid station #1 I inquired about a possible spare saddle ….but to not avail. I rode on, perched lightly on my saddle in effort to avoid adding further stress to the one rail that remained. Arriving at aid station #2 volunteers swarmed each rider as they approached. The race support really was amazing. Thanks again! It was here that I met Will of the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club. It was he who kindly lent me both his seat post and saddle, allowing me to safely continue with the remaining 75 miles without fear of impalement. Thanks again Will for your selfless generosity!!!!
I have yet to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, but I can now say that I have ridden roughly 75 miles on someone else’s saddle ….a saddle that may have been more appropriate for a male rider. I have always been appreciative of women’s specific equipment; however, the pain I endured throughout the hills of the Shenandoahs brought this appreciation to an entirely different level.
Aside from the saddle issue (which I was happy to share with anyone who was willing to listen) and a few other small mechanicals ….it was a pretty good day. My legs actually felt pretty good …although other parts of my body were not so good. I rolled across the line somewhere around 11:30 …not exactly the time I was hoping for …but all in all I was pleased with the day. My only regret really is that I didn’t take nearly enough photos.
Oh, and many thanks to Gwadzilla for always being a friend and for his willingness to listen to my endless rants on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.
In other news, Jeff landed himself on the podium in third place behind Chris and Sam. A recent shoulder injury made for tricky bike handling in some of the more technical sections of the course. Many thanks to Goat for showing me her tricks with the Kinesio tape! Also, congrats to Cheryl for her victory in the women’s field! Nice racing!
That night Jeff and I made our way home with only one thought on our mind ….birthday cake.