Wednesday, September 18, 2013:
- 29 miles, 5118 ft of elevation gain
- Named for the Brevard town mascot - the White Squirrel
- Includes Thrift Cove, Buckhorn Gap, Club Gap and Avery Creek Trails
- Rest Stop 1 - Mile 14
- Rest Stop 2 - Mile 22
I woke up feeling about 55%. As the morning went on, my back started feeling a little bit looser but still tender. We lined up and the gun went off. I went for it, but after about 2 minutes, I realized that my body was not ready yet. I had spent so much energy protecting my back yesterday that I had almost not power. I rode on the outside of the trail to let the hordes behind me get past. And then I settled in to my pace.
Nothing to do but ride. It is frustrating. Having trained more consistently than ever before, knowing that my legs are stronger, doing everything right and then an uncontrollable weakness creeps in. I've been dealing with back issues since college. I was on a humanitarian trip, helping build a concrete wall for a community center in the Caribbean. I was digging a trench all day in the hot sun and completely destroyed my back. 2 weeks of bed rest and then 6 months of physical therapy and I was able to run again.
Nothing left to do but ride.
I spent most of the day alone. Sycamore, Thrift, Black, Maxwell, aid station 1, the gravel road of death climb, Club Gap, Avery, rest stop 2. I stopped to refill, get Coke, and eat some chips. Pedaling down the hill to the horse stables, I didn't think about much except the 4 mile climb up gravel. Clawhammer to Maxwell. I hit the inline and click up a gear, spun, click up, it felt good. I had some power back so I found my normal race pace and held it there for a few seconds. The seconds turned into minutes and I was making some headway up the giant mountain. Something had clicked and I was feeling about 85% now. I went with it, and help my pace to the top.
Then I started thinking about the Squirrel, Laurel, Pilot Loop on tap for Thursday and wondered if I just might be able to move up a little out of my current 10th place ( in my cat: 40+).
Up over the last climb and down to the finish, feeling satisfied.
I spent the afternoon before dinner hanging out with the "freaking" Canadians: Joel, Anna, Mark and Christian. They are fun loving, kind people, who talk a bit funny eh? But they fed me spaghetti, beer and Mark even washed my bike for me.
Thursday is going to be special!