And I did!! Though not without a small casualty.
I need to be clear in my vision than just "keeping the rubber side down"... as I did... though heard the ever so soft c-r-a-c-k on one of the steep descents as the bike rebounded abruptly with the saddle jabbing my ribcage! Ouch!
Still had 1 1/2 laps to go and I was adamant to finish. Fortunately for strong abs, I braced my core on any rough sections. Inspiration thinking of Nicki Rehn who x-c skied the last 20-km of the Birkie this year after hurting her ribs in a spill.
The weather started out nice with the sunshine drying out the previous day's carnage of muddy trails. Two laps in had drizzling rain for 30 minutes. Then the sun came out again while we navigated our way thru the refreshed muddy trails. Made for a super epic challenging day... it would have been too easy if it was dry!
photo Jason Redfern
Loop was 11-km with 1060' elevation gain. I managed to complete 6 loops in 5+ hours. Fastest loop was 45 min, slowest was 55 min (with a cracked rib!).
My strength was the climbing sections. My age showed through on the technical descents as I balked more than ever. I have barely been on the mtnbike for a year now. I know with more practice I'll get back in the saddle on these sections. Without enough practice it is un-nerving to have high-energy guys behind me on a technical descent. I kept letting them go ahead and then lost my momentum to roll smoothly.
All in all, an awesome race course and one of my favourite races. I have lots to learn to ride on this course. I got to watch the smooth technical riding of Kate Aardal (1st), Margie Smith (2nd), and Shantel Koenig (1st mixed) as they went by. It was also a good group of guys I saw each lap as they descended faster and I ascended past them!