Greenbrier Race Report
This is my first one, so lets see how it goes…
I started with about a dozen women because they combined the 20-29s with the 30-39s to start. There were actually 6 in my class, including Becky and Paula from CityBikes, too.
The start was fine, nothing spectacular, I was in the second line because I hate sitting on the starting line cooling off from my warmup, so the first line was filled by the time I got there.
Went up the gravel and onto the trail in the middle of the pack. I am a slow climber and was passed by at least one person, but pushed as hard as I could. It really helps to know the trail as well as I know Greenbrier so I didn’t burn out near the top as I often do. Then it was a nice down, and I was able to catch up with some folks. I followed closely through the rock garden, maybe even passed someone, can’t really remember. (How do you all give such detailed reports?!?) I got passed by a couple of the guys who started behind me near the little stream crossing. Then soon after the big hill. I walked most of it, as did everyone else around me. I was able to make up some time by walking faster than some, and reached top with Becky and Ann not too far ahead. I got back on right after the downed tree and rode on. I kept those two in sight for awhile, but then lost them. I bombed down the middle downhill, passed a couple of guys from earlier classes. I caught up to Ann again and passed her, and then was passed by her and Scud on the next up hill. In practice I was able to make it up this hill, but at race pace, I had already expended too much, I guess and had to walk the last steep part. Then I knew it was pretty much all down hill from here. I got back on and went as fast as I could. On the orange trail I got behind some kid who was going a little slow on the down, and I was about to pass him, but then we hit the little uphill section and he put some distance on me. I think I caught and passed him on the rocky wet downhill, though. Then it was around the lake and off to do it again.
My back was cramping up really badly, so on the first up hill I decided if I had to get off the bike to let it uncramp (usually only takes 15 or so seconds of standing up) I would lose the least amount of time on the uphill. I remounted, went as fast as I could, dismounted again on the big uphill. I passed the third woman who was ahead of me, she appeared to have some kind of mechanical by the downed tree. Hopped back on the bike, flew down the hill, walked some of the next up again (gotta add some hill sprints to my training!!), and then went as fast as I could to reach the finish. Somewhere along the way, the woman with the mechanical passed me. I used every ounce of energy I had left to get to the finish line as fast as I could, and ended up with a 4th place finish.
I was within 4-5 minutes of Becky, who finished first, so I was pretty happy with the result. If I can get a little faster on the hills, and keep my back from cramping up, I maybe could have podiumed. I was psyched that I seem to be pretty fast on the downhills, and was able to pass some people there.