Liz finished the SM100 in 11 hours, 42 minutes, and 31 seconds. She was the first female Team Bike Lane finisher, and the third from the team to finish. What follows is her account of the weekend:
“We came here to NOT have fun.”
–Hayne, on the road to Shenandoah Mountain
From “I’m so happy to be here, I’m just so happy” Russ to the unending hilarity of people banging their heads against that lantern, somehow Team TBL may have missed the unstated purpose of the SM100…. to suffer. All.Day.Long. On the other hand, if a team could get the Rock Star Award, we would have won by acclamation. If nothing else, we get the Having the Most Fun at the Highest Decible Level Possible award.
For me, the weekend did not start out well….. on Saturday I was riding the bike around the campground, tried to shift, the derailleur cable split and all the wires and other STUFF in there popped out. I owe Joe a huge debt of gratitude (and a six pack), he had cables and housing, and fixed my bike in no time. But it wasn’t over yet…. a bunch of us went for a short pre-ride, I heard a POP and something felt drastically wrong on the bike… a spoke had broken in two; yes, on a road ride. Major crisis now: the wheel was totally out of true and no way was I riding down off of Shenandoah Mountain with a wheel on the edge of implode. Shenandoah Bike Company, the local bike shop, closed in 45 minutes, so Plum Grove Pete (an honorary TBL’er for the weekend) and I raced into Harrisonburg, where Kyle the Wonder Mechanic fixed it, even keeping the shop open late to finish the job.
The day of the race dawned cool and clear…. the first couple of climbs and road sections seemed easy, though the Narrowback Ridge entrance was backed up by about 30 people and of COURSE I had the requisite douche bag behind me complaining the entire way that people weren’t riding. Said he was going to subtract 10 minutes from his time just for this part. “Hey dummy, if you want to ride this part you have to hammer the road section AND the climb we just came up. Since you are HERE, you obviously don’t have the skillz, so shut up already!”
It was GREAT to see Nick and Dave Crouse at Aid Station 3, and Andrew and RJ at Aid Station 5. I was really suffering by the time I got to 5, the awesome volunteers there took my bike, got my drop bag, helped me change my gloves (really, I was so deep in the hole by then, the glove thing had me completely befuddled), tried to clean my glasses, and then literally pushed me out of the station (I would have gladly hung out for a while). At that point I was thinking I could finish at close to 11 hours.
The descent off of Shenandoah just killed me. It was the kind of riding I hate most: babyhead rocks that weren’t actually attached to the ground, steep, 2 inches of dust, and everything hurt….I just couldn’t go as fast as I needed to. By the time I made it to the bottom I knew I’d be lucky to make last year’s time. Didn’t stop at AS6, had to stop twice on Hankey to stretch, but hauled once I made the turn toward Stokesville. I love seeing the back of that campground, one of the best sights in the whole world.
Finished in 11:42, 17 minutes better than my best time.
I am soooo looking forward to volunteering next year!