With the van packed up early Friday night and Layla dropped off at our trusty dog sitter Scotty, we hit the hay for a short night of sleep. We left Sedona around 3:00 a.m. so we could make it down to Tempe and have plenty of time to set up and be ready for the 7:00 start time. We made it down to Pagago Park right as they opened up the venue. As we pulled in we found Cody waving us down to show us where we would be setting up the Lumberyard FORM solo pit area. We drove the van of some curbs and rocks tucking it away right next to port-a-potty row. Cody’s parents were in attendance also to help us out in the pits for the day.
Once the pit was set up, multiple port-a-potty visits were accomplished, and cold weather gear was strapped on, it was time to head to the starting line. I look at the temperature gauge on the van right before we headed to the starting line and saw it read 27 degrees. Not really what you think of when thinking of racing in Phoenix.
I was happy to find that it was a fairly short Le Mans start because I really didn't feel like running that early in the morning. As the race started it was the normal sound cleats slapping on the hard ground and the jingling of CO2 cartridges and multi-tools in jersey pockets. Once we were on the bikes it was a pretty short time before we on the dirt with the trail narrowing. I didn't go out as hard as I should have so I got caught in stopping and going with the standard bottle necking that occurs when you are not with the front group. Things spread out pretty quick so I just settled into my pace in preparation for a long day. One problem that Sara and I both encountered on first lap was frozen water bottles. I wasn't thinking when I put a couple of filled bottles on each bike outside the van before the drive down. This caused an unplanned pit after the first lap so that we could have some drinkable bottles.
It was great having Cody’s parent at the race. They helped us with our pits and kept us updated on results. It was a weird day as far as nutrition goes for me. I didn't eat anywhere near as much as I usually do but felt great all day. Most of the day, I rode in 3rd place in the Single Speed Solo category and around between 6th and 8th place Solo overall. Sara moved up through the ranks over the first few hours of the race until she got into 2nd place overall. Sara rode a total of 16 laps and held on to her position for the remainder of the day for a 2nd place overall Women Solo finish.
Around 9 hours some things changed for me. Cody who was sitting in 2nd place ahead of me started feeling sick. I could see that I was making up time on him but was surprised to see him sitting in a chair with his helmet off when I came into the pit area. The entire day Hunter Keating was dominating, and I didn't feel like I was going to catch him with him being over a lap ahead with 3 hours left. I just wanted to continue riding steady and hold on to 2nd in the SS. Things were going great until lap 17. I had to slow it down a little due to some cramping. On Lap 18 things got a lot worse. On the climbs the legs started seizing up. I had to stop for a quick stretch at the top. I continued on for most of the lap without issue. It was with about 1.5 miles left to go when the cramps came back. I stopped to stretch one more time but was very surprised to see 3rd place go past. This guy was over 9 minutes behind me only 2 laps ago. I must have really slowed along with my stretching stops. I jumped back on my bike and gave chase. I got on his wheel right before one of the last climbs. I sprinted past him on the climb and put a little gap on him. Once things leveled out it was evident that he was pushing a bigger gear and was feeling stronger than I was at the time. Despite being bumped down a spot on my last lap I was happy with a 3rd Place Solo SS and 8th Overall Solo Finish.
Big thanks for support from Lumberyard FORM and Sedona Bike & Bean. Also, thanks to Cody’s Parents for help the whole day and help from Cody after sickness forced him to bail out. Some other highlights were Rob showing up and riding a partial lap checking in on the team and definitely the kiss from Kaolin in the staging area as I lapped through kept me going.