Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wildcat Epic NUE

It was a day of cat and mouse at the Wildcat 100 NUE #3. I would feel strong, pass a bunch of riders, only to go off course, and have to start the charge again.

The point in the day that I almost completely lost it was 1 mile from the finish area, where the poor course markings had yet again sent me off course. This time it was a 3- mile descent, where myself and another rider ended up having to wave down a passing car that's driver told us we were over the other side of the hill from the venue. That added on 20 minutes to an already long day!

You know that way where you are so close to the end (we had actually ridden past our parked car’s where the race started!), you can’t force any more sugar in your body, your fuse is on the edge, it’s been almost nine hours and you just want to get off your bike?! I had been in second place the entire day, and was gutted to think I may have lost my placing.

To add insult to injury, when we arrived at the finish line, the organizers told us we still had another 2 miles of up-to-your-knees, soupy, thick muddy trails to complete. My face was a picture I am sure! Thankfully Cindy Koziatek, co-owner of Stan’s NoTubes, was at the finish area and cheered me on, giving me at least some motivation. She also settled my nerves (and a bit of whining!) that I had lost 2nd place during my 20-minute detour. It turned out I got lucky, and had held my place. Cindy had attempted the 100K and had also ended up riding completely off course and was forced to pull out. It’s disappointing to see so many people turn up to a race, eager, ready, only to be prevented from finishing due to forces out with their control.

NUE podium: Kathleen Harding, Cheryl Sornson, Vicki Barclay (Photo: John Tikla for Cycling News)
The race could be amazing if they drastically improved their course markings (read: actually have course markings!). The scenery was stunning: a huge waterfall, mountain top lake with scarp rock we rode across, fun singletrack. But all those positives were completely marred by poor race management and guidance.

So what’s next? Well, after 6 straight weekends of non-stop racing, I am looking forward to a weekend off before TSE starts. The Stan’s NoTubes crew (Cindy, Rich, Richie, Mike, Sue, myself etc.) will be at Dirt Fest this weekend, so you should definitely stop by and chat to our lovely folks and test some wheels (May 17-19 at Raystown Lake ). Sarah and Amanda will be arriving next Tuesday, so they can get used to the sweaty rocks of PA before TSE! See you all out there!

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