Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Unicorn Redemption (Part IV of Spokane Round and Round)

After a deliriously high lap 3, I slept hard for nearly three hours.  Apparently going without caffeine had been a great decision.  I woke up, stretched a bit, had some food and yes, coffee, then got ready.  I then made my way to the start line, where I signed in for my lap, then chatted for a bit with some friends from Bike Works in Seattle.  In hardly any time, TBD crossed the finish line on his final lap, going strong and looking great!

I headed out, dressed in full unicorn regalia to mark this final lap.  The unicorn first came out to play at the Magnuson Cyclocross race last fall, and I'm sad to report that she had less than stellar results.

 I really wanted to redeem this unicorn, and I was feeling great with a few hours of good sleep, a full belly, and a chance to do one more lap in the sunshine.


Out on the course, everything felt so much easier than in the middle of the night. My brain wasn't fuzzy, my reflexes all worked properly, and I felt energized zipping through the trees.

Feeling frisky approaching Devil's Up, I really wanted to nail this section. Dodging other riders, most of whom were walking, I put my head down, committed to a line, and spun my cranks as smoothly as I could.  Spin, spin, spin.... wheel left, wheel right, wheel left... and there I was!  I made it to the top of the pitch, still in my pedals, woo hoo!  Unicorn power slayed this Devil!!!

Across the ridge I scampered, holding my unicorn head high.  I headed into Devil's Down with a handful of other riders.  The pitch was lined with spectators and photographers.  Everyone was cheering and hollering- the energy was fabulous.

We thinned out through the descent, and I made my way solo through Strawberry Fields, feeling great.  A faster lady caught me, and I hung on her wheel for awhile, watching a bird swoop down and almost straight into her helmet.  We both laughed, then chatted a bit about what a glorious race this had been.

I stayed with her for quite awhile, through Take a Little Piece of my Heart. I lost contact with her on the climb up to Purple Haze, but that was ok.  I was feeling great about my race.  At this point, I started to catch some slower moving solo contestants.  Their legs pedaled methodically, but many of them had vacant looks in their eyes- it was clear that they were in a different reality than I was at that moment.  Some were more with it than others- one guy had an alarm that went off every hour, reminding him to eat.  No one was smiling, and some bore tear streaks through dusty channels in their weary faces.  I felt reverence for them all.

Topping out on the last climb, I couldn't stop smiling because I knew I was headed home for my last lap of this race.

Coming around the last corner, the other Bodacious Booties cheered and yelled, ringing cowbells and brandishing their beers (yes, beers at 11 am- don'y judge, we've been up for 30+ hours!).
I finished up and checked my time- 1:15!! So much faster than I expected, and my second fastest time all weekend.  I rolled back to camp triumphantly, declaring a victory for the Unicorn.

I got out of my unicorn clothes, cracked a beer, and donned a lawn chair to cheer for Jill, our final Bodacious Booty.  She came through about an hour later, looking so strong, big grin cheek to cheek.

We later learned that she did the entire second half of lap in her big ring, completely by accident- but still, a monumental feat. She is such a bad ass and gave us a super strong finish.

Exhausted and happy, The Bodacious Booties stuffed ourselves with lasagna at the awards festivities, then lingered at camp, nursing beers, legs up, chatting with other riders, including a team of two that did around 10 laps each. Finally, in the mid afternoon, we packed up camp then headed up the hill to my mom's house to shower, eat dinner, and veg out.

All in all, it was an amazing experience. In total, the Bodacious Booties did 19 laps, and a whopping 285 miles. Woo hoo! I can't wait to do another 24 hour race.

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