Standing on the podium, 3rd in my age cat after the Nimby 50... in shock and laughing to myself: 'what the heck am i doing on this Red Bull box??'
Well...I survived the Nimby 50! It was by far the most technical mountain bike race I have ever done (not that I have done very many lol! I think that was my 5th or 6th bike race outside of Adventure Racing?) and I am just happy I crossed the finish line with all my bits and pieces. The Nimby 50 is dubbed as a Technical Marathon XC Bike Race...which fits the bill...but doesn't do the steep descents justice in my opinion! Downhillers and XC Climbers both love and hate this race course for different reasons. I think it was just as challenging for climbers going up as it was for downhillers going down. But I LOVED all of the ups of course:)
Quick race course summary:
- 350ish racers
- Pace car for about 2k then the race really began with a steep gravel road climb for about 15 minutes...
- Squeezed into single track with hundreds of racers meant wheel to wheel traffic on the first descent...if the goal was to spread out the racers it didn't really work lol;) Another 15 minutes down and a quick rip out a flat logging road to the base of the 'switch backs'
- 101 switchbacks on Happy Trail they say...I won't ever know for sure as I stopped counting at two. But there were a lot that is for sure! They seemed to get tighter at the top...especially when turning to the right lol;). Half way up I tried to shove fuel and water into my mouth on the go and managed to accidentally chew one of my s-caps. Yummm mouth full of salt anyone? Working through that while trying to hold a steady cadence and not get passed by the pack of dogs nipping at my tire was an interesting challenge:). To the top in about 1:55? at the parachute launch...which apparently had an amazing view...next time!
- Up and down and over to the 'Red Bull Downhill' section where we got timed to see how fast we could get down to the bottom. HA! More on that below...let's just say it was a nice walk:) Times ranged from 6-16+minutes...I set a record for the day on that one and you know it wasn't for the fastest descent:)
- At the end of the Red Bull section and about 2.5hours it was time to 'start the race'. In my head this is where I wanted to start working and challenging my legs. It was another hour of punch ups, steep climbs and the equivalent going down- but much more spread out and varying than the first half. A bit of this a bit of that and you really had to be on your toes- it was really fun! I was back and forth and back and forth with other racers- I climb up they rip down and so on.
- After the final descent we hit the train tracks and I knew I had done it. I let out a big wooohooo and hammered it home with a big old smile on my face. I survived the Nimby! It was big gears and burning quads all the way to the finish line and I managed to pass a few more peeps who were beyond finished on those last couple of kms of road.
- 3:35ish, 3rd place (big lungs little balls) and the best post-race food I have ever had! Homemade felafels anyone? And...I must admit...I had my first post-race Caesar too:) YUM!
A cardio queen like myself loves the feeling of pushing pushing pushing up up up. Looping strong and smooth circles over and over...sprinting hard to pass whenever there is a chance...hammering up punchy inclines...popping up and over mini mountains of rock...trying to stay on the bike as long as physically possible regardless of the level of pain...chest and chin sitting on the handle bars...balance...endurance...the burn... These are all the things I love and Nimby had plenty of them!
Problem is...the harder the climb, the harder the descent and what goes up must go down- unfortunately for me:( Yes I am working to overcome my irrational fears of going down steep hills, riding wet rocks and sliding on slippery slopes. Yes I have made big improvements this spring since getting to know my new Giant Anthem 29er. Yes, I have managed to nearly get back to my level of confidence that I had before fracturing my ankle two years ago. And yes, I even rode twice as much of the downhill sections than I walked during my Nimby scouting trip 2 weeks prior. Yay me right?
Well...let's just say all that didn't seem to add up to much Yay on race day lol;) Here is why you won't see me in any of the awesomely rad downhill photos on the website;) I did the walk of shame many times on the course, probably risking my life more by trying to carry my bike down rocks in my little clickity clack shoes. To tell the truth, I am so over any 'shame' of walking my bike down completely rideable stuff that I think it might be limiting my progress- perhaps a little 'shame' could be a good thing:) I spent most of the timed 'Red Bull Downhill' section standing on the side of the trail cheering on the other racers and watching in awe as they rode sweet lines and ripped up the single track. After the clock started I actually stopped to let air out of my tires. Yup, I did just admit that:) I grabbed a snack. The only thing I didn't do was put on 'my pads' lol:) Silly rabbit...looking back I apparently forgot that I was in a race!
I was not there to win, that is for sure. I was there to gain race experience for the BC Bike Race, to get a solid weekend of training in and to change my perspective on 'steep'. I reached my goals for the day for sure. We will see if I can get my head around bike 'racing' rather than 'riding' in time for the BCBR, which is a big switch that hasn't gone on yet for me. As a coach and athlete I know what I need to do to turn the switch. I just wonder if I will be ready to do it by the July long weekend...
Great race, well organized, well marked, great energy, awesome volunteers, best post race food ever! Thank you to the organizers and volunteers for your time, energy and passion!! Good times!