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“MY Warda Race Experience” by BSS MTB Team Member Kristi Welch

February 9, 2010

All I can say is…WOW!  I have participated in this race since 2006.  However, this year was my 3rd year to race solo and my first year to race a single geared bike.  I am not really sure if that was the best choice or not.  I mean granted, I did NOT want to take a chance on having to replace any expensive items on my fully geared squishy bike.  But at the same time after about lap #3 I sure was wishing I had some gears!

Getting ready for the race I attended a BSS clinic hosted by Sara Krause and Shae Rainer.  They offered many useful tips but the one that stuck out to me most was to make sure you get in your carbs/calories.  Because it is a tad bit harder to eat on the bike than to drink, they suggested I get half of my intake via liquid.  This stuck in my head and I made a solid effort to drink out of my bottle (which was filled with Gatorade) any chance I had.  I am sure people were wondering what the heck I was doing.  I would get a mouthful of water from my camelback and spit it out on the mouthpiece of my bottle.  If you know Warda, you know there are cows roaming…cows roaming = cowpies on the trail.  Super muddy sloppy trail = cowpies mixed in the mud.  I did not want to take any chance of ingesting a cow pie J!

Being on the single speed, I at least did not have to worry about breaking any expensive items…I did however have to worry about crashing – a lot!  I ended up having some technical difficulties with my cleats (especially my right foot).  Once I got it clipped it, it was NOT coming out.  I can’t tell you how many times I got to the top of a little climb, had no more umph, and couldn’t clip out…so of course I had many slow motion wrecks.  You know the one’s where you say to yourself at least 10 times – clip out, clip out, clip out damnit!  I also had one really hard crash.  It was super slippery out there and by my 3rd lap I was already pretty fatigued.  I came up to “roller coaster”, came down a little hill with a big root right in the middle of it.  One that I have never crashed at before and down I go…hard!  I am not as young as I use to be (or as young as I act!).  That one hurt pretty bad.  Lap 4 I thought to myself, ok if  I make through lap 4 with no mishaps I will do a 5th…and I made it just fine, so off for lap number 5 I go.  It was this lap that I realized I had completely broken my front brake and my back brake was whittled down to nothing (v-brakes).  So after super-manning onto a tree (thank God b/c it was a long way down!), I then decided to just make it back alive and be done!

I have to say I am very satisfied with my 4th place overall in the 6 hr female solo division and a 2nd place 6 hr female SS solo division, considering I was racing my old school beater bike!

Congrats to all those who braved the difficult conditions!  It was really one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I pushed myself to my max.  I am sore, bruised, and beat up today…but can’t wait till next year!  Great race Terra Firma!!!

Thanks to BSS…I am looking forward to many more races on this team.  Thanks to Beth for the fabulous support out there all day.  Thanks to Austin Healthworks for supplying the awesome E3 camper and post race recovery session!

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