Cheakamus Challenge

September 26, 2006 · Print This Article

By Shannon Holden

Well what can I say we all have to have a race weekend like the one I just had. Lets just say from leaving the house Friday to drive up to Whistler and race, everything that could have gone wrong did.

The 8 hour drive to Squamish turned into a 12 hour ordeal between traffic and construction. When we got to Squamish the only hotel room we can find is smoking. So we gave it a try. There wasn’t any places open for dinner so we had to make due with what we had. Noah didn’t sleep at all that night so neither did I.

We get up around 7 and we realize we left the race info in Spokane. We had no idea of where it starts, I kind of remembered something about the airport so we finally found it. This should have been the first clue that we should have skipped the race. We finally figure it out.

We start the race, knowing it is about a 4 hours plus race. I decided to start at my own pace and hope to catch the women later. Well this also wasn’t such a great idea. I got behind a ton of people that couldn’t ride up steep hills in the first few climbs so I got to walk my bike and get further and further behind. About 5 miles in my breaks start to fail me chattering along I figure they will last. So feeling good I start to pick up the pace only to be stopped at the highway crossing and loose the pack in front of me. They were stopping us until there was a group of about 20 then letting us cross.

Once going again we head into the forest where the course isn’t marked well so 3 guys and I get lost for about 20 minutes. It must be a male trait, getting lost. These guys had to dig down and ask for some womenly advise for how to get back. So now is where the fun began for me. We hit some really techinical sections and I felt something catch my bike. Well a branch caught my quick release on my rear wheel and opened is so about 2 drops later I lost my rear wheel. Yes I lost my rear wheel! I flatted about halfway through and almost endo’ed, my shifting went bad with 10 miles to go, and I was getting really low on water. I also cramped about this point partially from all the hike-a-bike sections and partially because I had been out for 2 1/2hours plus.

I finally ask one of the guys I was riding with if he had ridden this before, he said yes the climbing had just begun. I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty so I stopped put on the MP3 and ate some Energy sharks and hit the trail with a new attitude….survival.

The best part of the race were the men scattered all around on the side of the course cramping and having to stop. About 5 miles from the finish I ran into my husband who was one of those men cramping. We got to finish together only after I pulled him up the last 3 mile hill climb, I felt pretty good about that. I also felt pretty good about the fact I never saw my heart rate drop below 172bpm, I don’t actully know if that is a good thing.

So a race that should have taken me 4 hours took 5 hours. The top 3 placing I had prepared mentally was gone. The good thing is I got in a great training and some good technical training. I also learned that through adverse situations we become who were are; I may have had almost every mechanical in the book but manged to keep on pushing and finish with a smile. Even better, is now I can’t wait for a Cross race only 1 hour of pure pain rather than 5 hours.

Thanks to all who listen!

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