August 21, 2019 - "Don't Do Anything New On Race Day!"
Well, I did it! Steamboats CO Gravel Race Black course. 140 miles of gravel, 9800 elevation gain starting at 6700 ft of elevation, and took 8th in my age group - got my @ss handed to me! Our rule of "nothing new on race day" was thrown out the window the moment I signed up for the race; never road gravel before, used Adam's power tap pedals so that I could have something for power, rented a gravel bike from the Bike Hub, but never had a real fitting. I have a profound level of respect for gravel bike racers! It is so very technical and takes a large amount of confidence/skill. I ate dust and had rocks kicked up in my face, but, hey, the course was beautiful! I was literally scared and hesitant for the first 20-30 miles because there was so much soft gravel and/or sandy, that my bike was all over the place! I honestly thought to myself, "what the hell was I thinking? You are out of your element! Can you do this?" I was passed like I was standing still by athletes that had confidence and great bike control. At that point is what my own mental game; knowing my limits but also knowing I can do anything.As far as the course; I got to go out and around Steamboats, through farm country, and directly through peoples' actual farms! The hills were very challenging, meaning you had to leave it all on the course. The aid stations were spaced great and I cant rave enough about the volunteers! I made new friends, created long-lasting memories, have new tan lines, and might create a love for gravel if I overcome my PTSD! I had bonked because I didn't hydrate ahead of time. I was so focused on the course and every detail of the gravel, that I literally didn't want to let go of the handle bars as often as I would on pavement. I am a stronger rider now, mentally and physically. I am not walking away empty handed, no doubt.