Race Report: Bailey Hundo

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The second annual Bailey Hundo kicked off with a bang (a shotgun bang to be precise) on Saturday morning at 6 AM sharp. Here is my report from the 2010 Bailey Hundo last June if you want bonus reading!

This year, it looked like there were about 250 racers signed up. I believe last year was about 100 so there was some nice growth for the event.  I rode my 20 lb Canyon Grand Canyon CF hardtail which felt soooo light compared to my loaded full suspension I’ve been riding around, complete with almost all my bags and gear weighing 32-34 lbs depending on the day!

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I was hoping to come into the event with some super fitness from the Transylvania Epic. I had 2 weeks off with a couple of solid workouts in between. Full recovery from a stage race can take a couple weeks, and if you weren’t fresh going into the stage race, it can take much longer. I was in denial about my predicament and simply hoped for the best. After taking the W for 2010, I wanted to stand on the top spot of the podium again.

I wanted to stay with the lead group of men at the start for as long as I could, and I definitely was working hard to do so. At a certain point, I had to pull the plug on that idea and backed way off. I think I had one match for the day, and I burned it on the first climb. Whoops. From there, I was going backwards in the men’s field. I hadn’t seen any ladies, but I wondered how long it would take before I was passed. It felt like I was creeping up every climb and my legs were sore and burning. They felt that way during openers the day before, but I tried to ignore that too.  That was the story of my 100 mile race.  Things didn’t get much better.  I was able to push a good heart rate, but it didn’t feel like a lot of power was behind my pedal stroke.  Sometimes, races can be won simply by pressing on.

I made a poor decision regarding tire selection. The singletrack was very loose and I thought that my tire width would be ok. As my friend Brian Sells said, “It’s kitty litter surfin’!” I chose skinnier tires than I’ve used all year simply because there are about 40 miles of dirt road in the race. I paid for it dearly on the trail. I was all over the place and could not ride as aggressively as I normally do. If I pushed it, down I’d go. The first crash wasn’t bad, I just lost my wheels in a corner and bloodied my knee (and also whacked the part of my leg that is still recovering from the TSE injury). No major harm done, and plus a little blood looks cool, right?)  It was the second crash that took the wind out of my sails around mile 25. Somehow I lost traction again going downhill, but the consequences were more severe. I flew over my handlebars like superman. It all went in slow motion, but I could actually see the ground moving underneath me. Both of my knees hit the handlebars as I went over and I landed on my wrists and forearm. I looked back in shock and saw my right shoe was still on my bike and clipped in the pedal. I do wear my shoes a little loose because of my bunions, but for my foot to come out, I must have had some substantial forward velocity. The worst part about it was that it was again my bum leg taking the beating. I hurried to get my shoe back on and get on my bike. After only a few feet, I had to pull over and take a breather from the shock and the pain of crashing. A train of guys went by, and a lot of them were my friends asking if I was alright (thanks for watching out for me!). Once the pain in my knees subsided, I was able to ride again. However, the pain in my leg was something I’d have to deal with for the next 75 miles.  I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to finish the race with my leg the way it was.

I got back on my bike.  “Move forward Sonya.”

Shawn Lortie Photography, not for commercial use-2

Shawn Lortie Photography

I also got some practice adjusting my derailleur during a race. My chain would not go into the big ring! After many turns on the barrel adjuster, I finally got that working which was a relief!

For once in a race, I was looking forward to the road section.  The best part of the race for me was riding with a lot of my friends.  Last year, I rode alone for most of the race, but I found myself riding around the same people for most of the day.  Sometimes I’d be front, sometimes they would, but it was cool to feel like we were warriors in it together.  I also found out that  a lot of the guys were pacing off me based on my finish from last year.  That was funny… especially because I thought my race time was going to be quite a bit slower due to how I felt!

I almost didn’t want to write a race report because I hate complaining and focusing on the negative, but that’s the reality of how the race went down.  The whole day was a slog and I could not get my head screwed on right. I’m usually good at staying positive, but I slipped down the rabbit hole. Thoughts like, “I’m done racing for the year. There is no way I’ll be able to race the Colorado Trail Race, I’m not strong enough. I haven’t felt good on my bike in a month. I don’t deserve to be winning. I’m such an idiot for x, y and z.” I was trying to repress the negative energy, but it made me feel worse. Why am I telling you all this? It’s because I was winning and still thinking these thoughts.

20110618_BaileyHundo_0146Shawn Lortie Photography, not for commercial use2

Shawn Lortie Photography

I was winning the race from go, but this was my mental state. I think there is a misconception that if someone is winning, everything is going well for them. Sometimes you can be winning and everything IS going right.  That’s the most graceful kind of win and I feel the happiest when everything went right AND I can win… but sometimes you can be winning and suffering just as badly as if you were last place. I wanted to share that even for the winner of a race, the day can be just as tough, or maybe even harder because you have something to lose.

Shawn Lortie Photography, not for commercial use

Shawn Lortie Photography

There was a fun BBQ post race!  I even won a handmade pottery chalice which, of course, I drank some IPA out of back at the campground!

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I’m stoked to add another win to my results list.  Thank you to everyone and to my sponsors!  You can also check out my race on strava.

I’m optimistic that the “strong” feeling on the bike will return soon.  Onward with my CTR training!