"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." I think it was Mark Twain who coined that phrase, but the term I heard more often in just "Juneuary." It means the fog doesn't clear until 1pm. The race organizers for Escape to Alcatraz cancel the swim for fear of loosing triathletes in the Bay. The winds and cold weather made it really hard to convince myself that riding 20 miles into work was an intellegent choice. But hey, we get summer in September while the rest of the world picks apples in traditional fall weather.
I mention all this because I'm currently hiding out in a hotel in Carson City after pre-riding the backcountry course of the Carson City Off-Road. It is 90 degrees outside. It's dry and high (4800'), and I'm just not used to this! I have doing all the things: drinking, drinking, drinking, resting, eating salty foods, and getting as close to the air conditioner as possible. So, backcountry, I'm ready for ya!
Working backwards from this moment in the Super8's a/c, the last few weeks have been pretty rad. And, come to think of it, I've been celebrating Juneuary by going to the Sierras as much as possible. Two weeks ago, we had a great crew at the Lost and Found Gravel Race, along with plenty of other friends at the campground next door. This race supports the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship who restores and builds trails in the High Sierras.
The race itself is 93 miles on mostly gravel roads in the middle of nowhere, specifically, over an hour north of Truckee. The roads are torn up from all the snow throughout the region, which made a mountain bike more appealing than ever! Alas, I only brought my cross bike with 35mm wide wheels. After eating the french toast that Mike cooked at the campsite (who knew he was a gourmet outdoor chef?), I packed up the pockets with gels, and went for it.
I really struggled with the altitude for the first 10 miles, and then I struggled with some flats, two to be exact. Thankfully, friends who were riding by stopped to help me fix them when I realized I didn't have enough supplies. The support crew at the second aid station were kind enough to give me a tube in case I had a third flat. I started to feel better once I had my bike and breathing sorted, but really, at that point, I was out of the women's race and riding to my own beat. I enjoyed the views, the roads, the company, just all stunning.
Despite the flats and baby crash early in the race, I loved it all. And I'll be back next year because I have a bone to pick with this gravel racing thing!
I'm aiming for a good race tomorrow and plan to share the experience in my next post along with another piece of news on a very unrelated topic!