I had THE STRANGEST race today. This was the first race that I have done that is run by Pedal Power. I’ve heard that these races are sort-of the ones the “locals” attend and that they are more challenging than the Beaver Creek Races. I have been preparing for this race all week, knowing it was going to be a challenge and just trying to get in the right space about it. I picked up Steve at 5:45am as he agreed to ride up with me (bold man with my driving). We had an uneventful drive up and things pre-race went very well. We again had a nice long warm up and I felt warm on the line, even though it was 4 degrees out!

The start was through knee deep powder and the 75 or so people in the race were all off at once. It was a strange start b/c people are trying to get out fast and position themselves but you can’t do much of anything in knee deep powder. So right off the bat everyone was trying to get in a single file line to step in someone else's tracks. I got pushed to the back and it happened so quickly. My first thought was “stay calm...there’s time”. Ha...little did I know.

We immediately went straight up the side of this mountain of single track super deep powder, thigh deep in places. We were still all jumbled and so again I was stuck behind tons of walking people.

This pretty much felt like the theme of the race for the first three miles. I would find a way to pass someone, then I would catch up to the next person, and wait to find an opportunity to pass....many times walking in spots where I could have been running. Finally, at around 3 miles I was clean and clear of people and started to really cruise. I felt I was in perfect position and with half the race over and my heart rate VERY under control, I was ready to reel in some of those people (ladies) that got away from me...AND I had 3 miles to do it. Purrrfect.

I’m groovin...I’m groovin...and then we are headed toward the finish. I look at my gps...it says 4.5 miles. I look around for another place to go...none in sight. I head into the finish. Very anticlimactic and just a few people standing around including Anita and Keri (insert “fast” and “faster”) I ask Anita if the course seemed really short and she agrees. Then we find out that apparently we missed an arrow that sent us back uphill on another loop. The arrow was way to our left at a point when we were veering right and it was slightly uphill. Tons of people missed it and suddenly the race was a total sham.

What a downer...and was I disqualified? Who knows. I never really got in a grove and just when I started cranking...the race was over. I didn’t even feel like I had raced, which was funny b/c two weeks ago I was TOTALLY spent after the 10K at Beaver Creek! This time I was fine...it was like training. The course was so technical that it was hard to get your heart rate up without falling down or hitting a tree. Strange!

When the award ceremony came around I saw the event coordinator talking to the first place lady and the second place lady. Apparently Anita was second, but like me she didn’t do the loop either. They gave the first place to Kari...she’s so speedy! Second they gave to Anita. I was just sitting there praying that they didn’t call my name. But they did. For third place.

So I walk up...a bit shameful and say WITHIN EARSHOT OF THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE that I missed the last loop. The event coordinator, says “that’s okay your still third”. I took the ceramic plate, but I was embarrassed about it. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t really third. Steve was quick to put it in perspective “A day will come when you won’t get a medal that you deserve and it will be okay”. So true.

So tonight, I feel like I didn’t race, but I’ve got a new plate, and I feel like someone out there felt crummy about it. So I’m sending gooood vibes to that person and hoping it helps a little bit....whoever she may be!

On the up side Steve and I had a fun time traveling up to the race together, although both of us missed the other Practical Coaching team members a lot. It felt a bit lonely. Troy and Annie stayed home and boy was I missing them today. I feel so lucky that Troy is so supportive. He really is a rock star when it comes to being a husband and a dad.