I came to race the Filthy 50 (Sport Women cat) without any expectations but ready to give it my best. I am new to the team, new to racing and riding a bike (started less than 2 years ago). Training is new to me as well, thank you Rhonda for your guidance and support which helped me race smart 😊. At the beginning of the race I battled for a good position and then settled in. This included positioning myself with the sport and beginner men that were sent out right before us. Julia, who was my biggest competitor during the QnD summer series, took off extremely fast. The first couple of miles I could see her from a distance, with several men in between us on the single track but eventually she pulled away. It took so much restraint for me to not chase her down. I knew that I could not race the 50 miles as hard as the short, super fast QnD summer races. I continued the race with a positive mind and enjoying the moment, even if suffering came along with it and the worry that Julia was far gone. I was also aware that I had to continue a strong pace to avoid a competitor to sneak up behind me.
At the first steep climb in Lousardi loop I finally saw Julia. She explained that at the creek crossing she didn't know in which direction to head and had lost about a minute. Strangely this did not gratify me. I felt bad for her and that's not how I wanted to catch up to her. I kept in mind that this stuff happens, it's part of racing and I had to continue with my best. We climbed the rest of the Lousardi loop together. We passed each other in a few sections on our way back. I climbed faster while she descended faster. Finally, I gave my final pass around the golf course and started on some more climbing including Del Dios. I pushed myself on the single track behind Hernandez Hideaway, I didn't want her to catch me there.
On the way from the gas station towards Raptor's Ridge I found two men to draft on, we stayed together that entire section, and took turns. Once we started to approach Raptor's Ridge a few men had caught up to us. I had no idea how they climbed and I was not all to confident that I could climb faster but I didn't want to take the chance. I picked up the pace and positioned myself at the front of climb. It was a great decision as I immediately pulled away and stayed ahead of that group the entire climb, eventually loosing sight of them. After descending Raptor's, with only a few miles left I unleashed the rest of the energy I had left. My heart rate was well into threshold but I knew I could sustain it for the rest of the race.
Now I just had to convince my legs that they were still strong. With about 2-3 miles left I suddenly passed a couple of women. I was extremely confused. I didn't let that rattle me but just pushed harder towards the finish. With about 50 yards left I caught up to another woman, she heard me coming and suddenly it was a sprint towards the finish line. She crossed first by 2 seconds. Bonnie and I high fived and congratulated each other and she confirmed she was in the sport category. I had no idea how I could have missed all these competitors the entire race. I was content with a 2nd place finish. Julia arrived almost 8 minutes later. About a half hour later they called all the women over to the timing station. Apparently a couple of county workers had turned back about the last 50 riders at the top of the switchbacks and did not let them continue the race (for unknown reasons). They did not ride the Lousardi loop. This caused a mix up for the last categories that started the race that morning. Eventually they got it all sorted out. Bonnie confirmed that she was one of the riders that was turned around and did not complete the 50 mile course. I was back at 1st place!!!! Now that was exciting!!!