And then Bob went and volunteered Team Virtus to cover the bike drop and help out at CP4. With my weekend largely free (though I'd miss Jacob's first football game), the opportunity to hang out with my teammates, cheer on my friends who were racing, and still be a small part of the race were irresistible. As an added benefit, I approached race weekend with zero stress except for the self-inflicted pressure of baking about 20 dozen cookies for the checkpoint.
|I may have gone a bit overboard.|
Loved getting to cheer on some friends as they passed by. After packing up our tents/hammocks and loading the CP4 drop bags into Travis's truck, we all caravanned to the Bixby Country Store for some delicious biscuits and gravy. Breakfast handled, we drove to the Berryman Campground, site of CP4, to set up camp and maybe ride some trails.
|My old faithful backpacking tent.|
|I really need to get myself a hammock,though.|
|Cara and Emma!|
We hadn't been out long when the race leader passed us on the trail. Over 80 miles into the race, Dwayne flew by with a huge smile on his face, looking like he was out for a (fast) pleasure cruise. Not wanting to be in the way, we cut out on the first fire road we reached, and we got to watch second place fly by from there.
Since nobody needed our help at the CP, we were free to relax for the rest of the day. Bob had brought his grill/smoker and BBQ'd a ton of meat, and while dinner cooked I bounced between hanging out at our campsite, walking around talking to people who were there crewing or had DNF'd due to mechanicals or injury, and stalking the CP tent on watch for friends who were racing. I didn't catch all of them, but I got to see quite a few and was blown away by how good they looked after 80 miles of singletrack. So impressive.
|The Sonas, showing they know how to celebrate an anniversary right.|
The rest of the evening was spent eating delicious BBQ and hanging around the fire, enjoying awesome company and perfect camping weather. And then going to bed, bc we'd all managed around 4 hours of sleep the previous night.
Sunday morning we got up, enjoyed some baggie omelets courtesy of Travis, and very slowly got our stuff together for the sweep ride to the finish line. When we finally set out, the trail was just as fun as on Saturday. While I couldn't keep up, I could at least keep the guys in sight. Seeing the tree I'd bunny hopped the day before, I smiled in anticipation, went for it, and totally blew it.
|The angle makes the tree look bigger than it was.|
We got going again, but before too much longer I noticed that bumps were feeling pretty hard in the back. Flat tire. Boo! I managed to change it myself, with a little help from Travis, and while I was slowly managing that, Dan and Sam both passed us, surprised at how little forward progress we'd made. My crash and flat had definitely set us back, but we weren't in any hurry anyway, just out enjoying the day and the ride, clearing away the course markings whenever we came to them.
The first 15 miles were pretty awesome. Usually after crashing I get way more tentative. I did walk over some downed trees I probably would have ridden (or attempted to ride) before falling, but overall I didn't suffer a loss of confidence. I don't remember walking much at all; I felt great and had a blast being out on the trail with Bob and Travis.
|Obviously having zero fun.|
|Pictures make a lovely excuse to stop riding. Of course, so do huge trees across the trail.|