Cholla wasn't a challenge, it was a beatdown. The pace from the start wasn't too bad and the group stayed together pretty well through the slickrock with me hanging out near the back. At the doubletrack things got strung out pretty well and that's where my race started going downhill fast. The high speed rocks and dips started working over my non warmed up back and by the hike a bike section my back was in spasm and I was spit out the back. Getting off the bike for the walk up the hill loosened things up and I stretched at the top for good measure. My back was ok for awhile and I was even able to pass a couple people on the climb but things fell apart again in the sandy wash near the end of the first lap and went severely downhill on the second lap. By the hike a bike my back was toast and I lost all power. For the last half of the lap I would ride for a little bit and coast for a little bit to stand and stretch my back. Thought I finished DFL at 7th until 15-20 mins later another straggler I didn't know about finished in my category. The lone bright spot of the day was that by finishing 7th I think I still earned a team point.
**Update**The final results are up. I finished 10th out of 11 so no team point for me.
My 29'er was nice in all the sandy sections but the hardtail didn't help my back situation at all. I raced the course two years ago and it was smooth and fast so the thought of bringing my full suspension Blur never even crossed my mind. The recent course changes made it the roughest course on the circuit IMHO. It would have been interesting to see if the suspension would have saved my back and allowed me to ride faster or not. I'll have to spend some time down at 5-mile before the next race doing some hot laps on both bikes to see which one is going to work better.
Rhonda had a pretty good race. She was off the front at the start, through the slickrock and doubletrack but was caught by Tasha and Dot on the road. The duked it out for awhile with Dot taking the lead after the hike-a-bike and Tasha and Rhonda close behind. Disaster struck past the midpoint of the course. Dot had a small lead followed by Tasha with Rhonda right on Tasha's wheel. Tasha lost it in a loose section and Rhonda had to bail off the trail to avoid a pile-up. She hit a rock, went over the bars and landed hard on her chest and shoulder. She had the wind knocked out of her and a good scare but nothing was broken. Tasha made sure she was OK and continued on. Rhonda chilled for awhile to catch her breath and assess the situation before limping in to the finish 4th.
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