The 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey - or as I like to call it . . . 9 Hours of Spelunking in the Pain Cave (or maybe 9 Hours of listening to Gunnar complain) is one of my favorite race weekends.
I teamed up with the one and only Betsy Shogren to form Team Darth Bunny! Mrs. Shogren informed me that she has "old lady knees and runs like a hermit" so I was basically forced into doing the Le Mans start. Yes, she could have inspired other crippled hermits, but I guess she decided to let me take one for the team - that's cool, Betsy (little did she know I was going to make her do the extra lap anyhow!)
I love the morning of this race. It's like a bunch of excited pregnant people walking around smiling because they have apparently forgotten about the pain they are about to endure. In a matter of a few hours, that will all change. Those smiles turn to despair as all you hear are hopeful pleas that the dark skies will brighten with lightening, thus ending the race . . . or the wishful thinking that a teammate won't return before the cut-off so you don't have to go for that last agonizing lap. You'll even hear teams rationalizing how they'll only lose one spot on the podium if they just call it quits. That about sums up a race that lasts an entire day - yet, we always come back for more. There's just something about it. I'll admit, I feel pretty cool saying I basically did three XC races in one day. Heck yeah!
Our strategy was to try double laps for the first 8 laps and go to singles towards the end. I raced the first two laps, which put us about 15 minutes ahead of the second team. Betsy did two more smoking fast laps and we increased the distance between our competitors to an entire lap. Due to an abnormal breakfast, I had terrible stomach cramps the entire race. It felt like someone was punching me every time I hit a rock (and there were a lot of rocks!) Luckily, I didn't have to worry about other factors affecting my performance. I knew I could count on ProGold Lubricants to keep my Specialized bike running smoothly (despite the muddy course), OSMO to keep me hydrated, and Probar to keep me fueled up. However, after five laps I was just about as useless as a broken pencil. The hermit took one for the team and completed one extra lap! We ended up with 11 laps (2 laps ahead of the rest of the competition) and my teamie posted the fasted female time - woot, woot!
I cannot thank Betsy enough for partnering up me! She is one of the nicest people I have ever met - and one of the speediest too!
I also want to send a shout out to Jim Harman, race director for EX2 Adventures. Their events are always well-organized and a lot of fun. Mr. Harman has supported me since I was 11 years old when he allowed me to participate in this race as the youngest competitor to ever do it. Thanks for believing in me!