McKenna Dwyer – Wausau 24: July 29, 2016

I signed up to do the 12 hour duo back in January with one of my friends, Katy McDicken.  About six weeks before this race she fractured her elbow, and it was planned that this would be her first race back.  I was mostly nervous for her, seeing that her first time riding a bike in six weeks would be a 12 hour race.  I also didn’t get the chance to pre ride the course so that didn’t help considering I would have to figure out lines while I was racing.

When I started the race, I figured out that the course was really different kinds of single track sectioned off by double track.  The first section of single track is what I call cat litter since it was all loose.  There was a lot of roots and a few harder rock garden sections that I luckily figured out on the first lap.  After that section there was double track with probably the steepest climb of the race in it.  Then probably the hardest section of single track was next, it’s called Ho Chi Minh and is basically all huge rocks that you have to some how find your way through.  So I only made it through the whole thing once because there was this section of the trail that I couldn’t figure out how to get through.  Then there was a small section of double track that I always felt the slowest on for some reason.  The next section of single track was like a medium technicality but it was really tight and twisty.  After that, there was a really long section of double track that started with a really gradual uphill that was hard on your legs but it was really fast and you could carry a lot of speed through the rest of it.  Then you got into the last part of single track that started with a kind of pump track section that you couldn’t really hold too much speed in.  This is where you saw the 10 mile sign in this about 12 mile course.  It was probably the worst section of single track because if you can imagine what riding a trail that was just made feels like, that’s how this section felt.  It was really bumpy and it was awesome to see the 10 mile sign, but it was also sad because you knew the next 2 miles were going to suck.

When it came time for me to start the race, I was doing the first lap so I had to do the quarter mile running start.  I’m not really a runner so when everyone started sprinting off the line I of course was shocked that I would have to run so fast.  Close to the end of the run, my dad passed me and after the race he definitely made fun of me because he beat his daughter who’s 35 years younger than him.  The first lap I got stuck in a lot of lap traffic that luckily sorted itself out quickly.  It felt like my slowest lap a long with my second but we still had the lead so we were just going to keep pushing it at the pace we were setting.  I told myself I was going to push it the third lap and that’s exactly what I did.  I felt so fast that lap and brought in the fastest time of my five laps.  The fourth lap I went really slow until one of my other friends who I race with in the WORS Series caught up to me after Ho Chi Minh and we really pushed it the rest of that lap, and I came in 2 seconds behind my third lap time.  The fifth lap I just kept the pace casual seeing that it was hopefully going to be my last lap.  This was the only lap I made it through Ho Chi Minh and I came in right before it got dark and watched as Katy went out for her last lap.  During breaks I just ate food and relaxed until I went back to wait for the hand off to go on another painful lap.  I didn’t really feel up to my best performance the whole race but I’m just happy Katy came in right after the end time at 10:00 p.m. so I didn’t have to go out for a sixth lap.  We won the race by just going pretty casual and I’m happy with that, it’s fun not always having to go hard for a race and to just enjoy it.  It was also weird to be in the same place as my best friend for 12 hours but to only say a few words to each other when we came in for our laps.  I didn’t have any mechanicals and I really didn’t crash, just had a few slip ups.  I can’t wait to do this race next year and it was probably one of the most fun races to be at.

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