Race: Lessburg Bakers Dozen MTB race
Location: Leesburg, VA
Rider: Jessica Kutz
Results: 1st place Solo Woman
From EPS/CSS p/b Shebell&Shebell rider Jessica Kutz who took on this gnarly 13 hour race...SOLO!!!
So I got this great idea back when there was snow on the ground that I should race my bike for 13 hours solo. Of course we had beautiful, sunny and warm weather in VA the week prior to the race, only for a cold front to move in with chances of snow and rain for race day. Oddly, I wasn’t too fazed about the weather. I did buy some rockin’ new warm gloves the night before though…they came in handy (no pun intended) all day on Saturday. I had a very simple game plan, which was to pretend I was riding a 100 mile mountain bike race. I’ve learned that minimizing time in aid stations (or in this case the pit area) is a good way to cover miles quickly and prevents the body from getting tight.
The first lap was utter chaos with congestion and stand still lines to get through technical sections. I did manage to crash hard on some flat slick rocks on the first lap, which was probably good. The crash (or I should say the pain from the crash) kept me humble to not go launching off any rocks or taking any risks…that’s not necessary in a long race like Bakers Dozen (but the trails are so fun it’s hard to resist sometimes!) After a few minutes of “sh*t why did I do that” (referring to my crash), I settled into a really comfortable pace. My legs felt good, the trails were AMAZING, the cold and wind weren’t that bad (positive attitude) and honestly I was having a blast. Any day I get to ride my bike all day uninhibited is a good day! I knew my teammate Meredith and Darin were plowing along somewhere on course and this was Brad’s first go at running my pit crew (usually my Mom is the go to, she loves me even when I get cranky 10+ hours into a race) so I was stoked to see what the day had in store.
I’ve probably never been in a race when everything (minus an early crash) went so smooth. I prepped all my nutrition ahead of time and had a game plan. Brad proved himself worthy running my feed zone, while playing cameraman. He even kicked me out of the pit and back onto my bike more than once after a few too many snickers (man I love those candy bars). My bike worked flawlessly and my legs were more than willing to pedal. I was loving the trails that were flowing and had technical features- yeah rocks! The only shock all day was in the middle of my 7th lap, I was curious where I was in the standings and asked Brad to check. Brad had an uncomfortable look on his face the next time I came through the pit. “Uh they told me your timing chip hasn’t been working, they need you to stop your next time through the finish line.” I think a more stressed out version of myself would have had a meltdown about this; however, I’m at a place in my life where stress seems to be minimal and it was definitely evident during a tense moment after 6 hours of racing. Instead of a meltdown, I said “OK” and rode through the fun flowing 2nd half of the course and made my way to the timing station. Luckily there didn’t seem to be any problems with crediting me with my laps. However, I did notice that they made up my first 7 lap time (and my total time is not reflective of my actual total time). At first I was annoyed (they made me look slow) but now that I think about it, my competition for next year won’t really know how fast I am ;-)
I’m excited about how well my race went, my legs never failed me. I did learn I should probably hit the gym more, as my arms were toast! My season is packed with endurance mountain bike races, stay tuned as I’m sure they won’t all run as smoothly as this one (there will be more exciting tales and tribulations to share).