Friday, August 7, 2009

Success at GMARA's Bitter Pill 2009

August 1st at the gorgeous Craftsbury Nordic Center brought another great race from GMARA. With a total of 42 controls to nail in 12 hours, Berlin Bike set off with the rest of the teams on an early morning swim in Lake Hosmer. Only Granite Racing thought ahead to the possibility of flippers for the swim, and as a result came out of the lake first. Berlin Bike and many other teams were not far behind. Unfortuntely, in the first TA I lost my mouthpiece from my drinking bottle (Ernie) and could have been miserably dry for the race, but the AR gods were smiling on me and my bottle stayed full through 2 refills. The first section was a foot-o with 16 controls, 2 of which were optional and worth 20 minutes credit each. We came out of the woods behind 3 other teams after getting all 16 controls and headed for the monster climbs of Northern Vermont's rolling farmlands. With Ernie still battling stomach nasties from Untamed, and Ben in the sleep deprived state he has come to know so well, I had to peddle the course on my own for the most part, which didn't speed us up at all. The bent front brake rotor didn't help either. Peddling downhill as hard as I could to stay with the boys was no joy. After retrieving controls on the backroads, we climbed to a remote foot-o to get 8 more checkpoints. We cruised through the first 2 and got turned around on the spur trail along with all the other teams out there. Thanks to the shout-out from team One Lucky Chick, we found the 3rd control and moved on to the next 5 with not too much ado. We cleared that section in 43 minutes and jumped back on our bikes to head back to the nordic center for some technical single track. When we arrived at the tent a quick gear check was performed and we hit the trails. Having only 5 controls in this section sounded easy. The trick was that all controls had to be retrieved in order and only on the one way trails. This section went smoothly between climbs and greasy corduroy...The last 8 controls were on the water. We cleared all of them in under 2 hours and trudged into the finish 4th overall and 2nd in the 3 coed. Final time = 8:35 - :40 =- 7:55.

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