Fashionably late.

Hi. I also am posting my first race report. Carol Clemens is my name and racing mountain bikes, well I guess it is my game.
This is a little something about one of the endurance series events in North Carolina.

Cowbell Challenge 2007

Time has continued to move at a rapid pace into what is now my third endurance event of the season. Wow! This time around it’s going to be a 12 hour event in North Carolina, the Cowbell Challenge, and my team consists of one, me.
Solo usually means that I ride it alone and have my wonderful friends for support. For some odd reason I decided that I would take this trip with a bit of a different approach and do the trip and the race all by my lonesome. That sounds great on paper, but I wonder how it is going to go at the race? That is what I kept asking myself and the response was, you’ll be fine. Right? Thankfully I did not let me brain get the best of me and I called two of my friends/sponsors and asked the big question, “You guys wanna come down and help me?” This is a lot to ask two days before an event that is 7 hours away. Thankfully they responded with “We will be down on Friday night, what do you want us to bring?” Music to my ears. Hard to believe they said that but it made a girl smile.
Thursday morning, a good time for me to get in the car and start rolling. I was grinning from ear to ear. That is the common expression that I carry when I am on an adventure. Besides the forgetting of the directions and key to the lock that was on the bikes the trip really was flawless. I cruised into the parking lot of the white water rafting center at 7pm and found the trailhead. I also found the race organizer reassuring me that I was in the right spot. She also informed me that I had 9 competitors, two of which are pros. OK. Well I suited up to find out what this course is all about. Apparently they had added two more miles onto the seven from last year. Longer course and slower times, let’s find out. Out I went and twisted my way through 7 miles, not 9, saw two owls and some great trails. Confused by the race markers not being accurate, but comforted in knowing more then I used to, I called it a ride and moseyed on to the campground. Usually at these 12 hour or 24 hour events you can camp at the venue, but not this one–the campground was 18 miles away.
Friday, race registration time. I headed up to the start to get my packet and talk to the race organizer about the troubles I had the night before on the course. I explained to her that I felt as thought they should mark the course a bit better because I was getting lost and I had only ridden 7 miles instead of 9. Her reply was, “We do that intentionally to keep it interesting.” Ha, well the races never fail to surprise me. That means that I should suit up again and find out what it really is, but I do not want to waste energy, so I go home and relax.
Saturday is here and so is my support. We rose being that we had to account for the 30 minute drive to the venue. Off we went. Thanks to global warming the sun was in full effect and the temperature was rising. Good day for some sunscreen. Chris, Larry and I got the Dirt Rag tent set up, Larry gave my bike a once over and I gave them a crash course of what I need them to do for me. Looks like we are ready to rock. There was no LeMans start at this event, so the racers lined up with bikes and on the count of five we were off. The first lap was smooth considering it was a completely different course than the one that I had ridden on Thursday. Team No Sleep is what I called us and that was our strategy, just keep moving. I started out in third following the two pro women and that is where I stayed for the entire event. There were ups and downs but I was turning 1:06 laps most of the time which allowed me to hold my position. Larry came out and cheered me on during my eighth lap and Chris and Larry both came out on my tenth lap. Awesome. I ending up getting 3rd out of 9 and I could not be happier about that. I would not have been able to do it if Chris and Larry would have not been there to support me. Thanks guys. You rock. A big thank you to Dirt Rag and all of the magical people in my life.


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