|hanging with Meredith Terranova at the pre-race dinner|
After dinner it was time to go to the hotel and get ready with bunkmates Prissy Nguyen and Martha Wright. The three of us were quite a sight---drops bags, gels, Bag Balm, Vaseline, Perpetuem, Clif Bloks were scattered about the hotel room as we chatted about race goals and got ready for the early wake up call. I didn't realize how much I missed racing until it was time to get organized!
Race morning came quickly and before we knew it we were at the start at Wildwood Campground under clear skies and 30 degree temps. Wildwood is a MUCH better start for MMTR---a lovely jaunt around the lake with 300+ headlamps bobbing was a cool sight to behold, and we were able to spread out nicely on about one mile of pavement before ducking into the woods for good. Mark, Rob, and I started together and made an easy jaunt of the first 5 miles of singletrack and fire roads. We saw a gorgeous sunrise along the ridgeline, something we never saw in the previous years, and chatted and laughed the early miles away. I was enjoying our easy pace and slowly we started to pass the middle of the pack, little by little.
Around mile 16 Mark and I parted ways and I saw two women ahead of me on the long downhill towards the Lynchburg Reservoir. David Horton drove by and reported that I was 13th woman. Hmmm...all I needed to do was pass the two in front of me and then I would be 11th and knocking on the top-10 door. Sweet! A few miles later I passed Bethany Patterson and was suddenly number 10, so I switched into race mode as we made the long climb up to Long Mountain Wayside, where I would see crew Harry Landers and Bob Clouston. But first I ran by Bill Gentry and his son Ben who were walking towards me on the road---how awesome it was to see them and feel Gentry's classic positive vibe! Thanks dude!
|refueling at mile 26, Long Mountain Wayside|
|approaching Wiggins Spring AS, mile 32 with Meredith|
At the top of Mt. Pleasant we had a glorious, 360-degree view of the The Priest and Three Ridges to the north and Apple Orchard Mountain to the south. But we couldn't stay long because women # 11, 12, 13, and 14 arrived in succession within minutes. The race was on! Meredith and I plugged into our iPods and started HAMMERING the downhills. The snow certainly helped and made it fun, but it was also stressful and hard work. Soon there was a train of women in 8th-14th place within yards of one another, and it was clear that someone was going to put hammer down as soon as we left the Loop and the snow.
And that's exactly happened. Lee Conner dropped into 8th and I followed with Beth Minnick right behind me.We hauled down the road sections and climbed hard up the long roads. It was a beautiful day, bright blue sky, cold, and a bit nippy, and I was really enjoying the racing vibe. Lee started to pull away and Beth came upon me as we entered Forest Valley, which had equally deep snow and more brutal climbs. I put my head down and stayed focused on my pace, which seemed to work as I made some distance from Beth and closed the gap on Lee. The snow was a blast in the final downhill section--no roots or rocks to worry about, just puffy snow to bomb through. WOOP!
|Finished at last!|
|with Krissy at the finish, star struck.|
|with hubby Rusty...|
|with MMTR founder and friend David Horton...|
|with Meredith after her 11th place finish...so close...but she is all smiles as always...|
|and with Mark after his awesome 10:28 finish, and super crew Harry Landers.|
MMTR results are here.