Bike race 9:00:58  100.87 mi (11.2 mph) +12766ft
Wilderness 101. Rode up with Julie and camped with her and Karen. It's set up in a town park with a few blue turlets and a hose for showering. Got there in plenty of time to set up camp before the storms rolled in. I crawled in my tent and enjoyed sleeping in the rain.
Right before the start, they announced a couple of reroutes, subbing in fire roads for some trails due to rain. The first 20mi were all on some sort of road, so I settled in to pace lines whenever possible to conserve. Julia Thumel, who beat me at Woodstock, was around right from the start, and we would play cat and mouse all day. Rolled right through AS1 into a fire road climb. From here on out, I wouldn't get any pacelining the rest of the day, other than trading places for a mile or 2 a couple of times. Most of the descents were technical ST, which I was looking forward to. My main targets for the day were Julia and Amanda Barry, who beat me handily at GRUSK. I knew they were better climbers than me, so I hoped to have an edge on technical and descents. NO brakes! At AS2, Amanda was leaving as I rolled in, and I caught her out of the descent. She rolled away, and I caught her again at Mile 40 but again let her ride away on the next climb. I was really focusing on riding my own race and seeing how it shook out later in the day. Nutrition seemed to be spot on, and I started with 50oz of Infinit plus food. There was an off camber, super rocky descent where I lost half my food out of my bento (which I had recently restocked at AS3) so I figured I would just grab PB&Js the rest of the day.
Body was feeling solid, and my low back only tightened up on a couple extended climbs but loosened on the descents. The biggest thing I was worried about were my shoes. I went back to some carbon Bontragers that I've had for several years but barely worn because they are big. With the combo of them and wool socks, I had zero foot issues.
67mi in, we went through AS4 and immediately went up a steep climb. I realized I was still feeling good for once! Julia was again ahead of me but appeared to be flagging. I passed her, stepped on the gas, and never saw her again. The next 20mi were mostly gravel and road. I ran out of fluids 5-6mi from AS5 but figured I could managed. Filled a bottle with Heed and downed some Coke there but forgot to grab food. Learned that Amanda was 2min ahead of me with one climb left in the last 12 miles. Game on. Hit the rail trail full gas. I waited 10min then down my emergency gel to hopefully give me enough fuel for the finish. On the switchback to the climb, caught sight of Amanda. I think she saw me too soon after because she picked up the pace. Crested the hill 100m back. No brakes to the bottom, where I entered the singletrack right behind her. In the hike a bike section, she got back on the bike too early and couldn't ride it. I passed her running as she unclipped and took off as soon as I hit dirt. Redlined the last 2 miles and came in 2 min ahead of her in 3rd place, behind Carla and Libbey Sheldon.
Everything feels like it's coming together...nutrition, training, execution. Sharing a podium with Carla Williams is always a good day.