My goal was to finish Rasputitsa within six hours. This is going to be no easy task as the only way I could get in the race was via my fat bike. That’s a lot of bike for this race.
My training started in January on my fat bike and in March I moved my training to my TT road bike. The downhills in March on a road bike are extremely cold and I had to dress much warmer than for fat biking. There were some brutally cold mornings and most of the time I just wanted to go back to bed, but one must put in the work to achieve their goals.
When I got to the starting line, I was thinking to myself “What have I gotten myself into?” There was a sea of people. This year’s race was more stacked than ever before. It was also the biggest with 1,300 riders. I kept telling myself I put in the work and the time. I got this. Stay in the moment.
The start is basically a free-for-all which has some advantages and disadvantages. The race starts going downhill. I am shivering. I am so cold. What was I thinking signing up for this race? The next section is a double roller and a fast bumpy dirt road decent with some hearty pot holes. These are some hungry pot holes ready to make sure you have a horrible day. That’s for sure!
I get to what they call “Cyberia.” This section that they call Cyberia is a point in the road when the snow got deep and riding was out of question. Even for a fat bike riding was out of the question. I knew it was about a half mile long, uphill, and I figured it would take eight minutes. Six if you ran hard so I decided to hike-a-bike and go for the eight minute strategy.
I get off Cyberia and back on my bike. I moved up the pack quickly by picking my lines, but trying to ride mistake free. Rasputitsa does not care who you are or how fast you are the race will go on without you. The race just got serious for me.
For the next hour I ride pretty hard. I am surging on the climbs, dealing with the icy downhills and shutting the door on the cross winds. I was extremely uncomfortable. You got this I say to myself.
There was no sitting in as we covered the next 20 miles. The roads are still snowy, icy and muddy. At the gravel descent the pace was pushed and risks were taken. I popped out below the base of the road and I start looking around to realize that all that is left was to climb up to the ski lodge. I kept on the pedals and my legs are feeling awesome. Coming onto the ski trail the snow got soft and deep.
I hear the fans cheering which is the best part of racing! Most people have dismounted and are running with their bikes. Not me. I am riding across the finish line which is about 100 yards away. I refuse to walk across the finish line. I find my line and ride across the finish line! I look up.
I did it! I finished in 4 hours and 14 minutes taking 6th place in my age group!! This race is all about challenging the human spirit. Race number 7 completed and it was a blast!! I set a goal and crushed it. I’m still super pumped about this. Good times. Good vibes.
Thank you to everyone that came out and cheered me on. Thank you to the companies that keep me biking: Stickboy Coffee, Tryon Bike, Black Dog Suspension, Oveja Negra and Dumonde Tech.
Stay humble. Stay grateful. Stay thankful.