The race was held at Wildwood Park in Appling, GA which is just outside of Augusta. The venue was beautiful, situated on a lake and had many river and streams running through it. The woods were scented with honey suckle and sweet jasmine. It smelled wonderful. The 60 mile loop was about 50 miles of single track and 10 miles of fire road, open field and paved road. The single track was mostly pine forest with some nice hardwood forest as well. My favorite term new description of the trail was “brown ice” local speak for the super slick pine needles which made sharp corners treacherous. The weather was perfect, about 60 degrees at the start and 80 at the finish. The trails were dry and fast, not too technical and had delightfully fun “pump track” like bumps throughout. There was only about 3000 feet of climbing. This wasn’t my favorite kind of long racing. I prefer big anaerobic climbs with recovery on the descent. This required constant pedaling with no downhill breaks. So, I knew I had to keep a strong effort going with no rest.
They started the women in 2 waves. I was in the second wave 40+. I had a good start and rode the first 30 miles pretty hard. We looped back through the start/finish at mile 30 where I was ahead of everyone who started in my wave except the woman who won the 40-44 category. The second half of the course was more technical but also had more climbing and all the paved sections. There were a few deep stream crossings and some slick rocks which took me down. I caught a few of the SS and younger women on the road and open field sections. The last 12 miles of single track I rode with Beata (40-44) who finished just ahead of me. We were able to keep each other going when fatigue and hunger were setting in. I managed to keep ahead of all the 45+ women and came in a solid 3rd in the 40+. All in all a good race although early in the season. Karen Tripp was my main age group competition. She had a nice race finishing 2nd in our group (55-59) about 10 minutes behind me.
See the results here: Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals