Race Report by Leslie Williams, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
My famous last words to my racer friend Heidi: “Ahhhh, this rain won’t be a big deal…. nothing like several years back when Blackstar was a muddy mess…” Well, as we all know, Blackstar was a muddy mess! I love this race. 5:30 am start is right down my ally. I love getting rides in at dawn. I know this route like the back of my hand. I was as ready as a weekend warrior can be. But within 20 minutes I was completely powerless to make my wheels turn over. The mud was so thick front and back, that no amount of digging was going to make my wheels turn. I carried my bike on my shoulder for a long time. I searched high and low for the best sticks to stab at the mud, but to no avail. Sadly, I turned around and called it quits. I was so disappointed, as were many people who made the same decision. Kudos to all those who made it around that whole course!
However, I needed to go back and redeem the training and the experience of finishing this course. Luckily it was my spring break, so on the following Friday, I stuffed my pack with all I would need for the trek, parked at the Path Live Oak, and took off about 4:45 am. It was absolutely freezing getting to Black star, but by the time I reached the gate I was ready to make this day happen. I flew up Blackstar faster than I ever have, and made it across the divide and down Motorway fairly quickly. The main divide, however, will never be easy, no matter what! Those climbs out there are steep and never-ending. Motorway is always a sight for sore-eyes after the endless fire roads, so there’s always that reward.
I started to slow down up Maple, but I was very motivated to finish as quickly as possible so I could pick my kids up from school. Then I really slowed down up to the Peak. That rocky trail is TOUGH. I started cramping, but managed to get to the Peak and to fly down Holy Jim and back to my car, just in time to pick up my son. I even got to see Megan W. and friends on Holy Jim training for the Whisky 50!
Parking at the shop made for a 52 mile, 9000 foot day. There is nothing like being out in the Santa Anas for that long. Even though I’m not in the shape I used to be, I’ll forever be an endurance junkie. I’m so thankful that I was able to get out there and make it happen!