USA Marathon National Championship Race - Firecracker 50
Posted Jul 05 2009 9:51pm
4th in the USA National Marathon Championship Race in Breckenridge! Who knew I could race a marathon race???
It was a great race. The communication from the Firecracker 50 promoter to the athletes was ideal. Of all races I have attended this year, this one ran the smoothest by far. The course was better marked than any course, it was easy to pre-ride and everything was clear to the racers. They gave us a book with all the details, great course maps, turn by turn course descriptions with mile markers, aid station locations, a town map, start times and more. There were no last minute changes, the aid stations were awesome with full water bottles, Gatorade bottles and gels. They were well staffed and well run. (I never count on neutral support because it just never works, but this you could count on.) Basically everything was perfect, I highly recommend this race! The race was capped at 750 entries, teams counted as one entry, so keep that in mind as it did fill up. It seems the promoter really listens to the racers and aims to put on a perfect event; the general communication, preparation and execution were amazing.
The race started with a neutral start through Breckenridge as part of the July 4th parade. The start was ideal, pro women lined up behind pro men and we started together. My race was almost perfect, I started 10th of 20 and moved up the entire race passing defending champ Sari Anderson on the first climb, Rebecca Rush ~ 2/3rds of the way through the first lap and a couple other girls in there somewhere. I finished the first 25-mile lap 30-seconds behind Heather Holmes and 60-seconds behind Amanda. With such a long climb to start the second lap I was able to watch Heather catch and pass Amanda then start to gap her, I passed both of them by the top of the climb which put me in 4th. Rebecca was able to get by Amanda who then got a slow leak which slowed her down a bit, luckily she was able to get spare wheel in the next aid station. I reeled Gretchen Reeves in by the third aid station then it was a race to the finish line for 3rd. Gretchen won this race in 2005 and 2006 and placed 2nd last year.
For the final ~20 minutes we were testing each other, but not going all that hard, I kept waiting for it to turn into a XC race, but wasn't sure how my legs would like it. For the entire 2nd lap I had power in my legs but battled leg cramps, at times they would completely lock up. Gretchen got into the last singletrack first. I thought there would be passing opportunities but she was really good at blocking the entire way, so it came down to a finish line sprint. I lost the sprint for 3rd, well I never really started the sprint. I stood up to sprint and my legs locked up with full-on leg cramps. I am sure the cramps were just because I don't spend anywhere close to 4.5 hours on my bike. Even though I had leg cramps the entire second lap my power never faded, which I found really odd so I just kept going.
I am happy with these results in my first ever Marathon race, but to be out of the money by a bike length is quite a way to finish such a long race.
Todd and I had a great time hanging out after the race visiting with everyone, we stayed till at least 7:00pm and there was still a huge crowd in the park when we left. This race had a great festival feel to it.