Monday, February 21, 2011
A quick recap of my longest, craziest race to date, the Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon held in Grants, NM. There is nothing easy about this event that starts with a 13 mile uphill bike, then a 5 mile uphill run, a 2 mile ski uphill, a 1 mile snowshoe uphill to the top of Mt. Taylor and then you get to do it all in reverse. My dad was very honest with me when I told him what I was doing and said, "I think you're crazy Sara". Logistically this event is confusing (at least for me as a first timer). 6 transitions and all your stuff must be in bags and go up to the mountain the night before. I had great guidance from my friends Amber and Eric and had the right stuff in each bag plus lots of extra jackets, gloves, hats and socks just in case I needed them.
I'm clearly not in ideal bike shape since I got shot off the pack pretty fast and was left to climb in the wind on my own. I got to the bike-run transition in 2nd place and quickly took over the lead on the run. I got to the run-ski transition with a small lead and when I was heading out Amber (2nd place in the end) was just entering. I knew I needed to get my butt moving if I wanted to take the win. Only problem is that I've never skinned up a hill and was not too good at it. Despite this I was able to maintain my lead and extended it on the snowshoe. The snowshoe is so steep I decided to walk/hike to avoid redlining at 11,000 with wind blasting at me from all directions. The ski down is where I thought I might die. Descending on skate skis is scary enough but add snow that is sloppy and not groomed well and it's an arms flailing comical event for spectators. I ended up taking two pretty big tumbles and had to take a few breaks to prevent my legs from cramping from all the snowplowing I was doing. I was so glad to get to the transition and get my skis off and running shoes on. The run was snowy and icy in spots and I was glad that I put some screws in my favorite pair of Avias to bite into the snow a bit. I passed several men on the run and after 5 miles of pounding downhill running I had never been so relieved to see my bike and get on it. That excitement lasted about 2 minutes until I realized there was a headwind making for a slow decent. I don't have a great road bike so I converted my Specialized Crux Cross bike to a road bike for the weekend and I was wishing for a little more aero position but was able to maintain my lead and get a police escort for the 13 miles back to town to finish in 4:34:52. The wind was so bad at times that I was in my easiest gear, going downhill...crazy.
This was the longest race I've done in my life and I'm a bit worried that I already want to go back next year. The race was the most organized event I've done. There were swarms of volunteers at each transition helping me with my stuff, shoving water at me and encouraging me the entire way. Well, done Grants, well done!