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Monday, November 7, 2016

Another 24 Fuelled by Infinit!

Julie Kelly's final race report of the 2016 season! Check out her blog Rolling in the Dirt!

It's the end of the race season for 24 hour mountain biker and Team Infinit athlete Julie Kelly, but she left the 2016 season with a bang - First place in Solo Women at Rocky Hill in Texas!

"The last race of the season in the Texas heat and humidity was a sufferfest!

Steve, Andrew & I headed to Austin, Texas to finish off the season with one more 24 hour. Very grateful to be hosted by Tony Linthicum, another Forward Momentum athlete, who was also racing.  It was nice to catch up with him and his wife Patty not to mention their cute dog.

Headed to the course on Friday for pit set up, package pick up and to get a lap in. The course was similar to when I had raced before. However, the trail conditions were a lot different after the heavy rainfall they received over the last few years. A lot of erosion and loose rock would make for a slower and more challenging course.

Race day was hot and the humidity was forecasted 95-100% ouch! Arrived at the course and finished setting up our pit and getting things organized. Tony, Steve, Andrew & I were all racing solo. After the racer meeting headed to the start line for the Le Mans run. It was a short one so that was a bonus! Lined up near the front of the pack, wanted to get in a good position for the first single track section.

The gun went off and things were moving. Jumped on the bike and in short order was entertained by watching Andrew and Steve make their way to the front of the pack. I got into a pretty good position and had a smooth first lap. Lap #2 was already feeling the heat and humidity and my back was feeling off. I slowed the pace to try to combat the heat and figure out how I could adjust my riding style to ease the back pain.

Eventually the back pain dissipated after a few more laps but the heat and humidity was a constant battle. Stops at the pit after each lap to get in additional fluids and put ice in jersey. I was confident in my Infinit Nutrition but knew with the heat was going to have to really stay on top of it and potentially take on more to combat increased sweat rate.

It was time to mount lights and things were starting to cool down a touch. Felt like I was starting to come around and get into a bit of a groove. Saw Andrew on that lap and he said was feeling it too but improving.

A few good laps then felt like I was having a relapse and could not cool down. Next thing I knew bounced off a log and was on the ground with my light hanging off my helmet, LOL! Just as I was getting myself together Steve came along. He was in the hurt locker as well! I figured I better take a breather after that lap. Stopped to get some more Infinit and water in. Patty checked the results and said I was in the lead with 1 or 2 laps up. I figured I could spare a bit of time to collect myself.

My last night lap was a bit of a gong show. Felt like I was out there for ever! Struggling with the punchy climbs and feeling a bit nauseous. Back to the pits for another break. I was told was 2 or 3 laps up and there was no possibility of 2nd catching me. There was still lots of time to go back out so figured would see how I felt. In the meantime Andrew came in. We told him he was 5 laps up but he was all fired up and said "F!@# this I am going to make them pay". What an animal! When he came back in I was feeling better and he inspired me to go back out. Had a good last lap and was happy I went back out.

It was not my best performance but sometimes you have to adjust your race strategy based on the conditions. I was happy managed to push on with all the challenges and take the win for Solo Women. The entire field suffered from the heat with the lap numbers down from previous years. However, the Canadians managed to pull it off with Steve and Andrew also winning their categories. Tony represented grabbing 3rd in his category.

Open Men - Andrew takes the win!

Open women

Sport 40+ - Steve and Tony
Had some fun after the race meeting up with some friends and enjoying the Texas food and some beverages.

Thanks to Terra Firma for putting on a great race and to all the volunteers. It was sure nice to have equal pay outs for men and women! Also thanks to Coach Shaun, Infinit Nutrition Canada and Specialized Canada for giving me the tools I needed.

I look forward to a great season next year with all the challenges and adventures it brings."