Shasta Lemurian race at Whiskeytown

The weekend of April 28th I made a last-minute decision to head up towards Whiskeytown (outside of Redding) to do the Shasta Lemurian mountain bike race. The Lemurian is a hard race to say the least. The long course is 26 miles with about 4,500 feet of climbing. Ouch. Due to my hectic school schedule this year (read: inside studying or in Oroville at my internship facilitating family meetings, not outside training and riding my bike 20 hours a week), my spring season has been more or less non-existent. So, I was pretty nervous to line-up for the Lemurian and expected I would be in for a good beating. But, Ethan came back from a 3-week training in Dallas for his new job and we decided we’d both head up and race. I figured if he had the confidence to do the race after not riding at all for 3 weeks, I could do it too!
So, we headed up early Sat morning with Mike Castaldo- a local Chicoan and badass endurance racer. We all got registered and chamoied-up and I said hello to Danny and Bekah, who had driven up from Davis last night and camped at the race site. I did a little spin around the start/ finish area to get warmed up and tried to overcome the nervous cramps my stomach was experiencing. Before I knew it, the whistle had sounded and our large group of riders (maybe 400?) was off onto the road and starting to climb. My starting position wasn’t very strategic, but I kept a steady and painful pace, following Ethan’s wheel. I stayed with Ethan for about the first 15 minutes of the race and cheered Danny on as he passed me. My heart rate continued to pulse on the climbs as I found a group of guys who seemed to be riding at my pace. We stayed together down the descent and across the pavement. Once were on the first section of flumes, we were cruising and cheering each-other on. Once the course shot back onto the dirt road, we mashed into our big rings and were flying up the steady climb. Unfortunately, we blew past the right-turn back onto the singletrack. Thankfully, someone in my group had a team-mate in the group who chased us down to tell us we had gone the WRONG WAY. Thank goodness! Our little diversion cost us a few minutes, but could have been much worse! The rest of the race from there was a blur of fun singletrack, steep painful climbs, and friendly and encouraging exchanges with the guys I was riding with. I got a lot of props for riding up the steep climb sections and felt much more confident on the descents than when
I raced in 2010. I never saw any ladies (past the finish when the top pros crushed it past me). But it was a beautiful day and the trail conditions were perfect. I started to cramp slightly on the last false-flat dirt road climbs, but managed to finish at 3:06, first for expert women 19-34 and 6th overall for women. Not bad for a grad student! Bekah finished 5th for expert women after a crash on a steep descent (still getting used to her new bike). Danny finished 11th for expert men 19-34, despite fighting a cold and having a slow start. Mike (who we drove up with) got 3rd in the veteran’s men category with a smokin’ time of 2:35. We hung around for a bit and enjoyed some burritos and soaked in the sun. It was great to see Danny and Bekah and to chat with Katelyn Hill, a super fast gal from Arcata who has been killing it this season! She got 3rd for pro in the race and improved her time from last year by 23 mins- amazing!
Also- sweet shot of Danny from the race here