Sunday, May 18, 2008

12 Hours of Tsali

After being on medication for my asthma and taking it easy for close to a month, I figured the best way to test the body was to do a team relay race. I joined forces with Carey Lowery and Julia Radmann to take on the 12 hours of Tsali.

Julia and I left Atlanta after work on Friday, so we didn't get up to Tsali until around 8:45. When we arrived, our plan was to just set up our tent behind the pit in the parking lot or at the boat ramp. We didn't want to deal with the park rangers telling us to move in the middle of the night, so we checked out the campground, which was jam packed, with 3-4 cars per site. We finally found a site with only one car and one guy and a bike, so we figured it was safe to ask him if we could share his campsite. He was a bit taken off guard by the entire situation and seemed hesitant at first, but in the end he said ok.

The night was chilly, great for sleeping, but not so great when we got up and had to sit around for 4 hours until the race started. I resorted to sitting in my sleeping bag, as I didn't bring clothing for a 40 degree morning. Thankfully Carey arrived with a hot breakfast for us and we were happy again. Danielle Musto also arrived with her husband and we got our pits set up.

I was quite impressed with Danielle's setup. It was the perfect picture of organization, with everything neatly in its place and a log book of how much she ate, drank, and when, lap times etc. I was so jealous : ) The race hadn't even started and Danielle was smiling..see below. She smiled pretty much the entire race..even before and after lap 11.

We debated who should do the start lap, as there was a 1/4 mile run to the bikes, and in the end, we figured Carey would be so much faster on the bike, that the tiny bit of time lost on the run wouldn't matter. Here's Carey just after picking up her bike - she doesn't even appear to be breathing hard.

Once Carey completed our first lap, I took off on our second. It was quite eerie, as with the exception of having two guys pass me early on the fireroad, I never saw ANYONE the entire lap. My body was a little bit freaked out at the intensity level and I picked some really bad lines through some of the mud holes which slowed me down considerably. My first lap was steady, but not as fast as it should have been. I think I spaced out a bit too much with no one to chase and fell into my endurance riding zone.

After two laps we were about 3 minutes down to a 4 person all female team, so we were a little worried. One of the girls on that team was smokin' fast Natasha Cowie, as well as a second fast girl. Thankfully their other two team members were not as fast, and Julia was able to reel in their rider and pass her pretty easily. Now that we had the lead, it was just a matter of maintaining it. My 2nd and 3rd laps were faster than my first, and Julia ran consistently fast laps as well. Our only worry was that we only had 3 and they had 4 racers. If they decided to send out Natasha more often, then it would have been a much tighter race. They stuck to their rotation and we stuck to ours, so every rotation we put about 8-10 minutes on them. This made Julia happy, as can be seen below by the smile as she finishes up her lap.

By the end of the race, we had completed 13 laps, while the second place team only completed 12, as they missed the cutoff for another lap. Although it wasn't necessary, Carey went out on that final night lap to try to move us up the rankings in the overall.

Here we all our with our 1st Place trophies and champaign at the awards ceremony. A huge thanks to Zeke Lilly who was our awesome support person. He made sure our bikes were clean and pretty, and mostly functional.

I was thrilled that I had such a great time at this event, and also at the fact that I didn't have any body mechanicals or breathing issues. I'm not crazy about taking medicines and drugs, but if it allows me to compete and do what I love, then so be it. It was also really nice to finally win something in 2008. Hopefully Julia and I can repeat the performance at the Siege on Ft. Yargo.


Carey Lowery said...

I think it was closer to a 1/2 mile run!!!! I am ready for another team event ...Tsali was a blast!

Danielle said...

Great job Lisa-you ladies kicked butt.

I had fun. I just wish that I could have hung out with everyone more! Good luck at your next race!!!

SandPine said...

Congrats. You did look warm seating on your chairs with the sleeping bags on. I wanted to go get mine and do the same. :-)