This past weekend I raced the Maah Daah Hey 75 race in the North Dakota Badlands! At the start line there were 32 riders, 4 of which were women. It was a cool 60F and a bit drizzly, which is unprecedented for this race. The rain that passed through the area turned a normally fast and dry trail into an epic mud pit. The first 6-10 miles were nothing but hike-a-bike up and over mini-ridges. What would have normally taken me about an hour to ride turned into a 2.5-hour mud slog. It was exhausting, and some people turned around, but I didn’t train for four months, fly over 2000 miles, and exhaust my finances to be deterred by mud! After the first checkpoint, the trail started to dry out a little. I was 6th overall, but by the time I hit the first aid station (mile 25) I dropped back to 10th. After the first aid station the trail was in nearly perfect condition and I held top 10(ish) until mile 55, when fatigue really started to settle in. I caught my second wind at the last aid station and managed to average 9 mph over smooth, fast trail for the last 25 miles! However, the last 6 miles were almost more difficult than the first 6 miles. I entered into a dark place mentally, but overcame it by reminding myself to: “breathe, pedal, relax, focus”. In the end, I finished first female and 15th overall!
My goal was to complete the race in under 10 hours, but I finished in 12 hours. After the epic mud fest I had to reassess my goals: I aimed to finish in the top 10 overall and first female. Given the condition of the course, I’m very happy with my performance and aiming for top 10 gave me the motivation to keep pedaling.
I worked hard preparing for this race, but I couldn’t have done it without the help of countless people. I would like to thank all of the race volunteers, family and friends near and far for cheering me on.