I love Lakeville-Milltown-Lakeville, I really do. This was my third year of riding it and as always I had a blast. It’s one of the first big gravel races of the season and so a ton of people come out, plus it’s practically in my back yard!
At the start of the ride, I was on four prescriptions (one antibiotic, two steroids, and albuterol to open my lungs) to treat the ongoing respiratory “yuck” I’ve had for weeks. It’s clearing … slowly. Larry offered a short 40ish mile course this year and that was perfect for how I was feeling. I decided my race goal was to go out hard, try to stay with a pack as long as possible, and then try to keep riding strong til the finish. I did a great job clamoring to the front on the roll-out, hung with the main pack on a few climbs (unheard of for me! I’m too “fat” to climb!!), and then rolled steady for quite a few miles after.
I ended up hanging with a fellow Cannon Valley Velo Club rider, David, for a handful of miles. He commented that I wasn’t riding like someone who was sick, and it was true – things were going ok unless I tried to take a really deep breath, then my lungs would seize up a little. Either way, I was happy with my effort levels and heart rate.
At some point, I got lazy.. The good news is it was a conscious decision. I decided to slow down, eat and drink, and just look at the gorgeous scenery heading into the Chub Lake section. Damn, I love that road, and sometimes do gravel hill repeats there “just for fun”. I watched the grupetto roll away from me and smiled. I had hit the zone, my happy place, and was just grateful to be on a bike and outdoors.
The miles rolled on and I was starting to chill quickly at my easier pace. Ouch. The course split and the “short route” riders were on our own. I could make out only a small handful of bike tire tracks in the dirt at that point, and it dawned on me — “holy shit, there aren’t that many people in front of me?!” Now, I know that all of the big guns were out racing the long course, but that didn’t stop me. I decided I should hammer til the finish to see how well I could do. I was riding alone, following my Garmin cues and the tracks of others before me. The cold mist and 30-something temperatures were starting to get to me, and I knew my body was expending too much energy heating itself vs. using the energy for propulsion.
Long story short, my work paid off. I caught a rider or two, rode with them for a bit, and then dropped them as I surged on. I ended up fourth overall, and first woman! Yay!
Next weekend is Ragnarok, my nemesis. I’m excited and scared shitless all at the same time. Last year I had a big fat DNF, and the year before I placed really well. Seems like it’s all or nothing at that race for me?!
On to more important things —
The primary purpose of Lakeville-Milltown-Lakeville is to be a fundraiser, and to be a bike race second. Larry and his wife put on this great event, and each year they select a fundraising recipient. The last few years it has been someone with incurable / terminal cancer. The race raised over $5000 for a single mom of two kids! If you missed out on the fun and want to donate, click here to help. If I had an incurable disease that would take me out, you’d better believe I’d use my final days not working, spending quality time with the kiddo and other loved ones.
Lastly, Sveta Vold is my hero. She’s been my hero since before I started biking, back when she was a single mom participating in winter endurance sports. When did she train?! Now she has a second young daughter and is still extremely active. On Saturday, she pulled her youngest in a bike trailer / Burley and had her other daughter ride along on her mountain bike. AMAZING. Some day I want to reach the same level of bad-assery as Sveta