|The gravel roads make it hard to hold a camera steady|
I made the second checkpoint around 5, I'm not exactly sure on the time but it was well before the 9:45 cut off time. I rode from the checkpoint until 10pm alone it was nice for awhile to be able to just ride my own pace but I really wasn't looking forward to riding all night by myself with nothing to look at but my lights in front of me. Luckily a group of two guys and a girl from
Lincoln, caught up to
me. It was nice to have company for the
We rode all night long fighting to stay awake and 90 miles after the checkpoint was supposed to be a gas station. We made it to a town at 90 miles and saw only a closed gas station… we started to get worried. We had 60 miles to go still and we were getting cold, hungry, and my bottles were empty. Luckily someone noticed 24 hour convenience store another 15 miles down the route. We kept on trucking. We were about 7 miles away and you could see it lit up like an airport. We kept zig zagging down different roads slowly making our way toward it while following the race course and finally made it. It was a truck stop on the side of the highway, I had a breakfast burrito and it was amazing! So I bought another burrito and a gallon of water. Half way through the second burrito a large group of riders pulled in, so I tossed my half eaten burrito and gunned it to the finish. I was worried one of these guys that I kept behind me for the last 24 hours might try to sneak by.
The day before I had planned on finishing around 10-11am, but the rate I was riding put me at the finish line at 8 am. I knew Christina wouldn't be expecting me that early so I was hopeful she would be there anyway. I know she wanted to see me finish.
The last 40 miles to the finish were very hilly with lots of fresh gravel but I was motivated by knowing all the guys behind me were still there. I kept looking back thinking someone was coming but no one ever did. I followed the course into
, past our hotel and back out of town to
the area of the finish line. Grinnell, Iowa
I was so happy to finish that I wanted to jump for joy but I was so exhausted that even thinking of jumping for joy was a chore. At the last corner I nearly burst into tears with happiness but luckily I was able to contain myself. I will never be able to explain the feelings I had when I heard that I had finished 6th overall (officially 5th overall because they count ties as one position), my goal for this race was simply to finish. And to place so well was a dream come true. Christina luckily did get up early just in case I finished early and was able to see me finish. I couldn't believe how many strong riders dropped out and didn’t make it. Chris Schotz's advice had paid off, "just finish and you will have a good finish."