My very first gravel race (or, well, bike race of any kind) is tomorrow. It’s Ned Gravel – a new race up in Nederland, CO. I am a wee bit nervous! It has been years since I’ve done any kind of race or competition (running races, bouldering), and quite a while since I’ve even done a bike event (since…. 2016?). So I definitely have some pre-race nerves happening, even though I just keep telling myself ‘it’s just a bike ride’.
We’ve been assuming it would be very hot. It’s been in the 90s most days the past several weeks, so we’ve doing quite a bit of heat training. But, in a bizarre twist of fate, a cold and wet front is moving in right about… now. There is a nice thunderstorm happening outside and I’m watching the lighting as I write this.
And this is tomorrow’s forecast in Ned:
You might notice there’s some rain. Like, a LOT of rain. And the temps are pretty darn chilly for end of July, particularly if it’s also going to be wet.
To top it off, I really have no experience riding gravel in the wet. So, I suppose this is good learning, but also ?♀️
I’m renting a super sweet bike – a Specialized Diverge Pro (a $7,500 bike). The kind folks at Ned Gravel/Specialized hooked up any women/BIPOC participants with a comped rental. And since my gravel bike isn’t ready yet*, I took them up on it. I’ve rented the bike once before, about a month ago, but it’s still tricky to get on a brand new bike with different wheels and different geometry and think about racing.
Plus, even though the race is relatively small (700 people total over three courses) and my category is tiny (29 folks in the women 30-39 group) it’s still stacked with several pros and local Boulder/CO legends. Boulder and the surrounding area has so many pros and Olympians that I’ve learned ‘small local races’ here are still pretty hard. I’ve mostly let go of expectations, and am aiming to finish as fast as I can go.
I’ve been dealing with a bunch of headaches this week, so not sure what’s up there. Tension? Weather? No idea. But hopefully I’ll wake up feeling ready to go tomorrow. We leave at 5AM for a 6:45AM line up. The first of four gravel races I’ve signed up for this year (and the shortest). Here goes nothing!
*Hopefully soon! I will write up the saga of this bike on here at some point. Suffice it to say, it’s been a months-long process. BUT, we JUST got one of the final parts (a shifter) officially ordered with an arrival on Monday ??So, I’m hoping I’ll be riding my own bike by RPI.