This is interesting as I am writing the first part of my race report before it has happened. That’s a first! This is because I really feel as though it is important to talk about intention. Every year I create huge dreams in my head. When I used to do this, I had many critics who would tell me what I wanted wasn’t possible. Luckily for me I chose not to believe them. I am so fortunate this year to have the same crazy head that loves to dream, create and jump into things head first with absolutely no idea how what I just decided I was going to do would actually come to fruition. Sometimes I lose that faith and fall face first in the mud. Yes this has happened literally and figuratively. Huge lessons, much suffering, but eventually joy is what I embrace.Getting to the 2nd La Sportiva Mtn cup event has been no different. Critics. Many told me it was too hard to get there, too expensive for a single mom with a small income, some judge me for leaving my son for yet another weekend of racing. But when something in the heart says do it, of course I am going to go. Getting to the middle of nowhere in Southern Texas from Utah is no easy task. A 22 hour drive is out of the question for an ADD girl. Luckily there is a 3 hour direct flight from Delta that goes to San Antonio. From there is it 146 miles to race head quarters for the Nueces 25k La Sportiva Mtn Cup. A Christian camp oasis in the middle of nowhere! So how does a Rachel make the trip? Not very smoothly. First February went by way to quickly. It was a week before my race and I realized it was March. Crap. Forgot to buy my plane ticket. They were $800 at that point which was out of the question. Hmmm…. luckily I had enough frequent flier miles. Barely. Happily I purchased my ticket. The amazing race director Joe was the best ever. I emailed him to let him know I was coming and he entered me into the race and arranged a cool bunk house accommodation right at the race site to help me offset my travel costs.
Sweet. Other than a crazy day of work right up until I left for the airport, I was set. My good friend Art volunteered to take me to the airport. Wow. Amazing everything was working out! This is until I was checked in at the airport and realized my ID was missing. This quickly turned into my second airport meltdown in a month as I desperately begged and tried to make my flight. I realized my ID was at home in my copy machine forgotten when my son accidentally spilled an entire glass of water on it. I forgot about my license and was trying to save the copy machine of its water nemesis and forgot to take it out. I even called Art. He drove me home for my license and back to the airport where I then stood sobbing at the ticket counter as I was too late to make my flight. I made no progress as the agent refused to change my ticket to the one other flight the next day that would still get me to Texas in time. Even for a fee. She told me the flight was overbooked. I left feeling finally defeated. But then Art came to the rescue. He called Delta’s reservations and told my circumstance. 3 minutes later the coolest agent in the world for Delta, Anna Harrison, had not only gotten me onto the morning flight (which the agent at the airport had just told me was full) to San Antonio but waived the $150 change fee. Ok. I was back on board. Yes! Thank you Art, thank you Anna from Delta. Persevere….
Next morning went off without a hitch. Art took me for the 4th time in 13 hours to the airport. Sorry Art! Got on the flight. Sat next to a cool girl. Slept, read, wrote. Picked up bag and rental car in San Antonio. Then of course did my usual get lost trying to find the race thing and spent 4 hours instead of just over two driving even with a gps. Then it lost service. Great. As you may imagine it got really good after that! I need a driver who doesn’t have navigational issues to get me to my races!
When I finally got to the race site, it literally was an oasis in the middle of nowhere! A christian camp. Who knew that would make such great head quarters? Joe Prusaitis, the race director was hands down amazing. He had a great pre race dinner planned, Cool cabins with surprisingly comfortable bunks to sleep on. I got to share a cabin with the La Sportiva team and rep. Now that was fun. Since I don’t race for them, I consider myself their little appendage at these races whom at least provides some entertainment. We had a great evening talking, laughing and in just hanging out! I am seriously the luckiest girl I know to meet amazing people and have the best time ever!
Fast forward post race! Next morning was race time! I was so happy to have a race with sunshine. Although a bit cooler than I hoped, once the race began I felt perfectly comfortable in my CW-X compression shorts and Newton Momentus trail running shoes and top! The course was a roller coaster style with a variety of terrain. The only part I didn’t like was the girl who ended up second was mean. She yelled at everyone she wanted to pass instead of just asking us to move over. My incident with her was frustrating. Initially she passed me and two other guys at a technical downhill. We were lucky to get out of that one upright as she was forceful and rude. About 20 seconds later we came upon an aid station. The two guys left first, then me, then the mean girl. The terrain at that point was a technical uphill single track without much space to pass. When mean girl caught up to me, she again yelled at me to move out of her way. When I was unable to move immediately she physically pushed me off the trail. I didn’t fall but ended up about 15 feet off down in the brush as she continued on catching the two guys and yelling at them as well. Luckily they were able to get out of the way. I have never had quite anything like this happen before. Ironically it happened right after XTERRA published an article I wrote for them on Trail Running Etiquette. Mean girl didn’t pass the test!
I lost about a minute sorting myself out and getting back to the trail. But it took me a fair amount of time to find my rhythm again. I did find it, never caught the girl, but enjoyed a gorgeous last half of the race. Seriously this race course was outstanding! At the finish line, I crossed as third female overall and 7th overall if you count the guys. I was 5 minutes back from my good friend Megan Kimmel and 3 minutes back from the 2nd place girl. I told the race director my incident with the girl mostly so hopefully she would think twice about treating others this way in future races. She denied any wrong. Oh well. I believe in Karma!
Post race thoughts. Joe puts on seriously cool events. There are obvious reasons La Sportiva would choose this race as one of their 10 Mountain Cup Races. The race started on time to the second. Course was well marked, aid stations organized, well stocked and full of friendly volunteers! I hope I have the chance to race another of his events soon and you do too!
Now I am back in San Antonio chilling in the sun and writing before I head back home to the 801. I am again so grateful for Newton, CW-X, Zarephath trading, and all of the cool people in my life who continuously rescue Rachel so I can race! Thanks as always La Sportiva for promoting the series and Joe and his super crew for a fabulous race. It was all worth my initial struggles to make it out to Texas!