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Marcia's Monday Musings - Natchaug Epic Race Report

Updated: May 9, 2023

What: @natchaugepic explorer route

Where: @thompsonmotorspeedway Thompson, CT

When: March 26, 2023 rolling at 10:05

First event of the 2023 season with minimal pre-event bike time so I was hoping my winter skiing fitness would keep the pedals turning.

Acknowledging and accepting where my fitness is and how fast the women's field was, I set different goals.

1) Finish

2) Fuel and hydrate

3) Put some effort in on the timed segments

With a separate start for the women, I missed the opportunity to ride with Mt friends Jamie and Jaime but the smaller group at the start created the opportunity to roll out and chat with Cecily and Kim. Hearing about trips to Botswana and Tour de France adventures it was a great way to start the event and meant clear sailing when we hit the muddy bottle necks for us.

We rolled together for the first 20 or so miles until the water stop, regrouping after the timed segment. The first timed segment was in the woods and quite muddy, I rode more than I thought I would but ultimately decided to stay dry and walked the last little bit, but I had pushed leading into this section and still think this was the faster approach for me. Rolling out of the water stop with @alternateroutecycling we were chatting and I have my one regret of the ride as I was not aware enough that Kim and Cecily dropped back. Confident that they were together and riding well I decided to keep riding and from this point on was substantially solo.

Just a few miles later was the first official rest stop but with full bottles and snacks in my bag I decided to pass on the grilled pb sandwiches and keep rolling into the forest. The ride continues to pop you in and out of beautiful forest and when not in the forest the Connecticut farm roads are great with minimal traffic.

Two most timed segments had me pushing and raising the heart rate without blowing up trying to finish at the same effort and I did pretty well. The 3rd finishes on a hill and the hill continues on...nothing like recovery on a 7% grade, but honestly that was part of the fun.

Approaching the 2nd rest stop the was a beautiful gravel downhill where I focused on all the wrong things and ultimately ended up in the ditch, but am grateful to have minimal wear and tear to show. Putting myself back together I roll with slightly offset handlebars to the rest stop where warm apple cider donuts and hot coffee awaited. After a quick headset adjustment with Marty (met him on a Brown Dog Tour ride last year) and a double check by alternate route I was off to finish the last 15 miles.

More rolling hills, chatting with fellow riders about how 50 miles would have been good enough, but still finding it hard to complain since it was 60 and Sunny in March. Up, down and through the woods to roll back into the speedway.

Goals achieved! I was over the finish line and I felt good, which for me means I hydrated and fueled. I knew that while my times would not be competitive I had put the effort in on the timed segments. Bonus goal I lifted my front wheel over 2 small logs on a trail section without getting off. This may not sound like a lot for the mountain bikes out there but for me this was a huge win!

Off to change and meet up with Jamie and Jaime over a bowl of chili and beers for them. They too had big smiles and had experienced a wonderful day on the bike. Time to head home before the tired set in.

I would 100% take a chance on the weather and do this ride again! Thanks

Natchaug Epic, Kim, Cecily, Jamie and Jaime for getting me excited for another Salty season on the bike.

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