After the epiphany and subsequent fun of the Vedder race, I was more than pumped to get my race on in another location. Next up was ChainLine Kelowna. There was something very lucky for me about this particular race: it had a short course. This took the course down from 6 stages to 4. Given that there wasn’t a staggered start like in Vedder, I predicted some sweep interaction and worried about how long I would take. The short course really helped with this. I have to say, I don’t have pictures of them unfortunately, but the sweeps were the absolute loveliest people! They were so chill and kind even though they were stuck behind me for a while. Absolutely lovely humans. When you watch the video of the first stage, they were the ones starting to cheer as I left at the top (encouraging a group of hikers I also spent a fair amount of time with on the way up to start cheering too). Overall, I can’t say enough how wonderful these two guys were and I may not have been as successful as I was without them.
Let’s talk about the race itself. Really nice climb. It was a bit dodgy in parts but mostly pretty cruisy. That being said, it still took me an hour to get up there between riding and hike a bike. There is something to be said about the view as well. I spent a lot of time just stopping and looking around at the scenery. Let’s face it, it was partially an excuse for taking a break, but to the people walking by it looked like I was overcome with the majesty of the mountains.
Achievement-wise, this race was important for a few reasons. First of all, this was the first race that I finished!!! It isn’t an exaggeration to say that I did a happy dance at the bottom and told anybody who would listen how excited I was to have finished. There was a lot of jumping and dancing as well as my fair share of high fives. It was awesome.
The second achievement, and the one which made me feel a little strange, was that I managed to get on the podium. Of course, I was my customary last in my category. But my category had 3 people in it. Podium by default counts, right?
It was exciting and fun to have my name called and go up there but I couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed because I felt like I didn’t really deserve a medal. But I definitely kept it. The medal sits in my living room and makes me smile whenever I see it. Champagne may or may not have been bought on the way home.
There was a lot of think and feel about this race and it is definitely one of my favorites and a highlight of the race season. I also chatted with (while bragging about my finish and collecting high fives) some amazing people from Steedz racing club who I got to see again and again with each race. It’s particularly fun to start to recognize people and have them recognize you and say hi. I think I stand out as the one who looks like she’s about to die walking up the climb. Or maybe it’s the old Bottlerocket. Either way, what a great community.