August 23, 2016/ Maria Parker
This morning I’m in California, up early local time. I’m babysitting for my precious 21 month old grandson while his parents get away for a much needed break. On Saturday I raced the 100 Mile UMCA Championship at the Mid-Atlantic 12/24. I almost didn’t go. I’ve been traveling non-stop for Cruzbike, 3000 Miles to a Cure, and family events for the last year and I haven’t been training much on the bike. Little T and me in LA
Jim and I did do significant mileage the previous two weekends. We traveled to Brevard, NC to ride the Cycle North Carolina Mountain ride where I was forced to confront my lack of fitness midway up some steep and long climbs in the mountains of North Carolina. The previous weekend we’d traveled to the Triangle area to do the Hillsboro Bikefest. There I discovered that I lacked heat acclimation too. Suffice it to say that going into the 100 mile race at Alvin and Melissa’s wonderfully organized event, I was lacking in confidence. Up until we arrived at the start I was unsure of whether or not I would do the 100 mile, or just support Jim and Larry. As usual, Jim encouraged me to race.
Jim and I decided we’d make the 2 and 1/2 hour trip to the race in the morning rather than spending the night in Washington, NC. I wanted to sleep in my own bed. We set our alarms for 3:45 am, and barely made the starting line. When we arrived, I ran to the bathroom while Jim got us signed up.
Coming out of the bathroom I was so excited to see Rob White, a RAAM finisher who raised $30,000 for brain cancer research on behalf of 3000 Miles to a Cure in 2015. He was there racing the 12 hour with his nephew Tyler. It was Tyler’s first ever ultra distance event. Tyler and I were crew together for Rob’s RAAM – seeing them both warmed my heart. It was great to see so many other friends at the race, too. It made me really glad we’d come.
The 100 mile race went off and I hung onto the back of the fast group for 18 miles into the first 26 mile lap. At that point, there was a long acceleration and I could no longer keep up. The next 70 miles I rode alone, enjoying keeping my power and speed as steady as possible.
On the 4th and last loop I turned right too early and got about 1/2 mile down the wrong rode before I realized my mistake and turned around. As I got back on the race course, I caught up with Lanier Meeks on his Rans Rifle. I passed him and he stayed in my rear view mirror. I asked him if he would like to work together. We rode together for about 10 miles, alternating pulling. It was just what I needed to finish.
I finished in 4 hours 36 minutes and won the women’s division. The best part is that I get to claim 100 mile UMCA National Champion and wear the cool white jersey. I also loved the new sunglasses that were a prize to the winner.
Thanks especially to Alvin and Melissa Maxwell for organizing a terrific race and always making everyone feel very welcome.