Pre-report: Syllamo’s Revenge 125K

Charles Dickens wasn’t joking when he wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” In short, that’s the perfect way to describe my experience at the inaugural 125K of Syllamo’s Revenge in Mountain View, Arkansas. I had been forewarned by my friends at Competitive Cyclist to bring my A-game, full suspension, and technical skills. They had done the 50 mile distance multiple times.

The way things played out for me leading up to the event were not ideal. I got another sinus infection after the Front Range 60, but one I was able to fight off with rest and all the home remedies. I took Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off the bike and only got my blood moving with a couple yoga classes to keep the lymph flushing. I was also biting my nails. We still had not received our full suspension bikes. I heard they were supposed to come in on Monday, but Monday came and went and so did a few more days before it finally arrived at Jeff’s in Fort Collins Wednesday evening. He swiftly and precisely built my bike and I drove to Fort Collins first thing Thursday morning to retrieve it. Wheatridge Cyclery kindly squeezed me in for a bike fit which I’ll be reporting on soon, and by the time I got home, it was 5:30 PM. It had been raining for days and I could not ride my bike on the trail, so I took it for a quick 1 hour spin up the road. Too bad it slipped my mind to maybe mess with the air pressure in my front fork and rear shock…

I knew riding a brand new bike at a race was risky, but based on the stories of the Arkansas rocks and my experience at the Ouachita Challenge, I knew a full suspension would be an advantage. I didn’t want to bring the hardtail. Would it be better to ride a bike that was dialed? I wouldn’t have to run around like a chicken with its head cutoff 2 days before the race; or would it be better a brand new bike, but one with more suspension but that could potentially have issues prior to the obligatory first couple ride break in and set up period? Decisions, decisions.

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This is the Grand Canyon Lux MR. She’s a beaut!

The facts? I only rode my bike one hour during the week, was sick and had a headache and sore neck for 5 days straight, I was riding a new bike, and I had to get up at 4 AM the next morning to get to the airport and wouldn’t get to my destination till about 8 PM race-eve with zero course recon. The magic 8 ball would say: Outlook not good. The optimist in me said it would be ok. The realist shook her head saying, “here we go again.” Find a way or find an excuse, and I was desperately trying to find a way.

I arrived in Arkansas Friday afternoon and was warmly greeted by Hap and we headed to Competitive Cyclist. I unpacked my bike and Angry Dave helped me get my bike back together. He did a stellar job getting it tuned in a jiffy.

There were about 14 people in the crew that headed to the cabin in Mountain View.

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Sweeeet digs.

We picked up our registration and drop bags were due that night, so I attempted to quickly make them up and I clumsily spilled gel on my jeans. Hap’s wife, Chas, made some amazing Turkey Bolognese that we all hungrily wolfed down to fuel for the next morning. We all headed to bed.

I chose to wake up at 5:30 AM for my 7 AM start. I knew it’d be cutting it a little close with eating that close to the start time. It’s always a gamble. I normally at 2-2.5 hours before the start, but sleep was more important, or so I thought. After eating some granola and soymilk which ended up being great fuel for both the Whiskey 50 and Front Range 60 the two weeks prior, I suited up in my kit and headed to the venue.

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