This weekend was the MASS Endurance Race – The Iron Furnace at Wawayanda State Park. It’s a badass race that’s overshadowed a bit by its bigger brother, the Bearsct 50. But the Iron Furnce is still no walk in the park, because riding those wet roots and rocks is a challenge no matter what. On Sunday, several member of the team braved the sketchy conditions and below are there stories:
I didn’t have any expectations going into the Iron furnace. The start was fast, probably too fast. As we rounded the asphalt road section I decided I wanted to get ahead of some of the boys and bridged up to the lead men’s pack to be ahead of the bulk of riders into the single track. I knew the pace was too high for an effort of this distance, but I was able to recover quickly and settle into a steady, smooth pace in the single track. The wet rocks, roots and bridges were a ton of fun and I was able to ride quite cleanly. I passed a number male riders, and many passed me. I swapped positions with the Women’s leader a few times and ended up settling into 2nd on the double track. The climbing was tough and the descents rewarding. I kept my focus on riding smoothly. Heading into the second lap I found my legs were pretty sapped and I had a lot more dabs and mistakes, but no crashes. The lap went by pretty quickly and I was reeling in and passing male riders. After the last technical section I had to switch all my mental focus over to talking myself through the final stretches of fire road and single track. There was a lot of swearing involved, but I kept turning it positive and rode through the finish in disbelief that I landed on the podium.
I think the look on my face coming into the end stretch of the race tells the story LOL
The last 3 miles were by far the hardest mental game I have had to overcome in a long time. My legs were so tired that I stopped attempting to ride those last punchy and techy climbs, I just ran up them and had to yell at myself to get back on that bike. Barely any focus left, I couldn’t even enjoy the remaining downhills. What kept my fingers off the breaks was the thought: The faster I go, the quicker this will all be done!
The whole experience was awesome. Learning that I could hold my own in an (unplanned) race with this distance, and coming in with a pretty decent time overall in the women’s cat 2 & 3 field, made me proud, because it shows that my dedication to my training (and skipping my fun rides, booo!) is paying off! Can’t wait to see what else this year has to bring.
I went into this race with low expectations because I’m not a long distance kind of racer. I like short and fast races, where I put my head down and go all out for as long as i can. I used this same strategy for the Iron Furnace and I had a really good start to the race. Go figure. I came into the single track in the top 6 or 7 and that set up a better than expected first lap. But things have a way of leveling out, so as good as my first lap was, my second was as equally as bad. I hit the wall hard, and out of nowhere. It was amazing how fast my gas tank ran out, no warning light. I think I ended up 14th which is pretty much where i thought I would, but the good start had my hopes up. This one stings a little.
That hurt. A lot.
I will be seeking a rematch in 2020.
I’m skipping this one. I did a ride not a race.