LW’s 2011 Arizona Trail Race 300 Adventure

Last weekend I raced Arizona Trail Race 300. For me it wasn't as much a race as a personal adventure. No woman had ever finished it before. It was big, tough and intimidating and finishing looked to be a huge personal challenge. Finishing AZT is no gimme.

The short story is I had the race of my life, absolutely loved it and not only achieved my #1 goal of  finishing but was the first racer across the finish line to take the overall win in 3 days, 4 hours and 5 minutes. It was always about me and myself and doing the best I could at any given time on the course to ensure I finished. Every decision I made out there was based on the goal to finish, not the goal to win. This year on AZT the conditions were tougher than ever. We had the highest attrition rate in the history of the event with 22 starters, 4 finishers and 18 DNF's. Finishing turned out to be a winning strategy this year.

Now for the blow-by-blow long version:

In true Dave and Lynda fashion we were late to the start!! We arrived in time to see everyone else start and wave them off - oops. We got a ride to the start with Kurt and Caroline. Kurt somehow cruised out with the main group on time! Being a 2 time winner and course record holder he clearly had it together. I was feeling super nervous, not all that together and a little crazy before the start. My head was buzzing...did I have everything I needed...did I have too much stuff...all these little bits and pieces...did I really need waterproof pants...should I take my knife...do I have the track on my gps...is my head still attached...will my legs work...are my fingers really broken... I'd crashed hard 11 days prior and thought I might have 2 broken fingers on my right hand. I hadn't had them x-rayed as I really wanted to do AZT...they didn't work quite right...

(After the race I went to the Dr, nothing was broken but 2 fingers, right middle and pinkie, were dislocated, which explains why they were not working. They were ok riding for the most part. The hard part was stuffing my sleeping bag in a tight little bag).

Pic is of me checking over everything before we start and leave the "safe" parking lot. My full set up details are on Bikepacking.net

Big thanks to Caroline Soong for these start photos. I didn't pack a camera.

DH was ready to start before me. He waited for me and humored my pre-race frenetics. He has seen it 100 times and says the success of my race is directly proportional to how wound up I am before the start!! He smiles and pats my shoulder and says I'll be fine.

We rolled out together 18 mins late. It was perfect for me to start behind the main group so I had space to calm down and get in my ride groove.

I let DH ride on ahead and took about 30 very mellow minutes to get a feel for riding with the weight on my bike, calm my nerves and settle down into my happy place. I passed DH sitting under a tree with Marshall. Marshall looked flushed and hot. Not good so early in... I thought DH was just visiting with Marshall but later found out that was the start of his DNF causing blisters. Marshall pulled out with the start of heat stroke not long after. It was hot!!

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