HooDoo 500 with Liz Inglese
Hoo Doo 500 - Three Day Stage Race
St. George, Utah to Escalante (203 miles); Escalante to Panguitch (177 miles); Panguitch to St. George, Utah (153 miles)
I never thought that I would one day be able to say that I enjoyed an endurance cycling event but I have to say that this race was a real discovery of self-confidence; power, trust, team-work and FUN.
Day 1 – St. George, Utah to Escalante; 208 miles +12,020ft elevation gain / -8744ft elevation loss.
The first day of the Hoo Doo 500 was a day of self-doubt, hesitation and hope that it would go well and that I would not leave Jill on her own to carry the torch. I experienced a loss of power and self-preservation. YUCK! At the end of day 1, I knew I had to recreate myself as a powerful endurance cyclist or suffer the next two days. I analyzed the day and saw that I was cowering when it was my time to ride. I also saw that during the hill climbs I was working at 75% - 80% and leaving a lot of fuel in the tank, if you will. That evening Jill reminded me that our workouts for the pass months was to train us to ride long distance powerfully without over-loading our legs. She calls it riding in your "sweet spot". And she shared that while she participated in Race Across America twice over 3,050 miles at a time, she never once cramped. In that moment, I experienced an “AH HA” moment; a paradigm shift. All of a sudden I realized I could get in this game and give it my all and it’s going to go however it’s going to go. This race might as well go as we say it’s going to go.
As we were getting ready to go to sleep, Jill shared she wanted to break the Women’s 50+ record and that we were one hour ahead of the course record at the end of Day 1.
Day 2 – Escalante to Panguitch; 171 miles +10,794ft / -10,059 ft.
Day 2 started with a climb from 5200ft to 9600ft in the first 40 miles. My legs felt tired and as I was cycling next to others, I noticed their legs were tired too. I stayed within my “sweet spot” and began to pass people. Today, I was part of a team that was working together. The Crew Chief, my race partner/wife and I were now in sync. My confidence grew as we continued to pass people. There was a point between mile 100 and 150 where I did not know where the leg power was coming from. I did not question it. I just pedaled powerfully with a smile on my face. As we ended the day, I was tired and fulfilled. I knew I had carried my weight and more. As a team we discussed race strategy, nutrition and hydration tips and there was a moment I felt as one unit. I was not longer separate and alone trying to preserve myself.
As we were getting ready to go to sleep, Jill created the possibility of breaking the Women’s 50+ record and that we were a little more than an hour ahead of the course record.
I smiled and said that’s a game worth playing.
Day 3 – Panguitch to St. George, Utah; 143.1 miles; +7,849ft / -11,848ft.
Day 3 was exciting, fun, intense and a day of team work as we knew we were ahead of the previous record time by a little more than an hour.
The day started with being concerned with the team, nutrition, hydration and lots of coffee. My heart was pumping with excitement and for the first time I could say we were going to break the record.
I began to have fun with the other participants. I felt strong as we began the climb to Cedar Break. As I was climbing past the tandem team that we went back and forth with at Day 2, they told me, “today we are going to get you”. I smiled at them and said, “Game on!” We did not see them again until the finish.
We broke the Women’s 50+ record by more than an hour. It was a proud moment of accomplishment!!
I thank my Coach Jill Gass for preparing me for the unimaginable and Frazer Hazlett, our Crew Chief, for his love of cycling and his ingenious race strategy. This was a life experience never to be forgotten.
I am committed to participate in this race again next year, with 3 or 4 more teams from B4T9 Women’s Cycling Team.