One of the best things about racing is that you end up in nooks of the world that you would never think to visit otherwise. The Boggs 8 Hour Race is one of them. The Boggs Mountain State Forest is located about 1 hour north, as the crow flies, of Santa Rosa, CA. Coming from Reno, you depart high speed Interstate 80 after about an hour’s drive west and proceed on the slower, winding Highway 20 through former mining towns turned agricultural like Yuba City (home to the largest dried fruit processing plant, Sunsweet Growers. Think prunes!) and Colusa (major rice producing area). Then you spend the final half an hour navigating shoulder-less back roads overhung with vegetation where nearly every home has some type of rusty, broken down, overgrown truck out front. Boggs is a primitive campground, but one Jared and I quickly made into our home replete with a hot shower and bike repair station. The quiet stands of tall pines transformed into a bustling bike village by Friday night. But onto the race details: Boggs claims over 22 miles of single track. Our course only touched 8.5 of them, but it’s in the heat of a race that otherwise humdrum terrain turns into a great challenge. The course starts and finishes with sustained fire road climbing, and like any good sandwich, the best part was in the middle with fast, flowy single track through the trees. My partner in crime for the women’s duo was fellow Marin Bikes teammate Cara Woods, a senior high school student from San Rafael, CA. I find it a hoot that she’s exactly half my age, yet I look up to the drive, determination, strength, and skill that she possesses on a bike. We agreed that I’d take the first lap. I managed a reasonable position at the start line by situating myself under the Marin Bikes mechanic’s tent which was set up along the starting corral. For the starting fire road ascent, I was determined to push my pace to ensure that I hit the single track in a good position. Once a gigantic group of riders attempts to funnel into single file, you’re lucky if you become a part of a slow moving conga line. Otherwise, you experience the misery of coming to a dead halt. In this type of mass start, all categories are mixed together (men, women, solo, duos, and trios), so you have absolutely no idea who or where your competitors are. As the field spread out, Cara and I targeted our rivals. We overcame them to take the lead during our second laps and we were holding a strong and sustainable pace. By my third lap, I knew where to push and where to recover. I was feeling great! The middle part of the course is so fun – you’re whizzing through the trees, relishing the wind in your face, finding a fast rhythm to your descent. And then suddenly….. FLIP, CRASH, WHAT THE HELL???? !!!!! I still have no idea what happened, but I somehow high sided my bike and somersaulted onto the side of the trail. I remember seeing the bike over my head and hitting a tree below me. Psssssssssssssssss. That’s the sound of my front tire going flat. I got off the ground quickly and grabbed my bike. All my body parts seemed to be moving fine and, surprisingly, the only thing that seemed wrong with my bike was the flat tire. I got a new tube in as fast as I could. My 16g CO2 cartridge only filled my 29” tire to an unsatisfactory squishy state. Crap! Oh, and now I see I have a broken spoke! Damn it! I had faith in the strength of my carbon rim and decided to carry on. Luckily, I was just a few minutes out from the “Bacon hand up” station, and as I was rolling in, I yelled out for a floor pump. They had one, phew! My catastrophe lap was 53 minutes – not bad given that my fastest lap was about 45 minutes. But when I checked the score board, we were 5 minutes behind the lead team. The Marin Bike mechanics (Matt and Gravy) were awesome! They saved the day by swapping in a demo bike wheel for me to use. Forty-five minutes in between laps is so little, and with this mechanical, my rest and recover time was even shorter this round. I tried to be efficient with what precious time I had left. I put an ice block in a plastic baggie and tied it to my shin which had taken a hit, so that I could get some stretching in at the same time. But before I knew it, I was back in the transition zone waiting for Cara, and my legs felt beat up. I did all I could in lap 4, but turned in an unimpressive 50 minute lap. Afterwards, I refocused and regrouped. I knew I could do better. When Cara came in from her 4th lap, she had closed the gap to just 25 seconds behind first place!!! I did everything I could to keep pace. When I rolled in, at about 3pm, Cara yelled out that she would do two final laps. I still got ready at the line for my lap, in case she had a mechanical, but with a look of fierce determination she called out to me, “I got it!” She was a minute and a half AHEAD! Could she sustain it?!?!? I ran to the Marin Bikes tent and shared the excitement, I checked out the score board again, and I then planted myself at the finish line, anxiously awaiting her return. What a feat if she were to seal the deal for us! Cara’s final two laps were fast. It would have been a miracle for me to have even matched her speed. But team “Tiny Trouble” took the victory. In an 8 hour race, we were less than 3 minutes behind. My crash opened a 5-7 minute gap. What if……?!?!?! Nevertheless , it was a glorious 2nd place finish. What a race!