I teamed up with some Asheville/Brevard, NC friends for my third 12 Hrs of Tsali race. This was my second all-women’s team, and after studying lap times from last year’s race, I knew we could be in contention for the win. Bernadette Merriman (Brevard, NC) started us off with the Le Mans start and first lap. A solid 57 minutes later, Berne passed the baton to Leah Nicholson (Asheville, NC), who passed off to Mandy Meyer (Asheville, NC), who passed off to me for the fourth lap.
I was feeling good up the climb and first descent, but flatted at mile 4. I wasted about 10 minutes changing the tube, which ended up dropping us into 5th place. The spare tube I’d packed with me had a HUGE hole in to from a little mousey friend. After re-changing the tube, and a minor pump malfunction, I finally managed to put 20psi and prayed it’d hold for the rest of the lap. The adrenaline had me pinned for the rest of the lap. We spent the rest of the race playing catch-up. Mandy, our powerhouse, wrecked hard, but still caught 3rd during her last lap. I pulled out at 8:50p 11 minutes ahead of 4th place. I flipped on my head and handlebar lights determined to stay ahead of 4th. I wrecked early into the downhill, but hopped back on quickly, maintained my position, and crossed the finish line insuring the podium for my team. Turns out we had made up 30 minutes on 2nd place, finishing just a minute behind them, and only 10 minutes behind 1st… after doing the math, it looks as though we could have won the women’s category without the flat & wrecks… but alas, such is racing.