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Marji Gesick…what’s the plan?

In three weeks Adam and I will race one of the hardest mountain bike races in the US. Most people who’ve raced it, and Leadville, say it’s a much harder race. So you might be thinking…well she didn’t complete Leadville, how is she going to do this?? So I’ll tell you my plan, why I think the outcome will be different and we’ll see how it works out.

#1. It’s a very different race. Marji is about 110 miles and over 12,000ft of climbing, on single track (those are trails that are only a few feet wide, room for one bike). However, it’s much more friendly to slower but determined riders. There is one cut off (Leadville had three) and it’s at mile 85 ish. I have to get to this one cut off before 2am on Sunday. I believe the race starts at 6am Saturday giving me 20 hours to get there.

#2. Each year only about 30% complete it. Yes, that sounds bad BUT my understanding is that most don’t miss cut off, they quit! I don’t quit.

#3. I’m going to pace myself. This race will take me around 24 hours. So I’m going to chunk it into 5 mile sections. After each 5 miles, I’ll get off stretch, eat and drink.

#4. Eat real food. I’ll still be using gels but I’ll be eating real food too. Likely sandwiches and the occasion bag of salt and vinegar crisps. Real food will help keep my stomach and my mind happy. Happy stomach equals more hydration consumed also.

#5. I’m going walk a lot of the last 20 miles. Once I’ve made that one cut off, the trails get even more technical. I will have been riding for 18-20 hours, it’ll be dark, I don’t want to die. So I’m going to walk a lot.

#6. Podcasts. Listening to podcasts, mostly my fave true crime podcast “Crime Junkie”, is going to distract me from the horror of the race. It’s going to blank out some noice so I don’t hear the twigs break and think it’s Bigfoot. It’ll help to keep me sane when it gets dark*.

#7. Find a friend. I’m going to try to find a night ride buddy so I’m not riding alone through the dark Michigan night. Their lights will help me to see the trails (two sets of lights is better than one) and it’ll be less scary.

#8. Be mentally prepared for it to be the worst day of my life. Then if it’s not, it’s a bonus!

*It has been noted that listening to unsolved murder stories may not be the best option while riding alone in the woods at night.



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