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National Marathon Championship Race/Everest Challenge

By Ron Sawicki

Monique and I got back from our Hawaii 24 hour race extravaganza on Monday and left for Mammoth to race the one day National Marathon Championship Race on Wednesday. Thursday morning we awoke and that in itself was a great accomplishment. We got ourselves focused and headed out for our race. Our coach, Dr. Brandon Grove met us at the race start for some race pep talk. This was the first race and the last of the season for our coach to attend. We were very excited to have him and his family there. The race consisted of 3 laps of 22 miles and 6,000 feet of elevation gain. It sounds long with no climbing, but it was an all out cardio blast. Monique was able to take a 3rd place against the best riders in the country. I was shocked to find out that I had won the amateur title for men 30-39. After the ceremonies we headed back to our room to get right into recovery for the Everest Challenge only 2 days away.

The Everest Challenge (California/Nevada Hill climbing championship) is a 2 day road stage race, consisting of 228 miles and 29,000' of elevation gain. Two weeks before Nationals Monique found out about it and felt it would be a great way to end the season! The race starts in Bishop not far from Mammoth, so the drive was short. At registration we found out the pro women had gotten together and decided not to race with all the other women but start an hour later at 7:00 am on Saturday. We begged and pleaded but to no avail, they would not let Monique (a non licensed road racer) start with the pro's. The big disadvantage was she would have to race blind, starting one hour earlier and not knowing how she was doing against her competition.

At the end of the first day her time was only 4 minutes off the fastest female the year before but we would have to wait till the end of day two to know were she placed. At the start of the second day it was dark and freezing cold, there was a 4 mile neutralized start which the group road very slow due to the temperature. Monique went out strong and finished the day only 20 seconds slower than the fastest time the previous year! The only pro to stay in the race Dotsie Cowden came into the second day 6 minutes behind Monique but she had an advantage, she knew her deficit (due to her later start), so she went out hard and took the race on the second day. We had no clue until the end of the race were Monique stood. She was 2nd place by only 11minutes and almost 2 hours ahead of 3rd place. Our race season is now over!

We're ready for some fun rides, Hikes, paddling, etc. All with no heart rate monitor (at least for 4-6 weeks)! So anyone want to ride?

--Ron & Pua

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