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2005 Cascade Cream Puff 100

By Leslie Williams

5th woman / 67th finisher out of 108

The Puff began for me at 3:50 am with bad instant coffee to get me in the rental car and out to Westfir. Shiggy put on an amazing race, as everything began at 5:15 am sharp without a problem. However the next few hours would prove to be a struggle, as the steep muddy single track got the best of me.

My legs felt weak and I was cramping early. The single track descent made up for how terrible I was feeling as the Niner flew around tight switch backs and down fast muddy descents. I lost time after Aid Zero on the flat paved Leslie and her mom section, and slowly made my way up to aid station 2 on the never-ending gravel road. After slamming some e-gels and endurolytes I finally began feeling back to normal and tried to pick up the pace around the next 30 mile leg.

There are no words to describe how beautiful and remote these trails are. The Niner was flawless up the short climbs and down more amazing, fast single track through the trees. I have never ridden for so long in such stunning scenery. I was having so much fun riding this section that at that point I was excited to do this loop again, not knowing what awaited me.

After what seemed like hours of single track, I began what would turn out to be a brutal fire road climb. At this point I was feeling so glad that the Niner is incredibly light, as I was definitely feeling the 60 miles. I didn't know where I was, or where I was going, I just kept pedaling... forever... until I was suprised to end up back at aid station 2. Thanks to Impy and my mom, I got the ipod that Erik had recently picked up, more fuel, and I was off to repeat the upper loop one more time.

Somehow I got some energy in the legs and thought how strange it was that I could feel 10 times better after 75 miles, than I did for the first 20. The fire road was beautiful, the single track was just as amazing and fun as the first loop, and as I dropped out of the trees back to aid station 2 for the last time, I was elated with the feeling of being almost done...until I hit the last 8 miles of single track where I completely died.

The short climbs were taking an eternity to climb, the descent hurt my sore body, I clipped a foot on a tree stump and fell into a hole, broke the pop-lock lever off my Reba....and at that point I was done. I had no idea where the finish line would be, but I tried to press on as fast as I could, until I was surprised to see spectators and Shiggy... with my Cream Puff finisher's hat.

Thanks to Shiggy and all the volunteers for putting on an organized, well-marked, well-supported race on your local trails. Thanks also to Don for making sure the Niner was ready to go for me. The Niner was flawless. I can't wait to ride it again. Huge thanks to Impy for personally driving my Niner up to the race!! What a great help, amazing.

Thanks to Niner bikes for the great frame, the Warrior's Society Race Team for their support and thanks to our race team sponsors, Shimano, Manitou, Cytomax, the Path Bike Shop, Switchback Cyclery and Clif Bar.

Please remember my Warrior's teammate Mario, who placed 2nd in the master's men category.


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