BaseCamp alumnus Andrea Wells shared her experience at Rebecca's Private Idaho in Sun Valley.
Three years ago (a newbie to cycling and pretty unaware of what good advice even was), I told my then coach I wanted to finish the QSR at RPI and asked her if she thought I could do it. Her response: "Uh..yeah…(longer than I wanted pause) I think you can."
The first two days were a struggle. Despite putting all the nutrition and hydration advice into practice, I felt the impact of the altitude and heat on my body and watched my power numbers plummet in disbelief. (Thank you to everyone out there cheering for me and sharing your own stories of the struggle. It was helpful to hear that I wasn’t the only one.) I really didn’t want to give up on being able to finish stage 3 despite knowing that even on my best day, I would have to give it all I had for 43 miles to make the time cut. Plan B began to formulate until coach Kathy Watts gave me the "I believe in you and give it all you got" pep talk and race strategy.
That’s exactly what I did. I gave it all I had, laser focused for 43 miles, pushing to hop on and hold on to every wheel opportunity that came my way. It made me so happy to return the favor and be able to take a turn to pull (even if it was short lived) and work with others out there when they were suffering. I was so focused that I stopped looking at my head unit at the top of Trail Creek climb (I vaguely remember seeing the first aid station, I don’t remember the second) and when I hit the Copper Basin rest stop, I had no idea what time it was or if I had even made it. The photographer (such a bad ass IMHO) cheered for me and when I asked her if I made it, she responded, "With 20 minutes to spare."
I'd like to say I crushed the ride home, but that wasn't part of my plan. Instead I took the opportunity to find a pace I could live with and put into practice staying up on my nutrition, hydration, working with others, keeping a positive mental attitude, getting in the drops through the soul sucking wind, staying light on the peddles, keeping my cadence up, and picking good lines to avoid flats. Every timing mat I crossed on the way home became its own victory, and after descending back down Trail Creek toward the finish, it felt great that I had some power left in me to pass other riders and even sprint to the finish.
Thank you, Rebecca Rusch and Tim Cusick, for sharing your knowledge and believing in the power of a training community. The coaching and support from the Basecamp program is amazing, and your dedication to this community makes me want to be a better person. Thank you to all the BaseCampers out there embracing your own struggles and sharing your stories. Even if you didn't have the results you were hoping for, you are all winners for doing the hard work, showing up, and giving it your best.