BaseCamper Andrea Davis shared her experience at Rebecca's Private Idaho 2023.
I've wanted to do this race for years and I almost can't believe I finally did it. Over the years, I've done a lot of riding and quite a bit of racing. I can count on one hand the number of times I felt like I had adequate training for an event and went into it determined to excel and not just struggled to finish.
The older I get, the more convinced I become that I want to spend the rest of my years being active. I want to do it in good health, at a healthy weight, and at a sustained level of fitness. That fitness is the key to being able to enjoy the outdoor activities I want to, when I want to, without struggling through them.
So almost two years ago, I started thinking very hard about what to do to make myself feel better about my upcoming 50th birthday. I soon decided that I would set a very challenging goal for myself and make sure I was ready to meet it. It was finally time to do that race I'd been dreaming of.
When I arrived in Idaho last week, I was nervous, but I felt pretty good about my training. The road up to (and back down from) the Trail Creek Summit was a bit intimidating, but I figured it wouldn't be that bad. Once I saw it in person, I quickly became terrified. I actually thought I was going to legit have a panic attack more than once. I was very worried I wouldn't even be able to make myself line up at the start line. But I did.
I just kept telling myself, you've done the training. You know you can do this. You just have to get over your fear and push yourself forward.
By the time I was lined up to start the race, I wasn't really afraid anymore. It started raining, but the lightning looked to be out of the forecast until later in the afternoon. I just did what I needed to do. That 4.5-mile climb ended up being manageable and not really that scary once I was riding it. I slowly and methodically moved up it until I was at the top.
The next part of the race was the most fun. I was pushing a big gear and moving at speeds upwards of 25 mph (may not seem like that fast, but for me it really is). It was great.
On the way back to Trail Creek, I reached the most demoralizing section of the course. There was a massive headwind and it started to rain again and then to hail. But I keep crawling along until I found myself back at the Trail Creek Summit.
After a quick stop at the aid station, I mentally prepared for the downhill. I'm not normally afraid of heights, but I have never ridden such a fast downhill with exposure like that. The psychological impact of the rutted road, the long downhill, the cars that were also traveling down, not to mention the roadies doing the 102-mile route who were whizzing closely by in their tucked position at God knows how fast, all while I was hugging the right side of a road that plunged down a thousand feet with no guardrail, was staggering.
I white-knuckled it down, squeezing my brakes. I'm not ashamed to say I stopped at turnoffs multiple times to shake out my hands, take pictures, and let my heart rate settle down a bit.
As soon as I encountered pavement, I was hit with a wave of endorphins and euphoria. I shifted back into a big gear and pedaled my heart out until I crossed the finish line.
I ended up finishing the race with an average speed of 1 mph more than I predicted. All in all, I'm more than pleased with the outcome.
Even though I always "just finish," I truly believe I wouldn't have been prepared to do this race if it hadn't been for the BaseCamp training. Everything I learned and did during the training period put me in a position to succeed.
Every time I do the things that are hard, the things that challenge me and push me to my limits, I find it's 100% worth it.