BaseCamp alumnus Cheryl Muldoon shared her experience at the 2022 Farmer's Daughter Gravel Grinder in Chatham, New York.
Farmer's Daughter (my A event) was this Sunday. Completed 90 minutes faster than previous years, even though the course was 2 miles longer with about 1000 ft more in climbing (around 68 miles, 7200 ft of climbing - missed a chunk on my Strava/TP when I forgot to unpause the Wahoo 🤣). This is the event I've always been DFL to finish, partly because a large number of people quit at the second rest stop/halfway point after the second nasty single track section. This year saw a massive amount of people bail as that trail was in very rough shape, with a lot of mud and slippery roots and rocks.
I had enough 'gas in the tank' to give a hard push the last 5 miles when the sky darkened and thunderstorms were looming. The forecast had been for overcast skies with on and off showers, so when it ended up hot and sunny, we all were not prepared for the early season farmer's tan lines we received through lovely sunburns. The sun and heat charged the atmosphere after several unseasonably hot days, though, and thunder was a given. We got back to the parking lot, loaded the bikes and and drove over to the food tent (we had been parked really far away since this event had over 600 riders) - and as soon as we got in line for food the wind kicked up out of nowhere and blew the tent over! We scooped some food and ran to the car just seconds before a 45 minute deluge of rain! As we sat in the dry car eating what little food we'd been able to grab, we watched dozens of riders roll through the finish line. If it wasn't for BaseCamp, I'd have been out on course still when this nasty storm hit. So while I made it back before they 'planned' to pack up the BBQ, I only got a tiny bit of food before mother nature packed it up for them.
You'll notice I rode my XC race bike for this "gravel grinder". I use quotes because there are always at least 3 rather gnarly sections of singletrack. I'm ok with losing some efficiency on the road to not have to walk carrying my bike. Another upside to the MTB is the massive 52 tooth Eagle cassette....which allowed me to pedal up the super steep grades, past all those walking their bikes. At least 5 men felt the need to put on a dramatic "OOOOH, my legs are cramped" show when they saw a middle-aged lady ride by them while they walked those hills. I appreciated the free entertainment. 😝
My fueling was on point. I planned out all my snacks and stuffed my pockets like a pack mule. Fell a little short on the hydration, though, as the water in the jugs at the aid stations tasted like a swimming pool and I just couldn't stand to drink it!
I am now on a well-earned bike hiatus for a week. I learned during my post-BaseCamp training plan that 12+ hours a week is just way too much for me, and that the 8-10 I did during BC was much more manageable.