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Marathon National Championships – Words by Karin Edwards

October 10, 2012

Race Report: Marathon Nationals – Bend, Oregon
By Karin Edwards  

Women’s 30-39 Podium (from left to right): Karin Edwards, Heather Lyman, Rachel Hadley, Erin Alders, Claire Duncan  

Yet again, Bend lives up to its reputation as ‘Bike Town, USA’.  What it lacks in Tahoe granite, it makes up for in hundreds of miles of fun, smooth, fast singletrack, with more being built every year.

In addition to being an all around awesome town, Bend is a cyclist’s playground – no wonder a contingent of Giant riders live there, including some of our own Ride Giant-Ride Northstar athletes.  I had the opportunity to spend the week before the race hanging out in Bend – and let me tell you, come race day, my legs were probably more tired than they should’ve been (but happy) from playing on the trails all week.

The Marathon Nationals race course itself was a treat.  It was one big figure eight-ish loop between town and Mt. Bachelor, designed to maximize the singletrack with a minimal amount of fire roads used as connectors.

The race was well attended by the who’s who of mountain biking and you could feel the excitement in the air as the gun went off for the pro men and women’s races.  My field – women 30-39 – had some stiff competition, including a few familiar faces from Northern California: Heather Lyman (2nd overall women, XTERRA Amateur Nationals) and Erin Alders (3rd pro women, Downieville All-Mountain).  The pace started fast and just got faster as we pelotoned along a forest service road before crossing the highway and hitting the singletrack.  Knowing that I had 50+ miles left in the day, I finally found my rhythm and spent the next 5 hours grinding away on the climbs and fully enjoying the killer downhill segments with a small group of ladies.  Other than a closer than desired run-in with a manzanita bush, the day went without a hitch, and I ended up placing 5th.  It was a long, challenging day on the bike, but a super fun and well-organized race.

Thanks Bend for a great week!  – Karin Edwards

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