Sub-9 Gravel Grovel

The last race in the 2013 American Ultracross Championship Series was the Gravel Grovel, in the Hoosier National Forest, Indiana. 60 miles of beautiful, rolling, forested gravel roads with a few short, steep climbs. The way the points worked, if I had won the Gravel Grovel and Ruth had come in second, we would have been tied for points, and since the Grovel was the tie-breaker, I would have won the series. It was a tight margin with little room for error!

For the first part of the race, Ruth and I rode together at a fast clip with a group of otherwise male riders. (We were the first two women.) Around 15 miles in, we entered a road called Combs, which was narrow and muddy and more like a trail. On a perfectly harmless downhill section, I was right behind Ruth and my front wheel caught a rock hidden under some leaves. I crashed pretty hard on my left hip. By the time I got myself and my bike together a few women had passed me. It was hard to pedal due to my sore hip but I kept going as best I could, and ended up fourth in the race.

After racing 6 of the 7 Ultracross races in the 2013 series, I finished second overall in points. Completing the series this year has solidified my love for Ultracross: I am determined, motivated, and focused to race my best season yet in 2014. In fact, I can’t wait for the series to start all over again – with Southern Cross this February in Dahlonega, Georgia.

StehpanieSwanGravelGrovel

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