When we left Pua Sawicki well after dark on Saturday night, she was well on her way to another National Championship, and more importantly, a world record for distance traveled by a women on a mountain bike in 24 hours. She once rode 281 miles in a race, but it wasn’t sanctioned by the Guinness Book of World Records – this race would be.
We got up early Sunday morning and immediately checked the on-line results, and were shocked to see her current lap taking much longer then normal. We kept an eye on the computer and finally saw she rolled in about an hour later then normal. We hoped she just had a mechanical problem, and would start knocking off fast laps again, so we jumped in the truck and hurried over to the race so we could be on site before sunrise. Our worst concerns were realized when we arrived only to see her support tent empty of workers and gear, we knew then her race must be over. Her husband Ron later confirmed that she had gotten very sick during the night, and finally had to drop out. Bummer! Pua and her husband are super nice people – we hope they have lots of future success, I’m sure they will.
Since we were already at the race, we went ahead and photographed other riders. The steep hillside pictured below was the scene of many dramatic wrecks. I felt a bit guilty standing there and photographing such mayhem, at least at first. But it became easier, when, every rider had the same response – they would turn to me and ask if I got it! Thanks to the soft sand, we didn’t see anyone get hurt.