by Jessica Buch • August 24, 2022
Mid Atlantic Super Series
Private Property somewhere in Delaware
Saturday, July 16th, 2022
Escape Granouge is a challenge we all look forward to often just for the chance to ride the mystical trails of these forbidden forests. Located somewhere secret in the great state of Delaware, Granouge is a stunning venue. The course winds through a picturesque property with various memorable segments, some that earned their names from stories that date back to the 1800s. The race starts on a paved driveway; the prolog has a wide gradual climb through a short section of woods and wraps around a stone water tower before sending you down an off-camber descent on a grass hill. You're heading opposite direction along the paved road now, you pass through the timing booth, and you're off. Popping in and out of small wooded sections that dot the working farm fields, you race along a river and criss-cross over a railroad. Rolling around 544 acres of land preserved just how it's always been, it truly feels like stepping back in time, magical.
This race didn't turn out how I'd hoped. It was scorching and humid even first thing in the morning, and the woods offered no reprieve as the air inside the trees was even thicker and the humidity even heavier. I felt strong heading into this race and pushed hard from the start to keep up with the group. Granogue is notoriously technical, and I'm a little better in the tricky parts than in the speedy parts, so I was excited to use that to my advantage. Unfortunately, my body was not up to the challenge, and the conditions got the best of me. I knew halfway into my first lap something wasn't feeling right, but I tried to push through. An aid station, something we wouldn't usually have during a race this length, felt like a lifesaver and the fresh cold water seemed to help. As I continued, so did my struggle, and after taking two spills, one coming in the most challenging feature of the race, "The Gultch," a steep in and out creek crossing with significant rock features on either side. I knew I needed to stop. I carefully made my way around the remainder to the finish and took my first ever DNF.
I was a little upset. It was hard to stop, but I knew it was the best option for myself and my safety. Overall the day was a great lesson in many ways. Not only did I learn about some of my limits, but I also found a different kind of strength I didn't know I had—the power to know when to call it quits. Another upside is we get a second chance to escape Granouge in the series final when we do it all over again in the other direction at Granouge Rewind.
I look forward to getting my revenge. No Bonks this time!
Finished 1 of 3 laps in 1:19:28