The Weekend We Conquered Pierre's Hole

I'm a happy girl!!!  Bron and I prepared, we raced, and we conquered Pierre's Hole: 28.3 miles and 4019 vertical feet elevation around Grand Targhee.  It was my very first mountain bike race, and while my time wasn't anything super impressive (4 hours and 29 minutes), I still feel like I'm on top of the world.  I am elated.  I feel AWESOME!  It wasn't easy, but I did it!  And that is reason enough for celebration.

One lap of this mountain bike race is probably equivalent to a runner's half marathon.  But for some reason, I feel 100x more pride for completing this race than I ever did for completing my half marathon.  I think part of it is because mountain biking requires some learned skills; few folks can pick this up and just do it.  I've fallen in love with the sport and that most definitely has something to do with my elation.  But the other reason is that mountain biking is simply physically harder to do!  Pierre's Hole is a well thought-out course and the trails are a kick in the pants to ride, but to put into perspective just how physically taxing this race is, well, I completely stopped menstruating right smack in the middle of my cycle.  Whoa.  I've never pushed myself that hard before!  Those hills are no joke. 

However, I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  Everyone was friendly.  I didn't wipe out anywhere, and nothing went wrong with my bike.  I'm so happy I owned this hard feat!  It feels kind of liberating.  I hope there's a next time. 

Synopsis of the Race:

Saturday morning I waved the boys off from the starting line.  The women had their own starting time this year for the first time a few minutes later.  As I waited among the group of women for our wave to begin, I suddenly realized just how much of an underdog I really was!  I have a niiiice bike--almost too nice for me to really appreciate--but it was nothing compared to all the 29ers and carbon fiber Lefty's I saw lining up.  These ladies obviously had been riding many seasons longer and logged in many more hours this summer than me.  Some of them looked quite competitive!  And no one was wearing white socks.  I was a total fashion faux pas.  I was in over my head!  Waiting there, looking around, it took all the self-control I had not to cry behind my sunglasses.  But I knew that chances were somebody else was feeling the exact same way at that moment.  So I took a deep breath and waited for the bell--a cow bell to be precise--to ring.

Between my nerves and adrenaline, I felt like puking the entire first climb!  My heart was racing way too fast for the amount of work I was doing and I couldn't feel my arms.  I couldn't breathe.  I was getting passed by other riders!  Thankfully, I was confident I could make it to the top; after all, I'd done it once before.  The steep climb spaced the racers out and by the time I reached the peak, I felt much more like myself.

From there on, the race was a total blast!  I watched the clock and diligently stopped to eat several times.  My pedometer counted the miles.  Ten more miles.  I can do this!  Eight more miles.  I can do this!  Three and a half more miles.  I got this!

The feeling of relief and elation as I crossed that finish line is hard to describe.  Better yet, it felt so good to see so many familiar happy faces as all the guys and their wives were standing there cheering.  The best face, however, was Bron's.  ;)

 ^^Just my main man and me, so happy together!^^

A heaping thanks to Grandma Nelson for babysitting the boys!  Because of her, Bron and I were lucky enough to spend the rest of the weekend relaxing at the resort.  It was two days of highs: we rode in a mountain bike race together, soaked in the hot tub, enjoyed the company of friends, ate delicious food, cuddled, savored good {uninterrupted} conversation, and rode the ski lift to the top of the mountain for a peek at the Grand Tetons and the beautiful valleys on both sides.  It was a dream mini vacation, just the two us.  Two quiet days helped bolster our marriage and reinforced the love I have for this incredible man.  He's my best friend.  He makes me happy.  There's no one else with whom I'd rather do life... and mountain bike races.      


  1. You are so brave to put yourself out there and enter a race. That would be totally intimidating! Way to go! And the reward of a kid free weekend is fantastic. :)

  2. So awesome! This is my husband and I's definition of a good time. Such beautiful views. :)

  3. Way to go, Jessie! I'm so proud of you!

  4. Way to go! I can't even imagine biking on that type of terrain! It looks like fun, though!

  5. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! i'm so proud of you. What a great accomplishment! Did Bron bike too? It looks absolutely beautiful,and i'm happy you and Bron were able to have some 'couple' time. Here is the important question....when is the next one?


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