Endurance racer Amanda Carey doesn't do many cross country races, but she made an exception at the US Mountain Bike National Championships last weekend in Sun Valley, Idaho, where she raced with the elite women.
National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series winner Carey, who lives 3.5 hours away from Sun Valley in Victor, Idaho, couldn't pass up the chance to come race and to see many of her friends on the cross country race circuit.
"My strategy is to use this kind of race as a testing race. I go as hard as I can from the gun so I'm totally tapped out. I see how long I can last and then I take that and put that in the back of my head for the 100s."
"Then I know when I'm going hard in the 100s, I know if I can recover," she said. Carey is competing in "six or seven" 100-milers this year.
Carey finished an impressive seventh place in Sun Valley, and she was content with her results. "I'm not surprised, since I had zero expectations. It was short, but brutal. At this point in the season, that's what I need. I had the luxury of probably being the only pro out here who could use nationals for training. So I had no pressure. Maybe that's a lesson for all of us? Chill more."
After the finish, she joked that she would head out and ride for another five or six hours.
Carey was skipping last weekend's Breckenridge 100 round of the NUE series to race US Mountain Bike Nationals, but she'll be back on the circuit this weekend at the High Cascades 100.
"The race I'm most excited about for the whole year is the Pierre's 100. It's in Grand Targhee resort down the street from my house. It's an NUE series race," she said.
"Schedule-wise, it's tough because it's the weekend before Leadville, but I'm going to do it. This year, my focus is the NUE. I'm stoked that the series is expanding and it's coming to my backyard. My friends are putting the race on."
Carey, who has done plenty of 100-milers over the years, called the Pierre's Hole race the "hardest NUE with 17,000 or 18,000 feet of climbing at 8000 feet altitude. It'll be a nine or 10.5-hour day for me," she said.