By Jamie Ertl
With race day Saturday dawning, there were optimistic hopes of a dry and fast race course. Both were quickly proved wrong with several crank-deep mud holes. This was my third Hard Rock race, so I knew the key to a successful day was to survive the first half hills, rocks and mud, and pick up the race where it joins the short course.
The deep mud and sand, plus the infamous Misery Hill had me thinking of a post race pasty by the midway point. But the speed soon ramped up as I moved up through the group and started the descent down towards the lake. Parker and I had a game plan to work together, which worked well.
After moving between several groups, the 4th through 6th place women all came together for a short bit on the County Road 510 climb. The group slowed a bit before hitting it hard, with Kristina Morse eventually pulling away. Shortly after, Lisa Selle dropped off, leaving Parker and I alone between groups in no man’s land for the last 15 miles or so. We traded pulls and counted down the miles to Lakeview Arena. We pushed hard the last few miles, coming into Marquette fast but still alone. I crossed the line in 3:09, good for 5th place in the overall podium!