It's Business Time
Another year in the bag! And another evening of having weird stomach issues and strange body temperature fluctuations while I try and replace the 6,000 calories I just burned up.
I was pretty excited about this year edition. The race picked up a lot of cred since last year and got itself added to a few Pro Series and it attracted some pretty big time names: Manuel Prado, Tinker Juarez and lots of local hot shots looking to mix it up with the big boys. Field was quite a bit larger this year as well which is nice to see.
Camping set up was nice and eventually it ended up getting pretty crowded. Nice little tent city going. It was a great afternoon to just hang out and mentally prep for the big day. Lots of lounging by the tent and eating.
a-very niiice, yes?
Got to chat with Maz as he rode around with his 666 number plate. The man is a character and great to have around the local race scene. I actually slept fairly decent. About as good as you could expect to when you forget your sleeping pad. Luckily I had a big beach blanket to put down. Up at 5:15 to start getting things situated, loaded up, stashed, dialed, etc. I went with a fairly hilarious/ingenious(?) method for transporting and delivering my no-cramp pills. Actually ended up working really well although the first time I went to grab some I dropped two on the ground. Good thing I knew that was going to happen and brought extras!
and now I'll already have one for when I get REAL old
This year I went without the camelbak and just rode with two bottles and stashed two bottles each in the two drop bins for feeds 3 and 5. I figured between that and getting water and gatorade at the other feeds I would be fine. And I was right. Plenty of fluids and ditching the weight of the pack made a HUGE difference. I actually was very pleased with how I managed my nutrition this year. I'm getting pretty familiar with what my body needs and how it reacts and I'm starting to get better and noticing weird feelings early and trying to head them off. I had a 1hr repeating timer set on my watch to remind me to take pills which worked out well. I was also telling D-bone when to take his pills which probably sounded funny to anyone riding near us. **beepbeepbeep** Dustin take your pill...OK.
My stomach did eventually turn on me at about mile 53(ish) and I almost puked at the top of a long steep climb. All of a sudden it went on me and I was leaning over and it almost came up. I tried to stay quiet a bit and drank and ate much slower and in smaller amounts and luckily it came back around and I was able to finish without bonking.
off to see the wizard!
the wonderful wizard OF PAIN
The course was in really good shape considering all the precip we got earlier this week. Weather was actually fairly ideal as well. Overcast and high 50's low 60's to start and it didn't really start heating up until about the powerlines at mile 25 or so. For the rest of the day it was just fine in the shade but the direct sun was brutal. Dustin and I stayed together for a pretty long time, shared the work a bit. Definitely took your mind off the suffering having a partner in crime. The actual racing wasn't super eventful. I took a rock in the shin at one point. Got kicked up on a descent and got me pretty good. Decent gash and when I looked down about 10secs after it happened it looked like it had been bleeding for several minutes. Luckily it got gummed up with mud and crap shortly after and eventually went numb so no big deal.
The SS class started in the last wave with the other 'specialty classes' (clydes, tandem, first timers) which wasn't really ideal but it was kinda nice for the mental game to be catching and passing people all day instead of the other way around. We were on a really good pace early on (most everyone is) but we caught some high finishing SSers on the powerlines and at one point might have even been top 5 on course. But those wheels eventually got away on the back half of the course. Thinking back now I think I made some tactical errors and should have put a bigger emphasis on holding at least one or two of those wheels but we lost one on a pee break (had to happen if not then, later so no big deal) and the other snuck away when we missed a turn and went a tiny bit off course. Closing gaps in a race like this is risky though. Even a few hundred yards can require a TON of work and if you go too hard too many times too early that could be it and if your body goes, even 5 mi out from the finish you will lose a lot of time.
Could we have gotten that wheel? Maybe. Would the effort have been too much and hurt us later? Hard tellin'. I'm not too worked up about it, there were a lot of wins today. Dustin and I had decided to stay together as long as possible and if something eventually happened or if someone bonked and turned into a boat anchor that we would do our own thing. That 'thing' presented itself as a cramp for Dustin at about mile 52. I rounded a corner and looked back and he was not in sight, I slowed a bit and eventually I could see him but it was pretty obvious he had lost his punch. When it goes, it goes not much you can do except wait it out and hope things work themselves out. I trudged on ahead and was actually feeling quite a bit better than I thought I would at that point. Then I almost puked (see above) but luckily I was able to get that under wraps. Still couldn't get much in my stomach but luckily the mileage was ticking off and I didn't have much farther to go.
Cruised through the last feed, got a gatorade and took off for the last 5mi or so. I gassed it a bit remembering mostly downhill singletrack to the finish. I remembered wrong, go figure. There were still a few kicks to the nuts left out there but not quite enough to put the final nail in my coffin. I had really wanted to get that 7h milestone but it was becoming apparent I wasn't going to make that but 7h15m looked plausible but I was gonna have to hurt a bit. So I went at it, trying to steal speed whenever and wherever I could get it. I tried a few times to run/jog the hills but that pretty quickly cramped my calves. It was coming down to the wire and I knew I was close. I was gassing it as hard as I could around the final parade lap but my Garmin ticked over 7:15 and I stopped it at 7:16 and change when I crossed (good for 9th out of 12 or 13). Timers said I got 7:22 but I'm not sure I buy it. I'm hoping that was the unadjusted time based on when the Pro's started.
There are still people around!
this about sums it up
Either way my time last year was 7h58m so I'm pretty pumped on the improvement. Two different bikes though. Which is harder riding a rigid SS or a rigid geared bike that is 10lbs heavier? Finishing times seem to solve that one, but I'm sure I'm also stronger this year. I remembered to hit the lap button at each feed (sort of, a few times I hit it just a bit down the way when I remembered to) and its funny to see the average speeds during certain sections. The elevation profile tells the story buts its interesting to see just how slow we were going for awhile. Really fast early, coming down to more normal, and then barely faster than a walk after mile 44 or so until the last 5 miles of singletrack.