Monday, June 7, 2010

Race #38: Band of Brothers

All the reasons why I came to BioWheels were completely cemented at this race. All my teammates are great people who will help you at the drop of the hat, push you to do your best through competition (I have been training my ass off to do the kit justice). At the last minute the bad luck I skirted in Cohutta caught up with me as my dry conditions tires were sliced by the Lord Himself (or is this good luck?). Nate hooked me up with better tires, brought up in the middle of the night by Mitch. They both stayed up with me trying to get them to seal.

It’s a little intimidating to know that you are slated to do battle against 223 other 100k open racers. Like Cohutta I had pushed myself to go out hard, thinking that if I could stay ahead the gaps behind me may buffer me from losing time and positions. My smarter teammates knew they should pace themselves and use the end of the race to pick off spots.

Unfortunately I began to cramp on the hike-a-bikes early. It was frustrating to feel early on that I wasn’t really racing but trying to survive. Maybe it was the humidity, the lack of easy places to drink or the two beers and the hot tub the day before — I wasn't feeling my best. I did have some moments of glory. I was with Amanda McKay when I rode a creek and climbed out of that bad boy like a real mountain biker. I was shredding some trail at about 14 mph (great for me) before and after checkpoint 1. I passed some people here that ended up finishing an hour behind me.

But the cramps came back and I slowed. I was with Charley Miller when his legs forced him to DNF after this crazy horse trail descent over 2x4s. I was climbing the next hill when I fell over and got a cramp so severe I laid on the ground for a moment! I nearly DNFed right there. But I saw Karwisch and he cheered me up and I soldiered on.

I have no idea what happened at the end of the race. I followed Karwisch to checkpoint 2 and caught Mitch there. I was a few minutes behind Mitch at checkpoint 3. They turned on the rocket packs while I threw out the anchor!

Talking about great teammates. Joe's shoe destructed so he had to DNF, and Nate's bike is too pretty to gunk up — so they came to aid station 3 to give us royal treatment!

I need to learn to shred some trail — I lost so much time in the final part of the race through the rock gardens. I crashed a handfull of times and I feel like a defeated boxer. I came in 36 out of 116 finishers (another 107 racers DNF'd or DNS'd). 7:14:50-sumthin. Lost a lot of time with little dabs and slips. But hey! I have progressed so much as a mountain biker. Those perfect races are few and far between.

Lessons learned:
– Perhaps use time off the bike to refuel. Should have been chugging on the early hike-a-bikes.
– Hey dummy, there is Heed at the Aid stations. At Cohutta I fiddled with Nuun tablets on climbs!
– Maybe not pre-open Clif bars before a muddy race. Gross.
– Don't over-train! I wanted to repeat my success at Cohutta.
– Learn more about the drive train so I maintain it during the race.
– Remember to stretch and pee on & off the bike if possible.
– Remember the First Aid kit! I am black, blue and bloody.

Side effects:
– Major chain ring wound in the back of my left leg. It got packed with mud.
– Shaved a lot of skin off one of my knuckles, also got packed with mud, yuck.
– I'm worried I swallowed some nasty mud. I have had minor IBS since the race, maybe I'll go to the doc!
– My back is killing, better go to Sophie at Norwood Chiropractic ASAP!

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