Monday, September 6, 2010
Race #50: FrankenBike50, A Race for Men
When I saw this race posted on the CapCity website my mouth started watering. A 50 mile cyclocross adventure! It sounded treacherous and visions of classic Tour de France danced in my head. I saw men wearing goggles and leather helmets donning extra tires wrapped around their torsos. This will be my Roubaix, my Strade Bianchi, my Ronde.
I think everyone was nervous and eager to see how their fitness is heading into cyclocross season. The start was fast, the racers wanted to get the hole shot. There was about a mile or two of a gradual asphalt climb, and a group was hammering on the front. I was really happy to be up there and I tried to chill and stay out of the wind. But a small group attacked and the guys on the front of the group were being left out in the wind a bit too long so I hopped up there and bridged the group to the leaders.
I was still on the front as we headed onto a loose gravel road and I made a stupid mistake of making my turn too late and too fast and slid out, right at the base of a climb! So I grabbed the bike and started running up the hill losing a ton of spaces. Chewning from Team Hungry was with me and we attacked the first long climb with much bravado! We clawed and clawed our way up, and a few times my legs nearly gave up but Michael wouldn't let me give up. We eventually closed the gap and were with the two leaders!
I ended up getting the hole shot on the first trail descent. Man it was hairy and loose! Rock and sticks everywhere on a crazy ATV path. I was holding the breaks the entire time, because if you let off you might go too fast for the cross brakes to save you. At the bottom another rider and I hit the first road section. We looked back and we were alone, we lost Michael and another rider to that crazy downhill!
My new companion, Jeff, and I would end up spending most of the race together. We would share pulls on the road, wait for each other at aid stations and were all together chivalrous and true sportsmen, Why make an enemy with 35 miles to go? In some ways I knew I was in trouble and the win would most likely not be mine. I was rocking a 1x9, a 39 on front with a 12-25. Not enough meat for a sprint, and not easy enough for the long climbs. At one point we were having a Sunday ride on some single track and I think we dallied and lost a little time. Only at this point were we joined by another rider going into Aid Station 2, but another crazy downhill and Jeff and I were alone again.
The day, the scenery and the fire roads and trails were really beautiful! So much fun. We were getting close to the end, we finished a long hike-a-bike and we were going down a truly fun and fast trail. It was here the day went pear-shaped. We were going so fast we missed a turn. We lost a lot of time on the bottom of the hill because we were very confused, and we ended up riding and walking through this gnarly creek bed of loose shale. We finally found Aid Station 3, only to discover that we lost about 8 places and ten minutes... Going into this race I had a small hope that I could pull out a win, and now my hope was lost. I just said "c'est la vie." Jeff took off, and my gears and my broken heart prevented me from attacking this next climb.
There were 2 riders about 30 seconds ahead, Jeff bridged and dropped them in no time. But it took me most of the climb to reel them in. All in all, losing spots actually forced me to push even harder late in the race and I am thankful for this late effort. I was really killing myself up these last hills and on the flats. My HR was easily 160s -170s and my legs were cramping. I saw my friend Layne going into the final single track descent, and despite stopping to help another cyclist, he closed the gap to me rocking his sweet 29er. We rode into the finish together and I was so out of gas I couldn't accept his invitations to sprint around him! It's so fun to see all my CapCity friends again!
Once again Andy from CapCity put on a great event and the trails and roads were so scenic and epic, they made me fall in love with Ohio again. I can't wait to go out there and train this winter and spring!