Sunday, June 3, 2012

Race #124: The One-Two Punch!

Photo by Julie Lewis-Sroka

Wow! I had a stellar race at Mohican this year!

My rolling time was about 8:25, and my overall time was 8:37:09. Compare that with last years result of 9:20 of rolling time and an overall time of 10:35:51. That means I was almost an hour faster riding and I cut 2 hours off my overall time! Holy shit!

First, I would like to thank Mitch and Nate at BioWheels for fixing some last minute mechanicals. I also want to thank Sophie, Rick and Lydia at Norwood Chiropractic--they helped all my muscles recover after the Flying Pig marathon.

Bjet and I didn't get up to Loudenville until 8ish in Friday. We were waiting in an order of Infinit to arrive, plus I was trying to finish some design projects. All that sitting made my legs feel like bloated sausages. We only got in a short spin before getting ready for the race.

We got up about 5:15am. I downed some Infinit Mud, a coffee protein shake. I did forget to take my Hammer Anti-Fatigue caps, full of potassium and magnesium to prevent cramping.

The race started and I did not feel awesome... I felt a wee bit sick and my legs were still heavy. The race starts out on the main street of Loudenville and you go straight up a hill. I was do far back, and I saw all my teammates hitting it hard, they looked great. For some reason I could not climb as well as usual, all day. It got to be demoralizing early on.

Once into the single track I kept it chill for about 15 minutes. Then we hit some double track sections. People where still riding single file, but the CXer in me woke up and I conservatively gained spots. Back to some more single track. The pace line was semi-slow, but too much intensity too early can ruin your day. One guys didn't get the memo, he kept trying to pass and then would crash like a total loser. After about 3 or 4 crashes and some yelling amongst the riders the guy finally settled down.

So I've been trying to cut back on chain slap my shifting into the big ring. Then to keep it easy I would gift into the granny gear. I was using all 27 gears! Well, I think I forgot what gear I was in. We hit some downhill double track. I went to shift into my big ring and hammer it but my chain made a bunch of noise. So I pulled over. I think I was Already I the big ring, and I was cross-chaining. The chain was forced off and it wrapped a figure 8 around my crank. Damn! So I muscled it backwards and got it going again. That's when I saw my teammate Mark Rucker.

Mark Rucker is a beast, with powder legs for quads and calves that devour cyclists -- he sits on the front and holds 28 mph, typically on some bike that's 5 lbs heavier than yours! We both mentioned taking the start easy. It's mostly trail to the first aid station, and it can really take the piss out of ya!

Mark and I mentioned riding together. I took a quick break at Aid Station 1 to refill bottles--Mark kept riding, rocking a sweet CamelBack. So I had some incentive to crush the next section, I needed to make up my 3-4 minute deficit on Mark! I finally caught him, but once again grabbed some water for insurance from Aid Station 2. Once again I had to chase down Mark!

Some advice. The first 47 miles of Mohican are tough, tons of trail and climbing. But don't quit at Aid Station 3, it only gets easier. So I roll into Aid Station 3 fast and furious and Mark is waiting for me. I fill up quickly and we set out together.

It was a great choice to ride together. Mark and I were nearly equally matched (Mark had suffered from bronchitis all Spring and wasn't destroying me). He would still kick my ass on the hills. I would lose time, but would TT to regain the 10 - 30 seconds I would lose. It was great to ride with someone you could trust, you could talk and keep your morale boosted while the miles flew past. On all the downhills and flats we would trade pulls to keep the pace high. We destroyed the bike path section

Here are my approximate splits:
To Aid Station 1 (20mi): 1:57/10.26mph split/10.26 avg, took about 3 min: A lot of trail
To Aid Station 2 (34mi): 1:32/9.13mph/9.5 avg, took 4 min messing with Infinit, more trail than I remembered
To Aid Station 3 (46mi): 1:04/11.25mph/9.82 avg, took 4 min, Rucker waited, we tackled the climb together!
To Aid Station 4 (72mi): 1:52/13.33 mph/10.96 avg, last fill up, about 3 minutes
To Aid Station 5 (88mi-ish): 1:29/10.79 mph/10.67 avg, Caught Collier, we blew through it into the woods.
To Finish (93mi-ish): :32/9.33/10.79 avg, yes, we bested all expectations!

The times were really fast this year because I think they shortened the course a tad. But even if there was the extra 2 miles I had to race the year before, and we covered it at an average of 11 mph, we still would have achieved my goal of 9 hours. I'm very happy with that!

WWBD: What would the Badger do if they closed a bridge during a race?

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