Friday, October 15, 2010

The Unanticipated Race Report

This past week I got back to racing on fat tires. The plan going in was to race as part of a 3 man team in the sandbagging Fast class at the 12 hour race at Council Bluff. Friday morning I went out for a quick ride with the wife on our single speeds. Nothing to big, but a short ride of the front side of Castlewood. Then back to home to pack 2 cars to head 2 different directions for the weekend.

Arrived at CB in plenty of time to setup camp and then head out for an easy 7 miles. Then fellow Shark Pfood teammates and I ate like kings, drank like fish, and planned the assault for Saturday's race.

Wake up feeling good about our team's chances in the sand bagging class. Then at 8:10 I received a message on my phone. My 3rd teammate was out. Couldn't make it. Too late to find someone so I opted to switch to the solo 6 hour category. So at 8:25 I was getting dressed, slamming calories down my throat, and applying liberal amounts of chamois cream.

Line up for the usual run to your bike start and at 9AM we were off. Since I was not to mentally prepared for
A) a 6 hour solo race &
B) had no plans to start the race
it made for for an interesting start of the day for me. I basically followed wheels and took it easy and took my place in line as we entered the single track. I was feeling pretty good and was glad I road the first 3 miles of the race course the day before. There were a couple near misses, a few folks decided to check out the woods as the blew corners, and a lucky flew got to change their tires after only 4 miles.

About half way into my first lap I thought, "Yeah I can do this for 3 or 4 more laps." Really didn't press to hard I. Took the long climbs easy and just road a comfortable pace. Coming around to the end of the first lap I hit the climb back up to the camp ground. A few riders that had just passed me were slowing up the hill so I went around them and arrived back to the timing line at 1 hr 16 min according to my watch. Not bad for opening lap. After I looked at my watch for a lap time I saw my other potential 3 man teammate, Struckman, at the top. He finished a few minutes ahead of me. He proudly announced he was done, "One and done. Time to drink beer." So we chatted a few minutes. I grabbed some shot blocks from him, at a Z bar, new bottle of electrolights and a fresh camel back. Then I went around and officially timed my 1st lap at 1hr 25 min.

Round 2. Feeling confident my newly secured two wheel friend I started to go a little harder on lap 2. At mile 3 there was a fix a flat clinic going on. I swear I saw 6 folks all within about 100 yards fixing flats. Dry trails are fast by the make the rocks come out in force. Then about half way around I felt the first twinge of a cramp. Not a big one. Just a slight wake up call from the legs. From then on I realized that making 6 laps would be about taking care of myself. Eating plenty. Drinking plenty. Not crashing, not flatting, and not cramping. I also replayed all that I ate and drank that previous 48 hours and began to realize that I probably would of eaten differently if I knew I would be racing for 6 hours.

Came around to finish the 2nd lap. A little slower than the first, but not surprising given I was trying to spin more and not have as much tension in my legs to avoid early cramping. My team of support crew were there with my requested turkey sandwich and coke. Slammed that, fresh bottle, and camel back and I was off again for 3rd lap. The third lap was uneventful, which was good. I began to run numbers in my head to figure out of I could make 4 laps or 5. Somehow I reasoned that I could complete 3 laps by the 3 hour 10 min mark I would be able to make 5 laps. Well that I didn't happen. I was at the boat launch ramp at 4 hr 10 min. Right then and there I figured I could take my time and plan on making 4 laps total. As I finished my 3rd lap my PRO support crew again had a sandwich coke, and fresh drinks for my final lap. I just enjoyed the ride and focused on not stuffing my face into a rock or a tree. I hit the base of the climb to the campground as the clock ticked over the 6 hour mark. In the end I had 4 laps, 6 hours 10 min. 6th out of 30+ starters in 6 hour solo.

I ended up riding less laps than I thought I could do at the start of the day, but not bad for me. I'm sure some folks planned for a while to ride the 6 hour class. They probably did long rides on the trail and or the road to prepare. They may of even drank less than 6 beers and 2 rum and cokes on Friday night. Me I did none of that. I rarely ride mountain bikes for more than 1.5 hours. I get in a road ride of 50 miles once every two weeks. Most of my riding is the 1 hour pain train variety at Castlewood or on the CX bike. So making 4 laps in 6 hours at CB was fine by me.

Upward and onward with the CX season. StL kick off race is under the lights. Should be a good time.

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