|First race for my new LBS.|
Another prefect day to make great bike race! The rains earlier in the week made the tacky and the starting temperature was 54 degrees. After a brief warm up, I made my way up to the 6th row. My starts are in no way "lickety split," so I did not want to inconvenience any of the greyhounds.
There were 5 of us in the Expert Over 35 class. When the gun went off, everyone seemed to be in slow motion. I had to "Flintstone" my bike a few yards before I could safely clip in. By this time several of the women had gotten 20-30 yards ahead of me. As I pedaled up to Starr, she was wondering why she was out front, thinking maybe she had started in the wrong wave. I put her fears to rest as I pedaled on by.
I tried to get rowdy on the paved climb up to Brush Creek, but I felt like I had a governor on my engine. I could just not get my heart rate up at all. With no blood flowing to my legs, they were like blocks of concrete. I was a bit frustrated, so I dialed it back until I felt good again. A woman I did not know passed me, riding on the coat tails of one of her team members. Good enough for her so good enough for me. I hopped on the Wood N Wave train and let them drag me up the climb. Having someone to pace off of allowed me to give the engine a little more time to come to life.
Upon entering Brush Creek, I jumped ahead of her. Not knowing her skill set, I did not want to be caught behind. Henry Trent and his tribe had put a lot of hours into making this trail a super speedway (cutting back the underbrush and clearing out the muddy spots). It was so ... much ... fun, even if I was dying. I still could not get my heart rate out of zone 3. The Wood N Wave woman stuck with me for awhile. Her bike, also a Niner, but with Stan's Wheels, had a distinctive sound, so I did not have to glance back to know where she was. About half way through, I did not hear her wheels anymore and so assumed she popped.
Boyd Gap was blistering fast! Harold, also racing for Scott's Bikes, was hot on my heels. Not wanting to slow him down, I took a few more risks (= less brakes). At least here I did not have to pedal!
I bumbled a bit on the rooty section of Old Copper. Man, I think those roots have grown! Either that or I was just sloppy through there. Heading up to the bridge, Zeke handed me a bottle. I probably didn't need it, as I barely touched the one on my bike. This would come back to bite me later.
Henry gave me some smiles for the upcoming miles along Lower Chestnut, Thunder Rock, FS 45, and Poplar Hollow.
I grabbed another bottle from Zeke at the entrance to Poplar Hollow. I didn't see Fenton, but heard him screaming at me to "get after it." I truly love people hollering at me along the course. You guys don't know how much that means to me and how motivating it is, especially when I am in the pain cave.
Once I hit the Quartz Loop, my body began to feel better. The pedals were a little easier to turn. I began to pass some people back. I felt the flow through Riverview and hit all the good lines on Bear Paw. Old Copper Road flew by and the roots were no problem this time. The climb up Boyd Gap was still hard, but I found a good granny gear rhythm and actually enjoyed it.
As I was coming through the parking lot at Boyd Gap, Zeke told me that Beth and Starr weren't too far behind. That was all I needed to dig deep for the last 6 miles. I buried myself for the first 3 miles. Brush Creek has a groove worn into it. Envision a slot car track and that is the trail. I got sketchy in several spots, but that worn in groove kept me from sailing off the trail. Midway through, I got out of the saddle to power up a short climb. Immediately I felt a twinge in my left quad. Uh oh! Don't cramp! Don't cramp! I sat down and spun the pedals easy for a few revolutions. Whew!
I slowly increased the power to the pedals. As long as I was sitting everything was good. But whenever I attempted to stand and hammer, the twinge was back. As I am not one that is prone to cramps, it was most likely due to not hydrating properly during the first half of the race. Fortunately I was able to keep the full on cramp at bay.
I rolled across the finish line in 3:36:16. Not my fastest time, by far, but still good enough for 1st. What I am really excited about were Beth (2nd) and Starr's (3rd) finishes. They absolutely rocked the course. And when Zeke told me they were right behind me, indeed they were! Beth finished 4:59 back and Starr 8:00 back. These ladies have stepped it up in the past year. Hard work, eating clean, and attention to recovery has allowed their bodies to excel! I know because I did a Whole 30 with them last fall. I may have to stop giving out my trade secrets! 😁😁
|Mighty impressed by these fassst women!|
I also must give a shout out to my team mate Noel who made her goals and took a sh!t ton of time off last year's result.
Thanks to Scott's Bikes for another great event, good food, and support! Can't wait for next year!