|NWGA SORBA outdid themselves on this one!|
T.H.E! Conditions, both the trail and the body, made this one The Hardest Ever for moi. 2-3" rain on the first section the night before made the first half of the race a mud fest. I was glad I had put the mud fender on because it kept the mud and horse poo off my glasses and face.
Silly me thought that I could pull off a sub-3:30 after succumbing to an upper respiratory infection in the week leading up to the race. My gracious co-workers, who seem to always be sick, left me "gifts" on the phones, door knobs, computers, etc. Side note: Those who are always "sick" ought to be made, by law, to eat healthy, rest well, and get plenty of exercise, so that those who actually give a damn about their bodies, don't have to be constantly exposed to the weaklings' germs!
Anyway, any positive thoughts of being able to win this thing were quickly bashed within the first mile. I tried to get up to speed, but with the mud and my inability to get my RDA of oxygen, I was fighting a losing battle. Yeah, I was mad, frustrated, and feeling sorry, but quickly reminded myself that I was out here doing what I love. Dang it if I was going to let the conditions dictate my state of mind! I immediately decided that if I could not race, then at least I would have a good training ride.
I slogged through the first half, practicing my surfing skills through the muddy descents and my smooth pedaling cadence through the muddy climbs. My legs actually felt pretty good; might of had something to do with not riding much the week prior. They wanted to go go go, but my lungs said no no no. The cobwebs of mucous in the back of my throat made oxygen transference most difficult. I had enough "snot rockets" to take out a small country.
I rolled through the 1/2 way point 4 minutes slower than January's time. I opted not to swap out Camelbak's but do a partial refill at the last water stop just before entering the final section of single track. It was nice not having a full Camelbak on me up the next two climbs. I seemed to feel better, especially after noticing just how dry the second half was! It was like night and day as compared to the first half. If only I had known, I may have just ridden the 17 miler.
The first half of the second half went by quickly. My legs finally seemed to be getting some oxygen, so I was able to stand and hammer up some of the short kickers. I had a good climb up to the final aid station, got a bit of water, and motored on. Normally I enjoy the last hour of the race, picking my way through the bouldery sections, nailing the descents and usually climbing at least 1/2 of "The Wall." As I entered the first tricky section, I could tell I was REALLY tired. I felt like a pinball and my little wheels constantly found those "26 inch holes." It seemed I was off the bike more than on. The Wall was ominous today and I scuttled up most of it ... probably faster than I could have ridden it anyway.
Instead of laying it down on the road descent, I coasted in to the finish, with a blazing time of 3:45. I definitely got my money's worth today. Fortunately, my January time was good enough for 2nd. That $500 will go towards my 29'r rocket ship, which right now weighs less than my Specialized S-Works Era!
|2013 Snake Creek Steed!|
There was no "Easy Button" for today's race ... err, ride. Sometimes you learn a lot more about yourself when you are at your lowest. I managed to finish with a smile and no broken bones or bike parts.
Kudos to Pro Gold's Extreme Lube. No chain suck and it was quiet all day!
|The podium was empty save for Rachel and I.|