Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dry Creek 6 Hour Race Report

Back in October when I signed up for this, I knew I did not want to race solo.  I started asking friends if they wanted to race a duo with me.  All my team mates save for Lisa had other plans.  Lisa was sorta in until she pedaled her body into the ground and was forced to take a 2 week rest period.  Ursula was out as she was still nursing an injury.  Loretta was interested, but then broke her arm.

So, I was left with no other choice ... Zeke.  Now all I had to do was to convince him how much fun it would be to ride in circles, on a team nonetheless.  You see, Zeke is an epic kind of guy.  Tell him to go big, go long, go hard (on a course that does not repeat itself) and he is as happy as a pig in poo.  But he was done racing the hamster wheel events.   What I had going for me was:  1.  that it was me asking, 2.  it was a new trail system, and 3.  he could do as many laps as he wanted.

He agreed ... to two laps.  Whew!  That meant that I only had to do four.  Since there was no single speed team division, we settled for coed.  We definitely had some competition.  Zeke was concerned of letting me down, but I told him that we were out here to have fun, and wherever we finished up, I was completely o.k. with that.  It had been a long season and I just wanted to finish it up not completely annihilating my body.

Cannot help myself ... always have my game face on, no matter what.

Saturday morning was frigid!  As I traveled from my house to the start of the race, the temperature slowly dropped 8 degrees.  Why is it that the Dry Creek parking lot, which is also the start of The Snake, is the coldest place in Georgia?  I needed to do a warm up, but was not wanting to brave the wind chill, so I kept it short, a mere 15 minutes.  I had just recently read an article about how long warm ups can be your undoing.  Not for me; I know that my body needs a solid 30 minutes to come to life.

Here is my account of the race, lap by lap.

Lap 1:  The flat parade lap up the fire road and around the parking lot sent me spiraling backwards into the field as my legs were spun out at a cadence of 130rpm.  I had unfortunately brought the wrong legs today; I had left the single speed ones at home.  The ones I had on were my geared legs and they did not like the gear I had on my bike.  I noted that there were 4 climbs that were particularly taxing with the gear I chose.  There were two fun and fast descents with whoop-de-doos.  I caught air, looked fairly graceful, and managed to not nose-wheelie myself off into the woods.

Photo Credit:  Mary Omstead

Lap 2:  I motored on through the transition zone.  The second lap felt easier.  Less traffic and knowing how hard I could push through the loose corners contributed to a smoother rhythm.  Around mile 4, I caught up to Star, the 2nd place team.  I passed her and then kicked it into a higher gear.  I had 6 miles left to gain as much time as possible.  The race for second was going to be close!  I rolled into the transition zone giving Zeke a 3 1/2 minute buffer.

Lap 3:  Zeke's first lap.  I was ready to go back out in case Zeke had an issue and couldn't do 2 laps in a row.  I crossed my fingers as I did not want to go back out so soon.  I could tell as he came through, finishing up his first, that he was giving his all.  59:08!  My team mates said that he hooted and hollered and sounded like he was having a grand time as he passed by them.  I hope I have half that much energy at 66.

All business!

Lap 4:  Zeke's second lap.  59:06.  So consistent.  He may want to rethink this whole lap race thing; he's darn good at it!

Lap 5:  Oh, the legs were barking going up that first climb!  After 10 minutes, they finally decided to cooperate ... a little.  What what !?! The 4 grunty climbs had turned into 6!  And they had gotten chewed up over the last few hours.  Now it took body english as well as muscle to keep the rear wheel from losing traction.

Lap 6:  Where is my competition?  I was trying to do the math, all the while laying down the power with a body that was beginning to fade and wanting to be done.  I needed to catch Star by mile 8 to have any sort of chance of us getting second.   At the 7.5 mile mark, I caught sight of the Motor Mile jersey up ahead.  Come on legs!   I asked my legs for just a wee bit more and by some small miracle they responded.  I passed Star and continued to ride like a scalded dog.  Two more climbs and one descent and I would be done.  The legs and lungs were burning as I crossed the finish line.  Second place was ours!

A huge thanks to the Ricky Manis and other NWGA SORBA members for getting this trail in tip top shape.  All the leaves and the loose gravel on the steeper climbs were blown off.  The cooperation between Chainbuster Racing and the local SORBA chapters has been awesome this year.  For all the Chainbuster races I have done, the trails have been perfect!

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