Saturday, February 14, 2009

Croom 50

Zeke and I treated this "ride" as a training race ... one where we would stay together as a team. Since we are going to race TransRockies in the 100+ category, we needed to see how we would work together and see where are strengths and weaknesses lie.

Zeke wanted to start off sooner than the official 8:30am start, but I made him wait. I needed time for my food to settle and I wanted to see how we would work around some of the slower riders.

The first 12 miles to aid station 1 Zeke was blazing trail. I was loving the tight, twisty, whoopty-do singletrack. My legs were happy today. Since this was not an official race, we tried to be very courteous when passing people. But in spots it was still a bit difficult not to rub some elbows as the trail was very tight. And there were times when we would be passed and I was happy to allow them by as I knew they had their own agendas.

I was doing just one bottle, which, by the way is SO NICE; no Camelbak today. We refilled at Aid Station 1 and I choked down a banana. We were off in no time and still feeling the love.

This trail is mentally taxing because a lot of it looks the same and your reaction time has to be quick or you might just end up in the briars, down the ravine, or kissing a tree. It is physically taxing because it is so flat (1675 feet gain in 50 miles) and you are always hammering.

As we neared Aid Station 2 (mile 29), we were met with bikini bottoms, pink flamingos, and Beach Boys tunes. These volunteers were having a great time and treating us riders to some good food. PB&J sandwiches, homemade cookies, pretzels, oranges, bananas, and so much more. I opted just to refill my bottle and grabbed another banana. No experimentation for me today.

After Aid Station 2, Zeke began to lose focus. I could tell that he was beginning to hurt as the pace slowed and a few expletives were directed at the sand pits. Knowing him, I think it was a combination of this type of flat, monotonous course and not getting enough calories in. Later, I learned, he was also having issues with hand numbness.

Heading towards Aid Station 3 (mile 39) I told Zeke that we need to stop for a few minutes and that he needed to get some more calories in. Bypassing the "swamp water", cheddar cheese cubes, and meatballs, I played it safe with a PB&J sandwich. Zeke had a banana and a couple cookies.

Then Jason rolled in upon us. Breathing a bit heavy, he had "raced" to catch up to us; he had started about 15-20 minutes after us. We all left together. Seeing as how he would not be able to keep us with Jason's pace, Zeke took the leash off me. I asked if he was sure and he said yes. I was like a beagle going after the rabbit.

For the last 12 miles I put it in the big ring and let 'er fly. It was a good TT effort for me, to stay on Jason's wheel. It was a good finish to a great day. However, just a few minutes after we had finished and grabbed some water, Zeke rolled in. Hmmm ... somebody else picked up the pace in the last few miles as well. I think next time I will lead the team! No sandbaggers at TR allowed.

What a wonderfully beautiful day! Great weather, good friends, dedicated volunteers, and a fun course. It was good to see Reenie and Tom; they looked very happy to be on their bikes ... and not having to ride on snow!

Zeke and I have a lot of work to do ... but today was a good start.


Namrita O'Dea said...

Fun, sorry to have missed it this year. We'll have to go back next year.

Tom said...

nice to see you guys down there too, especially Zeke, that guy always makes me smile. Later