Fast forward to race day. The foam rolling definitely helped and my hips were good to go after a warm up. I took a look at the 1.5 mile paved start and the first bit of single track and then lined up just a couple rows back and waited 20 minutes. It was essential to have a good start as there were 400 racers.
Ready, set, go! I managed to avoid the Tour de France style pile up then occurred within the first 10 seconds of the race. I also managed to hold my own on the pavement with my 32 x 19 gearing. I was happy that my legs responded happily to the intense pace and I entered the single track about 40 riders back.
Lap 1: On the opening lap, it is always easy to burn a match or two. My body says, "Go, go, go!" and my mind says, "Settle, settle, settle." Having a good start helped me to find my rhythm early. There was only one train of 12 that I passed smoothly (but not quite effortlessly) on the double track Outer Loop climb. I managed to snag the fastest lap award for the ladies, which netted me a set of Maxxis Exception Larsen TT tires ... for a 26" bike (argh!)
Lap 2: That one was over before I realized it!
Lap 3: My big toes really began to hurt. On the descents that were "stutter-bumpy," it was like someone was jabbing a knife underneath my toe nail. I was extremely concerned about a re occurrence of my metatarsalgia. This pain came and went throughout the remainder of the race, making it not as much fun as it should have been.
Lap 4: The temperature was approaching 90 degrees, but I felt pretty good. I had just chugged a Red Bull at the pits and was awaiting my "wings." I must say thank you to the single speeder dude that I passed during a series of climbs and descents around mile 2. As I passed him, he said, "Don't LET me catch you on the downhill!" Dem's fightin' words!! I happily obliged him and never saw him again.
Lap 5: I mistakenly did not drink much on the previous lap and that, combined with the heat, caused me to feel a bit clammy when I would notch it up. So I backed off a bit on this lap, drank my entire bottle, and then some more at the pits, so that the last lap would not be catastrophic.
Lap 6: Fighting through the painful toes, I managed to latch on to another racer that was setting a fast and consistent pace. The legs were feeling the earlier efforts and the speed bumps (there is only 1000 feet of climbing per lap) soon became mountains. I was glad to see the metal bridge around mile 8 because the course after that is fast and flowy. I came through the finish line in first with a time of 5:33.
I managed to win another set of fine Maxxis 26" tires which I found a home for. I also mentioned to the new owner, Rachel, that they were UST. You see, she had an unnecessary pinch flat early on in the race.
But I also came away with this cool sombrero, in honor of Cinco de Mayo. An exponentially better way to spend this day ... on a bike instead of in a drunken stupor!
|Not for hire.|
Thank you Dirty Spokes, YABA, and the rest of the crew for a wonderfully orchestrated event. The Dri-Wicking T's in extra small, the cooler of ice water at the top of the long climb, the live band, and the pizza at the end were nice touches.
And a shout out to the Northwest Georgia SORBA gang who let us hang out (or should I say, let our stuff hang out) in their pit.