Went to pick up my new Specialized goodies on Friday night, but unfortunately the bike shop was closed. An hour before closing time. What the hell? Since when did Halloween become a national holiday? No matter, I'd have most of Saturday to head back. Luckily it's only a 5 minute drive.
Saturday I got up at a decent hour, but slept in a little, had breakfast, and we set out on a road ride. Hoped to get in about 1.5 hours, and wound up a little shy. I did about 4 hard intervals to get the legs moving.
After we got home, had a bit of lunch and headed out on some errand running business. Picked up a baby gift for friends that are expecting, got a scale with body fat at BBB with $10 off, then headed back over to the bike shop. A few other friends were hanging out, and the place was busy! I knew my shoes wouldn't be in because the order was messed up. It had been messed up from the beginning somehow. I sent over a list for mountain bike shoes, a helmet, and two seat bags. Somehow that turned out to be "Didn't you order a Tarmac?" Uh, no. For free I'd take one, but I'm happy with my Roubaix. Add to that two pair of road shoes and bottle cages. Wait, what? No, I just wanted the mountain bike shoes, a helmet, and two seat bags. Somehow the order wound up yet again with the 3 pairs of shoes, bottle cages, seat bags, and helmet.
So, I will have shoes eventually. I wasn't planning on wearing them anytime soon anyway. Will probably pick some places that don't require much (if any) hiking and then just wear them to the bigger races next year. I'll probably stick to the Sidi's for most events. Even if they are nearly as expensive at least they are worn in and abused and I don't have to feel bad about scuffing up really nice shoes everytime I hike a bike!
Wound up that we stood around at the bike shop for a really long time chatting. Eventually we had to finish up the errands so headed out. There was still bike prep and relaxation to be had for the day…
Got the rest of the errands out of the way and finally got home. Then it felt like I ran around all night doing race prep stuff, and I wasn't even doing bike maintenance!
I even remembered to not only set my cell phone alarm, but also move the clock back an hour before bed. Then I spent half the night and most of the morning waking up to double and triple check the time.
Either way we made it to the venue just before 7:30 (the new time). A few cars in the rain soaked lot, but we parked a bit closer than we had last year. Partly due to a race course reroute, and partly cause a lot of people weren't there yet.
We got on the rain jackets and went to check in. Luckily we had pre-registered as the line was actually pretty long for same-day. Got our race #s and our Hammer goodies and headed back to get ready. Lots of people milling about that we hadn't seen in awhile.
I rounded the corner of the lot and all of a sudden heard, "Did you bring fenders?!" Neil's bike was covered in a nice layer of mud and he expounded on the slick spots on the course. Yay!
I was not looking forward to another rainy race. At least the last one had the sense to not be raining until after the race started. I just didn't feel very good, and the sprinkly weather was not helping my mood any.
I did an awkward and unstructured warm-up, got my race number on my leg, and headed over to the start line. There was one other person in my category. The home made #1 trophy was not mine!
All the Pro's, Semi-Pro's, and Experts took off together in one mass start. I wound up behind my competition, and losing feet every second. She took off like a rocket and I struggled to keep her in sight. I held on and was about 3 people behind going onto the first singletrack. She managed to pull a little gap, though.
At the next climb my chain dropped off, so I pulled out of the way and took a minute or two to fix it. I wasn't dead last of our starting group, but pretty dang close. I figured my race was over at that point, but kept charging where I could anyway. You never know.
Lap one was just re-acquainting myself with the course. Back near the stables I saw my competition again so kept it going to try to bridge the gap. I'd get close, but she kept maintaining the distance. We got to the hike a bike and while she was ambling up the hill I ran as fast as I could and was right on her wheel. She hopped on sooner than I did, and wound up gapping me again as I struggled to clip in and change gears all at once.
I was about 20 yards off, and kept pulling her in on the next little climb. She had a chain/gearing problem and stopped, and I didn't look back (er, at least not right away). I did keep trying to see how far off she was, and she was always about 10-20 seconds or so behind for lap 2. I was at the top of the switchbacks as she was just turning the first one… I was at the top of a climb and she would be midway, etc. I kept it going cause you never know when someone peaks late in a race or has just left plenty in the tank to overtake on the final lap…
Lap 3 I slowed on an easy(ish) incline to take in an Endurolyte. My quads were on the verge of cramping, and the continuing pressure and pedaling wasn’t helping. I wasn't about to have to give up or spin everything. I kept it going, and the next descent and rolling section helped the legs free up a little. One lap to go. I wound up grannying up stuff that I had been middle ringing the first 3 laps. My legs felt like they were about to quit at any moment. I tried to take it easy and kept my eyes out for the competition. I didn't see her, but I knew she was back there!
My legs kept screaming, and when I got to the hike a bike one final time I wasn't sure I'd make it to the top. Luckily I did and the legs held out for the final little descent and flat schicane's to the finish line.
The course differed a bit from last year in that it added in the first hill that we only did once last year, but did it on every lap this year. Added some mileage and climbing to each lap.
Overall it was good, but this extra distance is difficult! Either that or I'm just really out of shape. Justin talked to the other woman and I guess she said she just went out too hard and couldn't keep up the pace. My pace dropped off as well. I think lap times were just under 28 for the first two, over 28 for the third, and my effed up GPS shut off 2-3 times on lap 4, but it was probably close to 31 minutes. Actually, lap 1 was probably a bit longer; I forgot to add in the minute or so that I was standing still fixing the chain.
At any rate, I hoped for a sub-2 hour race and wound up with that from total time guestimated. The race promoters didn't actually provide race times. The results were handwritten.
Trophies were still cool, but were wooden this year instead of metal (cost of materials, I guess).
I got to cheer on some people during the race, and then after when the beginners raced.
Actually, directly after my race I soft pedaled back to the car and proceeded to just lay on the newly dry pavement in the sun for about 5 minutes until I could move. I was half functioning for probably 40 minutes after the race.
My other mistake (aside from not warming up properly) was not eating again. I had a Recoverite drink, and about an hour later a PB&J, and then nothing for probably close to 2-3 hours. I think my glycogen stores were probably pretty low, and I was feeling sore/like crap. After I got that massive burrito in my gut I felt much better!
Successful race overall, and I can tell the difference between a lame warm-up and a good one. Not sure where else I went wrong, but I just mentally and physically didn't feel good for the entirety of the race. I still did well, but I probably should've been able to do better. Consistency throughout my lap times would be nice. I'm not sure if I need to back off at first or what. Maybe just riding longer at the higher pace will help?
Today will be an easy spin on the stationary bike at the gym. I might throw in pull-ups/dips, but I doubt it. I do hope I have a tee in my gym bag, though, cause I forgot a wife beater. Oops.
2 days ago