Sunday, February 25, 2007
Day of Disaster---Almost!
Southridge #4....wow! The day started off a little jumbled! I got going just a bit later than usual, which was most likely for the best as you will read! I made it almost to the Ontario airport when traffic stopped...dead! After sitting for what seemed like 15 hours(about 5 minutes) we moved about 10 feet! I finally heard the report on the radio that there was a SIG alert about 1 mile away. Well race fans, it took me about 35 minutes to travel 1and1/2 miles! I started to freak out a bit, than realized that I had plenty of time to drive the remaining 7 miles to Southridge. I thought that if I had left on time that I may have been involved in the large pile-up. One car had even caught on fire and burned out.
When I arrived at the park it was stinking cold! No worries though beacuase there was no wind and that was a plus! We received a decent amount of rain the two days prior to the event and the dirt looked great! I rode a bit of the track and it was fast and tacky! I thought it was going to be a great day!
As I wrote in my last post, I had not had the greatest two weeks of training. The rain spoiled a few days of the week, so I never really found my legs. As I warmed up for the race I was feeling great which excited me. It really started to warm up and the vibe was good! As we lined up my buddy Rory and I quickly realized that there were some tuff and lean looking fellas in our class! As good as I was doing controlling the pre-race jitters, I started to get a little crazy! They decided to let us start with a pretty large group of about 30 people of various classes. That turned out to be a great decision because most of the slower traffic that has been slowing me down would now be starting with us!
As the siren rung I took off at a decent pace feeling pretty well. A couple of older sandbaggers took the lead which was fine with me! I was in front of the 5 in my class but I noticed that up the blacktop they were pushing me pretty hard. I felt fine until about 3/4 of the way up the hill and I felt as if my legs bonked! This was a scary feeling because I had about 6 miles left! I completely struggled up the climbs before the first descent. I started to freak out that I was not going to win this race! I was having problems with my chain and cranks. I couldn't seem to keep it in the big ring, which kept me unbalanced every time it jumped or dropped.
During the first descent I had a guy I was trying to pass, and when he finally crashed, I cranked to get around him and dropped my chain for the 1st of 4 times! The singletrack was amazing! If it was loose and dusty like normal, I may have went down a lot! With my chain dropping, I couldn't seem to get my balance or a rhythm at all. When we hit the second long climb, I hit the wall! As I started at the base of the hill I dropped my chain again and spun out! This sucked a ton of juice out of me and I found myself walking about 50 yards up the hill. As I got back in the saddle, I gave it all I had to get to the top of the hill. I stayed in my middle ring on the next descent as to not drop my chain again. As I hit the switchback climb on the backside I caught some of the Open class women which inspired me to painstakingly push as hard as I freaking could so I would not get caught up in the quickest singletrack. I was able to pass them, but paid the price with my body! My lower back started to throb and I felt as if I had nothing left! I was so unbalanced thru all the baby heads(rocks the size of baby heads) that I almost crashed numerous times and even ran myself off the track twice.
After dropping down the concrete chute, I did not even have the energy to push hard thru the flats. I made up so much time in this area in the last race, I started to mentally freak out. Once I started the steady climb back towards the last descent my legs seemed to gain new life. I had actually caught up with the group ahead and I wanted more than anything to pass this guy that had been winning his class! As I flew by him, I screamed, let's go baby! You should have seen his face when he realized that it was me! I had given up all hope of breaking the 45 minute goal that I had set. I was so bummed because the condtions were so great! After I came across, Rory and Thomas came in neck to neck! They were only about two minutes behind which was a huge improvement for them! Bravo! I think they both improved their time by 4-6 minutes.
When they posted the times, I was absolutely floored that I had improvrd my time by close to 1 min! 45 minutes and 11 seconds. I could not believe with the way I raced and the slow riding that I had done, that I won let alone beat my last time! If I felt as good as the last race, I may have put in a 42-43 minute lap! Who knows?! I will not make excuses!
After the race Rory checked out my bike and dropped the news that my crank bottom bracket was shot! Yippee! I thought that I had it bad until I waited for one of my racing inspirations to come across the finish! I asked Bernice from Team Sho-Air (my dream team!)if Josh Smith had come thru yet and she said no with a tidbit of worry in her eyes. About 5 minutes later he rolled up bloody and shaken, got off his bike, said he needed medical attention, and kind of collapsed to the ground. Turns out that about half way thru his 3rd and final lap, he drilled his head into the ground hard enough to knock himself out! They seem to think that he may have been out for a minute or so! When he came too, he proceeded to finish the rest of the 3 miles he had left. He later said that he saw black spots all the way in. He also had a large gash on his leg and a bloodied elbow! I felt bad that his young daughter was there and seemed to be a little worried at first, but quickly seemed to act as if this had happened before! I am just glad that he is OK! On the lighter side, he still won the freaking race! And he races in one of the most competetive classes! Kudos dude! I hope you heal up this week since you have the insane Vision Quest this Saturday! This race is 58.5 miles with over 11,000 feet in elevation gain! I hope to do this race next year! It sells out months prior, and you have to be able to keep up and make certin checkpoints by certain times! What's the purpose of racing if you can't keep up though!
I know I have my work cut out for me for the next two weeks with my training! I need to figure out why I bonked so hard! Thanks for reading my friends!