Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Day I Died at Castaic....Almost

I realize it's been almost 4 weeks since my last post....sorry. I should say sorry mom! I think that she is my one faithful reader! Thanks! As you know I took a frustrating loss at Firestone a few weeks ago to my buddy Rory. For the next three weeks I hit the bike really hard to prepare for the next race. I spent a huge amount of time on my road bike burning away. I also spent a fair amount of time climbing hills on my mountain bike. I looked forward to the Castaic race with all the time I put in. I had also gave a huge amount of lip service to my freinds and family about how I hated coming in second and I wasn't going to go down like that again.
As usual, I went out to lightly pre-ride the course on the day before the race. I realized very quickly that this was going to be one of the most difficult races to date. Within the first 1/2 mile of the course you started to climb! The first bit of the hill was about a 20% grade! The laps were only 6.8 miles long, but the majority of that was climbing! One of the hills on the backside presented the problem of being shredded tree trunks! It was probably 3-6 inches deep of theese woodchips! It felt like you were pulling a wagon thru the sand as you rode across this. Crazy! Then the descent was probably one of the funnest so far. Most of the descent was part of the collegiate downhill race course! It was like a high speed rollercoaster with tons of motorcyle style bumps and even a few places to launch yourself thru the air!
Even with all the climbing I felt that I was going to do well. I usually climb better than Rory and figured that if I could outclimb him I might be able to keep enough distance on the downhill where he rages.
When I arrived to the race Sunday morning I felt really good. I was confident even with the temperature rising quickly that I was going to kill it! We started the race with a group of about 20 guys and quickly spread into a single file line approaching the steep incline. It was like a pinball machine climbing the steep, tight, soft switchbacks. If someone slipped a chain or a pedal, almost everyone had to put a foot down. Rory and I were next to each other for a long period of time. The killer in the first part of the loop was, at the top of each climb there was no real recovery because the downhill was so soft and tight. There was a blazing fast fire road descent that reminded me of my home loop. There was no recovery there though because you were mashing the big ring full out!
Rory managed to put about thirty seconds on me by the end of the first lap! As we passed each other I jokingly flipped him off and he had a huge smile on his face. I made pretty good work of the beginning climb as I started my second lap, but when I hit the next climb, I started to feel it. I struggled up the long stretch of fire road and as I was pouring sweat in the 90+ degree heat the owner of Show-Air, Scott Tedro passed me and patted me on the back saying" good job man, keep going!" I told him that he was my idol and he laughed and said that he was dying! I was trying to figure out why he was racing with us?
The next few miles were really tough for me. It took me back to my first couple of races where I was giving all that I had and I had nothing left to push to the pedals. I started to get concerned about being passed by someone else in our class. I was pretty sure that I was in second, but the worry started to creep in and that took even more out of me. By the time I hit the woodchips I made the mistake of getting off the bike and walking about 25 feet. My legs stiffened up bad. I got back on, threw it in the middle ring and hammered my way to the top as fast a I could! As I started the final descent my legs hurt so bad that I was having trouble standing up. I still pushed as hard as I could and used the rider in front of me as inspiration. When we hit the pavement I stood up and sprinted all the way to the finish.
That's when I saw Rory just smiling from ear to ear! That mofo beat me by 7 minutes! I did not realize how much I had suffered through that second lap! It was a great race! It helped me realize that I need to get a little smarter about my training and pre-race fueling. I think riding hard all week leading up to a race is probably not the best idea! I need to talk to some people and figure out how they train when you are trying to strengthen but only have 1-3 weeks between races?
This 3rd 2nd place in a row has put me in 1st in the Southern California Points Race. I would feel better if I could win one though! I have not placed first since moving up to the sport class! Santa Barbara is next and I am of course riding like a freak! Over the last 2 days I put in about 70 miles and 7100 feet of climbing over three rides! One was road and two on the Homewrecker.(Mountain Bike)
I'll write about my training later this weekend! Remember to leave a comment on what you think about my writings!