After a long week of work and very little training I awoke at 4am to head out to Santa Ynez! I met up with Rory and Jen at their apartment and loaded up the car. Our race time was 7:30 am and we arrived to the course at 10 till 7. As we rolled up to the venue which was at the Firestone Vineyard we were a little freaked about the FROST on the ground. Our fears were quickly realized as we stepped out of the car and walked over to registration. It was FREEZING! We registered and suited up. Knowing that it would warm up once the sun rose higher, I opted for the short finger gloves. Bad news for the first lap! We had 8 total for the marathon race. Not a big crowd but pretty much what I expected with the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo going on at the same time. This was an open class race which means that Rory and I were way out of our league! Then the ball was dropped...The race announcer told us that there was 1700 feet of climbing per each 11 mile lap! That's almost double the norm of an average cross country course. I just wasn't expecting that much! The gun sounded and we were off! The start wasn't too crazy but within the first mile 3 guys were gone! About a 1/2 mile in there was a water crossing! The layering meant nothing as my feet were soaked with ice cold water!
Rory and I managed to pull away from a couple of riders and settled into an average pace. As we ended the first lap there was even a larger water crossing! We came through the start/finish and got new bottles. All the XC racers were showing up and started t cheer us on. The second lap, Rory and I both started having chain suck issues. Between the creek crossings and the dust, our drivetrains were making sounds that you would here in a haunted house! About 3 miles into my second lap I took a pretty good fall on a descent. I had put about a minute on Rory so he missed out seeing this spectacularly lame crash! I drilled my whole left side into the side of the mountain! I was up quickly and just a little dirty and maybe a little embarassed!
By the end of the second lap I was starting to worry about wether or not my legs were going to loosen up. Usually this is where my endurance starts to kick in....today, not so much. Rory and I yelled to Jen to hook us up with some lube and she than met us over at our bottles. Chain was sounding better as we headed out but that all came to an end as soon as we crossed the water again! We should have taken the bottle with us! When we hit the steep climb about three miles in...it started, cramps...oh crap! I tried to keep up with Rory but told him to ride on because I was going to need to slow it down. He took off and I was instantly in no mans land! I knew I still had two guys behind me so that kept me motivated to press on.
This lap hurt. I was off the bike stretching out cramps for a good 10-15 minutes total. I was able to push good on the last climb and then push hard through the valley back to the finish. I was having mad trouble breathing from all the dust and new that if I tried to go on that I may end up hurting myself. I called it at the end of my third lap. I was bummed that I did not have it in me. On the other hand...I really enjoyed myself. Rory had gone out for lap 4 and when he came through the finish they stopped him and would not let him do the final 5th lap because the winner had already finished. He was bummed because he really wanted to finish. Usually he has the problem with the cramping, not me.
This was a great first race for me. I had a blast and so look forward to the season getting underway! Final stats for my race:
Lap 1: 1:18
Lap 2: 1:27
Lap 3: 1:44
5100 ft. of climbing
1 Funny Faceplant
1 not so funny crash
1 hammered drive train