|Photo credit: Broken Photography|
My plan going in was to just ride the first loop, race the second loop, and then see if I had anything left for a third lap. Well that plan went out the window as soon as the race started! I went out with the lead group of about 15-20 guys sitting right at the back of the pack for the first turn into the start of the single track. I quickly got sucked into racing that first lap. I remember looking down at my heart rate monitor and seeing I was about 15 beats higher than I planned on being. I kept thinking to myself, what in the hell are these guys doing there is no way they are going to push this pace for 4 hours!
The first lap was an absolute blast and was very rewarding in the sense I felt in the mix of the race. I was passing and getting passed, working turns and climbs, just having a lot of fun! I came through the first lap with about 5 other guys sitting around 10-15th place. The second lap was excruciating! About 15 minutes into the lap I wiped out in a corner, when I popped up my left hamstring locked up with a bone rattling cramp. I hopped (more like crawled) back onto my bike but couldn't get the cramp to release, so I soft pedaled until it worked itself out. Then I got out of the saddle to climb a hill and both my inner thighs locked up. Back to soft pedaling.... I was having that mental conversation with myself wondering how and the hell am I going to bike another 8 miles back to the start... should I call it a day and find a short cut back??? But what if I get lost and end up having to bike more miles!?!? In the end I decided to just ride it easy back to the finish line and hope I get there in one piece. The last couple miles things seemed to calm down a little and I was able to pick it back up a little with the ever constant threat of a cramp at each hill. I finished out the second lap and called it a day at about 2 hours and 50 minutes. I literally crawled back to the truck, turned the AC on, and just laid there for like 45 minutes. I was pooped!
- I would have had a better race and placing had I followed my race plan going in, but I did get a lot of technical and tactical race experience pushing it that first that lap that I don't think I would have got otherwise.
- Mountain biking is no joke! I hurt for seriously like 3 days after the race. It hurt to type emails, that's how much of a wreck I was.