Sunday, June 28, 2009

Goals met, not exceeded....

Numbers on the day: 7 1/2, 38, 71 times 5, 5, 1.

Yesterday I raced/rode for 7 1/2+ hours at the festival enduro race - a 9 hour race that's part of the Mid-Atlantic Superseries for mountain biking. I was going to this mostly as a training ride - get a lot of hours on the bike under race conditions, working on staying hydrated and fed appropriately, and dealing with the mental aspects of racing. The goal (before I knew what the course looked like) was to complete 5 laps. Each lap is 7.5miles, so that's a total of nearly 38 miles in a day - pretty doable. Anything above that was a bonus. Normally I might plan on riding more - but the predicted expert lap time was 40 minutes, so I stayed conservative in my goal setting. Good thing.
About the logs - Beautiful all singletrack loops through a farm with occasional field sections ala cyclocross thrown in. Each lap had a significant amount of climbing - no real sustained climbs, but lots of climbing. And 71 logs. Per lap. When I say log, I mean piece of wood that has fallen or been placed across the trail of 4" in diameter or more - yes, I counted (on lap 2, so it might even be sorta accurate). I am not counting roots. I got over logs every way you could think of - gracefully riding over them, doing a proper cross dismount-carry-remount, waddling, walking, awkwardly clipping out with one foot and waddling, messing up my cross dismount and throwing my bike on the ground before going over the log, and generally getting my big chainring to grind some wood a little more often than I might like. However, the way I didn't get over even a single log - by doing a header. Woohoo!

About the riding - I did in fact finish 5 laps. With time for a 6th lap, but no legs or lungs. My heart rate and breathing rate were up a lot during that fifth lap, even though I wasn't pushing, so I knew that stopping was the better decision - I wanted to retain some element of fun in my all day Saturday recreation. Keys to the day - going out at endurance pace (my first three lap times were 1:24, 1:27 and 1:29 - and I pitted on laps 2 and 3 to reapply sunscreen and change out water bottles). Not forcing myself to ride crap I didn't feel comfortable with (so there you goofy guy who said "Geez, if you have to walk that log this will be a tough course for you" on my 3rd lap - I mentally cussed him out for about half the lap). Reminding myself to eat - I could barely stomach anything by halfway through. I was doing Cerasport in the camelbak and shot bloks to keep the caloric intake up. A banana on lap 3 and a coke (yum!) during a 20 minute break on lap 4 pretty much rounded things out.
If you're following - the last number - 1 - the number of husbands who went way outta their way to show up and surprise me by being there (with a large camera, I might add) halfway through lap 4. With peachy o's candy that I couldn't stomach until the way home. What a sweetheart.

My placing - who knows. Well, someone does, but I don't. I would've probably been around 6th in the solo women if I had gone out for a 6th lap, but I didn't. And, given that I was hoping to see my mom's new water gardens and enjoy her hottub, I hit the road pretty much as soon as I changed. Not very social of me, but that's life.

Edit 6/30/09 - Results indicate I was 7th! Going out for another lap wouldn't have changed that at all. Nice to have a field of more than 10 for a solo women enduro race!!

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