Race number one for 2008 is in the books and it looks like I'm off to a pretty good start. If you're not familiar with the race, it's around 56 miles and over 11,000 feet of climing. Though I didn't do as well as I think I'm capable of right now, I did have a strong day all things considered. The start went off like last year as the inexperienced always jump out to a frenetic pace as do the guys (and gals) racing for the overall. I kept it easy to aid station 1 and stayed on top of my nutrition. I asked for the time at aid station 1 since I set my GPS wrong and the reply came back "8 O'Clock". My mind reeled. What?! That's 12 minutes slower than last year! My reply? "That's weak!" With the fluids refilled it was time to kick it in a little.
So I pushed up the second main climb all the way to the peak and bombed my way down Upper and Lower Holy Jim, reeling in riders at a rapid pace. One racer asked "You the guy that had the flat?" thinking something must've slowed me down. "Nope" I said "Just started too easy". I skidded into aid station 2 for my second time check...10:50. Not bad, I made up some time and am on pace with last year's time. I'm not going to make it close to my goal time of 7:15, but I can beat last year's time since I feel WAY better this time around. Top off the fluids and I'm gone.
The last section is steep, with 1-2 miles of hike-a-bike depending on how strong a rider you are. I managed to ride MUCH more of this stretch than I did last year. Some day I'd like to ride ALL of it (West Horsethief Trail). I finally make it to the divide road, bypass the burger stand (officially aid station 3) and I'm so happy to see the trail marker that signals the descent that I get off my bike and hug it. Seriously! The guys at the top: "And I didn't bring my camera!" Sometimes the moment overtakes me and I do wierd stuff.
So I bomb the last 7-mile singletrack section, blast through aid station 2 and sprint the last 5-miles of dirt road with the biggest potholes I've ever seen. People described them as "Moon craters"; that's appropriate. My time? 7:45. A full 23 minutes faster after being 12 minutes behind at mile 19. Not bad. Here's me finishing:
And the triumphant pose:Bad Stuff:
-Set the Garmin wrong and didn't know how many miles were left or what my time was relative to the official time. This kept me from pacing myself accurately.
-Broke a spoke, but didn't notice it until the next day
-Had some chafing issues thanks to the water crossings despite using body glide. Might look into chamois butter or an equivalent.
-Soy products (Ensure) gave me stomach cramps at the 6-hour mark about 10-hours post-ingestion. Might have been something else, but they went away once I finished
-HEED (Hammer Nutrition) works for me. I was forcd to use it when every shop in So Cal ran out of Carbo-Pro (I checked!)
-My bike was FLAWLESS. KHS, SRAM, Shimano, MAXXIS, Sun-Ringle, WTB, Serfas. Everything worked all day with no mechanicals or flats. AWESOME.
-PB by 23 minutes after being 12 minutes behind at the 19 mile mark.
-I'm faster than I think I am. I finished with energy left over and feeling like I should have gone 7:15 or faster. I have the fitness to go hard at future races from the start and not fade even at extended distances. SWEET!
Next race: St. Patrick's Day 10K 3/15. Can't wait.