Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do You Have to Be Smart to Race?


Last week, I rather belatedly made up my mind to race the Logsplitter. As you might know, I haven't done much racing this year. I thought it might be nice to redeem myself a little at the end of the season by squeezing in another mountain bike-ish race before Kisscross started. The race was in Grayling, which is reasonably close to our cabin, where we had already planned to spend the holiday weekend. Of course, part of the draw was the opportunity to once again hang out with some cool people, most notably this one. It was 26 miles, which I thought was doable, and I liked the fact that many of those miles weren't on singletrack.

On the morning of race day, I dragged myself out of bed to the repetitive sound of rain on the metal roof of our cabin, which seriously threatened to lull me back to sleep. After a brief stop at a local campground to pick up my cheering section (aka Mom), we headed to Hartwick Pines. It continued to rain.

By the time we got there, it had tapered off a bit. I hit the restroom while my personal pit crew prepared my bike for the race. When I returned, my bike was put together, my race number affixed, my tires aired and my chain lubed. Talk about service! I borrowed some arm warmers from Ali and a jacket from my mom, because although it had stopped raining, it was still quite chilly.

It seemed I had everything I needed, but I should have known better. As I lined up for the start, blue skies appeared to give me a false sense of security. I began the race amid cheers from Mom, Chris and Ali. My legs felt a little sluggish, but got better after I started to warm up a bit.

There were two other girls racing against me. They got ahead of me shortly after we hit the ski trail at Hartwick Pines, but I figured as long as I could keep them in sight I had a chance to catch them later. I just tried to stay close, but it was challenging. The ski trail, although not technical, was hellishly hilly. It had started to rain again and would continue to do, sometimes torrentially, for the remainder of the race.

Near the end of the ski trail, in my granny gear, I passed one of the girls on an uphill. I was feeling quite good at this point and stayed ahead of her through the rest of the ski trail and the next section of the race—the bike path.

But as I hit the two track section after the bike path, I start to slow down (and slow down and slow down). My legs didn't want to move any longer. It was taking everything I had in me to continue peddling. As I headed into a neighborhood, the next leg of the race, she was directly behind me. I was about to get passed.

By the time I reached Hanson Hills she was so far ahead I couldn't even see her anymore. I had no idea what was happening. I was actually shaking. Then I remembered. I had a package of pop tarts earlier that morning and nothing since. I had nothing but water in my bottles. And I had no food with me. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

To compound this ridiculous behavior, I decided to do something even more stupid. Instead of bailing into the parking lot as I reached Hanson Hills, I continued to the last leg of the race—10 miles of singletrack. I had my first DNF in four years of racing earlier this year and it felt like crap. I didn't want a repeat performance, so I slogged through those miles, walking something like half of them. I was spent—had no fuel left in the tank and couldn't climb even the slightest inclines.

Needless to say, I came in last place. As I crossed the finish line, all I could think about was food.

That being said, Glen, Ali and everyone else who helped put on a great race. I really enjoyed the first leg. I'd like to do it again next year, minus the bonk.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Next time fill your bottle with Malibu. If it makes you ride as fast as it makes you talk you will be a shoo-in. DG

Mr. corporate awards said...

Next time try to eat something healthy before the race. Didn't your mom ever told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?! Just be thankful that you have a wonderful st of helpers including your mom with you as you race.

O said...

God I hate hunger flats. And the cold!

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