Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dipping my toes in...

Yes, today I actually did an XC race (gasp). Its been four years since I've actually done one of these, but it wasn't QUITE as bad as I was anticipating. I mean, I did cross the finish line in one piece and my respiratory system was fully functional, so that must count for something. Back in my day, I used to be pretty good at these, but my body has since fallen accustomed to the more slack intensity level of an endurance mountain biker and adventure racer. Needless to say, I was really bummed when I wasn't able to stop and look at the map midway through my race, and I didn't get to eat any of my yummy AR treats like Skittles, burritos, and PB&J.

I opted to race in the Men's Sport Class, as I still have an International license, which is a big $150 to renew, and if I downgrade to expert (which is still $60) USA Cycling wanted to charge me a downgrade fee. Ugh.. Since I couldn't race expert on a one day license, the only option was to race with the boys in Sport. They were still really fast and I got pretty much the same experience I would have had in the Pro/Expert Class, for a fraction of the price!

Our class had 24 starters and the start was crazy fast on a paved road. Once we hit the singletrack it was bottleneck city and I was fine just riding the train. We hit the first technical rock feature, which caused a bunch of chaos. Someone in front of me was off their bike, holding everyone up, so rather than standing there, I zoomed around two guys in the technical section who were patiently waiting for the train to start moving again. I figured I'd poop out later, I didn't have time to stand around..

I stayed in a group of fairly steady guys for a while, who were probably all confused as to why the hell I was racing with them, but I held my own and rode all the techy sections with relative finesse. I was feeling good till I hit the switchback section near the Visitor Center, then I made the mistake of reverting to single-speed mode, and powered up all the climbs in way too big of a gear. I think I blew out my legs on this section, because they were pretty unhappy with me the rest of the race. The rest of the lap was steady but definitely not fast. My snap had left the building...

I managed to ride UNDER one of the course marking ribbons near the end of the lap, as it was hung too high and I'm kinda short...rode right under it and kept going until a guy yelled and gave me the heads up.

My second lap was pretty crappy - I slowed way down and had to just spin up what few climbs there were. Everytime I tried to stand up and power my quads said NO NO NO, so I'd sit my butt back on the saddle and spin. Thankfully no one in my class passed me and I was able to roll in 16th out of 24. Average HR 164, Max HR 178

This was a pretty good "warm up" back into XC racing, so my next test will be at Cheaha in Mid-July. I hope to do a bit better and hopefully my legs will be more used to the intensity by then. I was pretty knackered post race...way more so than doing an 8 hour ride in the Cohuttas I think.

Finishing up the race..not an exciting picture, but Chris had to hand me water bottles so he couldn't feed and take exciting pictures.


Carey Lowery said...

How many do you think out of the 8 that you beat will hang up there racing shoes for good?

Lisa said...

Hmm..I think I would..I mean I was going REALLY slow on that second lap and no one caught me..

I feel good today..I think I needed that. Hopefully next time I won't blow up 30 minutes in.