Sunday, March 7, 2010

Snake Creek Gap #3

Yesterday was the last of three Snake Creek Gap Time Trials. I missed the first two due to other events and illness, so I was excited to finally get out there. I was anxious to see where my fitness was, as I was a bit demoralized after NGAR when I had to take two weeks off due to pneumonia, then start over with my training. The weather forecast was sunny and 60 degrees too, so that was a double bonus. My only concern was that I might be a little less than smooth on the technical sections since I have mainly been riding my road bike.

My coach told me to ride hard on the climbs, but not to get much above a 170 HR, then to recover as much as possible on the downhills. This worked out to be a good strategy as I wasn't ready to completely bomb the downhills, so dialing it back a bit was fine by me. Once I crossed Dry Creek (which was NOT dry), I picked up my pace to bring my HR up to 170. The grassy roadbed was a bit messy with some decent sized mud holes. As I got close to the first singletrack section, I eased up since I knew the first part was pretty steep. Once I was able to shift down to my small chainring on the steeper climbing, my legs found their rhythm and I was able to pull away from the guys behind me with a HR in the high 160s. From that point on, I was liking all the steep, extended climbs, as it seemed like I was pulling away from those behind me. I managed to drop some guys going up Horn Mtn and was equally stoked when they didn't catch me on the downhill.

I didn't stop at the sag, and just blazed through the parking lot, eager to hit the next climb and hopefully do some damage. This climb seemed quick and fun. Over the next rolling section, I used my small chainring a lot more than I normally would and it seemed to really keep my legs fresh for the hard section at the end. Some guy I passed asked if I was Willow (Koerber..super fast pro chick) and that made my day! I was rockin' and rollin' on the downhill to the next section of creeks. On the climb out, I was trying to take a drink and managed to lose the bite valve to my camelbak. My Perpetuem was pouring out so I immediately grabbed the hose and stuck it in my teeth. For some dumb reason I thought it was a better idea to ride with the hose in my teeth for 5 miles than just go back and pick up the bite valve. I took a sip about every two minutes until my bladder was drained and hoped that it was enough to get me to the finish, as I had no other calories.

Along the Hurricane Mtn singletrack, I caught sight of Paula and I slowly closed the gap. I hung back, rested, then made sure to pass quickly so she (hopefully) wouldn't try to chase me. I knew she was fast but I thought I was smoother in the rocks, and I had a full suspension bike, so I wanted to take advantage of the upcoming downhills and get in front of her before then. This gave me a bit of motivation to pick up the pace, and shortly thereafter I was able to pass Brenda. Now I was double motivated to keep motoring along.

I think I faded a bit near the end due to lack of calories, but looking at my elapsed time gave me the extra motivation to keep pushing. Once I hit the towers, I was home free, though I wished I had some extra weight to get me down the paved road section faster. I finished in 3:42, which was a new PR for me and I was able to smile the entire time and never did I feel like I was killing myself. Carey smoked the course on her singlespeed with a time of 3:27 and beat most of the guys there. I was happy to be second to her and got to take home some serious cold, hard cash for my effort.

After the first hour, most of my climbing was in the 160 HR range, so now I just need to figure out how much harder I can go without blowing up near the end. Its still early, so I'm excited to see what further gains I can make since I've actually started to train smarter.

Today I'm enjoying my recovery day and going to take Jayden out for either an easy ride or a short hike somewhere.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Nice work at Snake, and nice work today at Heritage. Sorry to have missed chatting w/you after the race!