Saturday, March 13, 2010

Heritage Park 6 Hour

After three days of rain, and more predicted for today, I was pretty much dreading this race, but knew it would be the best way to get a reasonably hard workout in with the less than desirable conditions. I hadn't raced or ridden at Heritage Park in probably 5 years, but the course was supposedly more flowy and smooth than it was previously.

I did a hard workout on Thursday and I immediately felt the leftovers in my legs when we started the parade lap. Since I didn't have snappy legs, I wasn't as close to the front as I wanted to be when we hit the woods and it ended up getting pretty bottlenecked in the first section of singletrack. Some guy, maybe 3 riders up, went down and caused quite a slow down. We worked our way through and then it seemed we got held up again once we hit a twisty, narrow section that was tough to pass on. It wasn't so much that we were going slow, but it just wasn't smooth...lots of slamming on brakes and then having to accelerate again..what a waste of energy! Near the end of the lap, it finally opened up, and I was able to ride my own pace. I was slightly concerned because we were less than 45 minutes in and I could already feel some fatigue in my legs on the climbs. Ugh..gonna be a long day.

The course wasn't nearly as nasty as I anticipated - probably 50% of it was dry - but the other half was either wet or muddy and I was regretting my choice to not switch out my CrossMark tires with something more mud appropriate, like Nevegals. I was also regretting the fact that my spare bike was a singlespeed with way too hard a gear for that particular course. I'm pretty sure it would have crushed my soul if I had to ride it after the third lap or so. I had the lead at the end of the 3rd lap, but at the end of my 4th lap, I had to stop and have a somewhat lengthy pit to spray off my drivetrain and lube the chain. (Again, wished I had brought a spare GEARED bike, so I could just swap and go). I got passed while pitting, but I doubt my bike would have survived another lap. I managed to catch back up to the girl that passed me, but she picked up the pace once she knew I was back there. I didn't really have the horsepower to stay on her, and I had to take it easy on the muddy sections or I would have ended up on my ass.

So 6th lap, same thing happens. I catch back up so now I feel like I have to try to work hard again. Ugh..a part of me ( tired legs) wanted to just lollygag along till the race was over. I snuck past her while a guy was passing, but she stuck to me like white on rice. I tried to give it one last push up one of the longer climbs, but my crapped out legs weren't getting the job done. She ended up passing me back when I ended up off the trail when we overtook a slower rider.

I didn't pit on the final lap, hoping to close the gap, but I didn't really have the strength for anything other than a steady crawl. My bike was dying a slow death and sounded like total crap. And since I didn't pit, I ran out of Perpetuem at the beginning of the lap...not that it probably would have helped. So, I had ended up in 2nd by the finish, about 2 minutes down. Despite not feeling great, my time was good enough for 6th in the Expert Men's category, so I guess I wasn't going THAT slow. I think feeling fatigue on every climb just makes you FEEL like you're going super slow. The course was pretty tough, especially with the soft and muddy sections, and it seemed like there was never any reprieve. Lots of up/down with plenty of momentum killing roots and I just never found a good rhythm. My upper body is totally worked from the billions and billions of roots that we had to ride over. Definitely a good way to keep me on the bike for 5+ hours though..I had forgotten how LONG that actually is. Hopefully I'll get some more long rides in before the next one of these.


Mandy and Frank said...

Lisa & Randall, I found your blog looking for more info on the Natchez Trace Adventure Race. I had asked Randall advice about boots. Evidently my son, Tater, had it figured out. He and 2 friend entered their first Adventure Race at NT and WON (6 hour event). He is also and avid Mountain Biker and learned Land Nav at GAOC as a child (came in
3rd in night land nav at West Point). I see you are avid Mountain Bikers. I used to ride with him, but afraid he is WAY beyond me. Sometime when he is here I would love to have him run an O course with you or Mtn. Bike. Think he could learn a lot, and he is just now getting excited about it.

Mandy and Frank said...

My son is also a Civil Engineer. Works for USACE.