Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is it hot in here or is it just me?

So somehow I managed to get through an entire summer last year of riding while big and pregnant without being a sweaty mess. Now that I'm not pregnant and should be at my peak, I'm a sweating like a pig (do pigs actually sweat?) that can't stay hydrated to save my life.

Case and point...ORAMM.. We prerode the Kitsuma downhill the day before and I was pretty stoked to race the following day. I had a good start, just a bit behind Carey and was feeling good and enjoying the gradual warmup as we rolled out of town. Once we started climbing, I settled into a nice 170 HR and rode behind Carey for a while. About halfway up, I had to let her go to keep my HR in check but was cruising along in second place feeling pretty good. Just before the top of the climb, another fast lady, Paula, came by, which is fine because I knew it was a long race and I certainly wasn't going to chase anyone early on. Did I mention it was close to 100 degrees up there?

The descent was awesome.. I jumped off at a couple sketchy sections, as either line down them was blocked by someone walking slowly. Not only did that save me from potential crashing and injury, but I passed 3-5 guys on each of those sections with my graceful 'run-a-bike' ninja skills. I ran the last bit at gazelle speed and even had one guy say "Damn, nice move!" and I wasn't even on my bike. The rest of the downhill was flowy and fast. I crept up on the guys in front of me and didn't get caught by any of the clusterf*ck behind me. When I hit the bottom of the descent, I was 1:15 in and still feeling good, though it was HOT. I had some gel and drank some water.

The next section up Star Gap is a long switchbacky, low speed climb. I was sweating buckets here and I guess I didn't keep up with the hydration and calories so well because this is where I started to feel really lethargic and lightheaded. I figured I'd recover on my way into the second aid station and then fill up on calories and coke there.

After a quick refuel, I started up Curtis Creek. I felt good for about 10 minutes but then the Coke buzz wore off and I started deteriorating quickly. I was taking in fluids, but I think I had already worked my way into such a deficit that I couldn't replenish the fluids that I lost. By 1/2 way up I was soft pedaling in my small ring just to keep moving. Then the cramps set in...foot cramps and my hip flexors. WTF? Never had my hip flexors cramp before... So by 3/4 way up I'm pretty much dying a slow death and only plodding on because I know there are cold drinks up the road a bit. I keep seeing people riding back down the hill towards me...hmmm...tempting. I don't think I could have possibly rode any slower and not fallen over. It was crazy that I was still holding 3rd place, despite my slower-than-walking-pace riding.

I hit the aid station and decided I'd hang out a while and try to regroup. I sat down on one of the coolers and drank cokes and water and shoved all kinds of food in my face. I think they were wondering when I was going to leave, because I was tearing through their supply of food. After maybe 10-15 mins, a group of ladies pulls in. Andrea asked me if I was going on and I said, "I think I'm going to camp out here." I'm pretty sure they were all happy to hear that. I finally got up, reassesed my condition and found that my cramping was getting worse and I was still lightheaded despite the massive calorie bomb I just swallowed. Fearing getting to the point where I was laying on the side of the road writhing in pain, I decided not to continue and rode back down Curtis Creek. I was bummed because I really wanted to ride the downhills, but considering I cramped up riding back down the forest road, I would have been in bad shape down Heartbreak Ridge. I still felt pretty bad riding easy back into town, so it was probably a good thing I pulled out early.

Back at the finish, and even on the ride home, I was still completely out of it and cramping up when the car would go over bumps. Now I have a headache 2.5 days later still...ugh. It is imperative that I train myself to eat and drink more WHILE racing or I'll never finish a race over three hours. Not to mention, the recovery has been painfully slow. Bad Lisa, BAD! The faster I get, the dumber I get it seems. I think for my next race Chris is going to write EAT and DRINK really big on both my arms so I remember...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Raccoon Mountain XC Race

This past Sunday I did my first XC race in 2 years. The off-road duathlons I had been doing were just as intense as an XC race - actually more intense due to the running sprint against the boys before the bike - but they were shorter. I didn't really have any expectations other than I knew I wouldn't be last, so I opted to ride my singlespeed. I figured if I did well on the singlespeed, I could do well on a geared bike at the next one (and if I did crappy, I could always blame my bike, right??)

The start went as expected...I spun out on the road start and was DFL going into the singletrack. I caught back up immediately and then chaos ensued... The first part of singletrack was moderately technical and girls were going down left and right...clipping pedals on rocks, bad lines, you name it. I fought my way through and was amazed that I was able to stay on my bike through some of the less than desirable lines I had to take to get around people. I passed a bunch of girls. I didn't count them, but we started with twelve and it seemed like I passed at least eight of them...but really wasn't sure. Loretta and a Vantaggio rider were the last two that I passed, but I wasn't sure who was in front of me, other than Kim F. I motored along at a quick pace, keeping my momentum as much as possible so I wouldn't spin out on the flats. After a short time there were no girls within sight behind me so I figured I was riding pretty well.

I felt great on the singlespeed for about an hour but then the climbs really started to take their toll. I was pushing a 19 on the rear (which is all I have, so I didn't really have other options) and by the second lap, I was really starting to slow on the moderate to steep climbs. By the time I hit the "switchbacks" again, I was thinking how much I would have loved to have gears. I lost a lot of time on the second lap because I couldn't stay on top of my gear and ended up running/walking some of the climbs. I thought Carey was crazy for running a 21, but she was much smarter than I, and had a phenominal race. I rode by myself for the rest of the race and just hoped I'd had a fast enough first lap to not have anyone catch me. When I crossed the finish line, I still had no idea what place I was in and it wasn't until Loretta informed me that I was second that I had any clue about my placing.

I was pleasantly surprised, as I figured I was at least fourth, but had I known I was second, I would have dug a little deeper on that second lap. Not that I had a chance of catching Kim, but I think I would have been a little more motivated knowing I was racing for a podium spot - and at least I would have been done and off my bike a couple of minutes faster.

I did enjoy the XC race and liked the shorter format. I'm itching to do another one, but need to cool it before ORAMM so I don't wear myself out before getting to the starting line.