Monday, September 6, 2010

TNGA Sections 1 and 2

So rewind to about a week and a half ago... I arrive at my daughters school to drop her off and there is a big sign on the door of her classroom. "We have a confirmed case of strep throat in this room". Ugh...Seriously??? Another case of strep throat? One of the toughest parts for me of being a new parent is the constant onslaught of bacteria and viruses that Jayden is exposed to. Not only does she get sick, but it is nearly impossible to prevent the spread of germs to mom and dad.

So the Sunday a week before the race Chris says he is feeling like he's getting sick and Jayden gets a fever and is lying on the floor wailing away, miserable, and me feeling completely helpless. We give J some tylenol, which helps tremendously, and she goes to bed to sleep off her illness. Monday morning she doesn't have a fever, and she seems perky so I take her to school. I had a super busy week at work, so staying home with her would have been tough to do. When I arrive, her teacher sounds like hell and could barely speak. Fantastic.

Monday night Chris suggests we should make he passes me his germs, and I fight them off by the weekend. I should have taken him up on the offer but instead I said to stay away.

Jayden continues to have mild cold symptoms all week but I'm still good till Thursday night. I wake up Friday morning with a sore throat and slight fever...NOOOOOO!!! I had already bought all my food and gear for TNGA, taken Friday off to pack, so I got everything ready and figured I had to at least TRY to give it a go. Chris was only sick for a day, so I thought if I rested well on Friday I might have a chance of riding through it.

I felt pretty good Saturday morning so I was optimistic. We arrived at the SC border and rolled out about 8:30 am. The first four hours were pretty good. I felt ok riding at just a moderate pace. I lost about a half an hour on the way to Dillard as I didn't have a bike computer (thought my map and cue sheet would be enough) but I made a wrong turn that cost me a lot of extra elevation gain. Since I didn't have a computer, I thought a minor intersection was one I had to turn at, and ended up going down a big hill just to have to come right back up. Grrr... I wished I had gotten a chance to preride this section, as then I wouldn't have wasted that time and energy. The riding itself was pretty difficult and not terribly fun...lots of steep climbing and the descents were challenging in deep, loose gravel.

I hit 441 and waved to my boss who just happened to be up there camping for the weekend. How cool is that? To have a boss that would sit in the car for 3 hours just to watch me ride by as say "whoo hooo!". She's a keeper..

Anyways, after Dillard there was some pavement and a big climb up to Patterson Gap. That road was pretty crappy...big loose gravel, steep climbs, and a bunch of hunters with dogs doing some sort of organized hunt. Lots of traffic. When I hit FS32C, it got even worse...big RR track size gravel that was freshly dumped and hills that were straight up. I won't lie, I pushed the bike some here. I was starting to feel "feverish" and I noticed that I had a slight wheeze going on. By the time I hit 76, I was not feeling too good. My legs were fine but the fever felt like it was getting worse and I had started having to cough every so often. I was at about 8 hours in and already deteriorating. I had estimated 56 hours finishing time, so given my current state, the likelyhood of finishing was pretty low and I would only run my body down more if I kept going. I had raced for 24 hours in January with similar symptoms and ended up with pneumonia, which wiped me out for two weeks, and I didn't want a repeat of that.

I decided I would call Chris from Mocassin Creek State Park and have him pick me up there, since he was waiting in Helen. It was definitely the right decision, but watching the race now from the sidelines, I can't help but wish just a little bit that I was still out there. My strength lies in knowing that I have completed 2-3 day races before with little to no sleep and I already know how to fuel for those types of events. I'm already thinking about next year, wondering if the timing will be better.

Now it appears to be a three-man race, which is exactly what I expected. It also looks like none of those guys will finish in my expected 56 hour finish time, so I may have been out there longer..or maybe not...who knows...

Chris said I could always do the race again on my own, as an ITT, when I'm 100% healthy, but then I don't know if I have the drive to do such a long and painful endeavor if I don't get some sort of bragging rights. That makes me sound terrible, but knowing that people are watching is a huge motivator for me. Next year perhaps? At least now I've pre-ridden the first section!


Emily said...

"Pretty difficult and not terribly fun" yeah, that is definitely a good description of the early part of the course. Add that to the hassle of getting to the state line, which is quite the pain in the butt too!
Definitely sorry to hear you dropped out, but having just gone through something similar with Colorado Trail Race I think you were very smart to take steps to preserve your health. Get better soon!
On the ITT idea, with some benchmark ride times to keep in mind, an ITT could be just as fast as a group start even without competitors to push the pace. And you can always set up a public SPOT page if you want folks to watch! Hopefully David Muse would maintain a list of ITT finish times on the site, although with his complex rules he might decide it was too hard to verify a finish.
Most people-- including me-- respect an ITT finish at least as much, if not more, than a group start. And most people respect the racer who is smart enough to pull the plug before things go haywire. Great job, Lisa!

Lisa said...

Yeah, I figured since I really didn't have much invested (really just the time spent packing and gas to get up there) it was wiser to bail and give it a go when I could come in 100% healthy. The group start didn't influence my speed at all. I knew the guys would go out faster, but I also knew probably only 3 of them would keep riding through the night. Eventually everyone would be going really slow, so I just went "Lisa Speed" from the get go. Had I not gone in sick, I think it would have worked out well.

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