The race started off in typical lemans (hope I got that right) style. I kind of liked this way for starting a race even though the whole time I was running I felt like I was going to lose my tube and pump out of my back jersey pocket. Got on the bike and was off onto the course. The course started off with a huge climb up a fire road. This was the longest climb of the course right off the start and longer than any single climb I've raced on. I do like to climb but did not expect this right off the start. When we got to the top it was still a pretty big cluster as we got into the singletrack. As per my usual luck I got behind a rider who was behind a slower rider with a tight twisty track and not a lot of places to pass. Eventually I made it around him and continued on. I was having some issues getting a little more used to my new ride. The shifters are a huge upgrade from my last bike and the placement is different so I kept accidentally hitting the trigger and down shifting into my small ring all the time before I finally got my hand into the right place where I would stop bumping it. There was one point where I accidently shifted both ders at the same time and dropped my chain and had to stop and fix it getting passed by about 5 guys that were right behind me. After that (caution man bike love ahead) me and the bike just meshed beautifully. The handle and ease of how it handled over the track is exactly what I've been looking for. The fox fork is set with just the right rebound speed(thanks paul) that it just sailed over all the log crossings, rocks and roots.
At the end of the first lap I felt pretty good and stopped for a minute and talked with my new friend Rob, (probably one of the best thing about the races is meeting and hanging around other riders) drank a little water and then headed back out onto the course. The second lap I felt pretty good. Got kind of a slow start but by the end of it I was feeling good and really rolling. When I finished the second I only stopped at the pit long enough to drop a bottle and kept going onto the third. The third lap was good and I was still moving pretty good and wasn't really having any issues. At the end of number 3 another quick pit and out for number four. For the most part this lap felt pretty good but I noticed I got passed by some riders on the second half of the course and was wondering if I was slowing down some.
When I pulled into the pits at the end of lap 4 I was starting to feel it. This was a 5 mile course and I usually race about 15 miles so I was passed my comfort zone. At this pit I stopped and ate a pb & j drank some more nuun and then was back off. At this point I was 2 hours and 51 mintues into the race and was still on track to exceed my goal of 7 laps. The biggest problem I noticed was when I got back on the bike I really noticed how much my ass hurt. I could definitely start to tell that I was riding a bike with a saddle that was not broken in.
Lap 5 was when everything started to go downhill. Every time I was in the pits I felt like throwing up my ass was really hurting and I was starting to notice some cramp twinges in my thighs and I felt like I was really slowing down. By the end of the lap I was hurting and having a rough time. The next 2 laps where pretty tough. Lots of cramping and just bad decisions and moves on the bike. I was past the point of being competitive and was just trying to keep moving to challenge myself. At the end of lap 7 I looked at the clock and there was 29 minutes left in the race. I could have gone out for another lap and got 8 in but I decided to call it a day. I figured this was the first of a 3-4 week stretch of races and I didn't need to hurt myself to bad at the first one. The thing I got the most of out of this race was education. I think that I may have over hydrated. I went though 7+ bottles of drink in the 6 hours. Not sure about that but maybe. My next race I'm going to spend less time in the pits and try to keep going. I felt worse after and during my pit stops. I'm also going to keep working on my nutrition. I've got to get passed feeling like barfing all the time.
The strangest thing about this is sport is how it's turned me into a masochist. I've been sitting around tonight with my aching legs and ass thinking about the next race and getting excited about it. It is 12 hours; twice as long as this one and I'm pumped about doing it. I did talk with Rob and Millhouse about joining their team for this weekend and I'm still thinking about and happy that they would let me jump in with them but I keep thinking if I want to challenge myself and tackle this solo again. We'll see.
Hopefully starting tomorrow I will be doing some riding in the dark getting ready for the late laps at the 12 hours this weekend. Here's one of the 2 pictures I took. This is millhouse showing off excellent post race nutrition. MMM burgers. I do have to say after not eating burgers and hot dogs for a while they tasted really good after a endurance race. Later.