Ok where to start. First off I did race and I did finish!!!!! Yeah for me!!!!
I have never felt like a fish out of water but I was full of dumb questions today. Found a few friends that are O cup masters. First thing was feed zone. I'm so used to the endurance stuff where solo racers have their own pit area. The feed zone was only about 40 feet long and would be packed with people. Awwww don't worry about it.
Do all the prerace crap and warmed up. Considering the 3.5 hour ride yesterday the legs felt pretty good. Sitting in the start area I'm seeing alot of faces and I had a few of those what are you doing racing a short race questions? I asked that myself a couple times.
I was in the 35-39 age group so watch 4-5 groups leave before us with 2 minute intervals between each. Managed to get staged on the front line. Of course the nerves kick in . Deep breathes. I'm focused on my line up the first hill. Did I mention that we start with a .5 km long hill right out of the start. Great way to split up the group.
Go!! Hit my line and pushed. I wanted to be near the front at the top of the hill before the first section of single track. Did one better and had the lead coming over the top. Not knowing where my race pace endurance is at I knew I still had to ride some what smart. Of course I still had that attitude. Right full out if you blow up you blow up. I played right in between those two thougths. I was passed about half way through the first lap but kept him in sight and held his wheel going into the next climb.
The pace was stupid fast. I knew there were fast guys that are hanging in the sport class. It was less than half the lap and we started to pass the 30-34 guys.I felt good, ok honestly I was thinking holy crap this hurts. Coming into the timing tent I'd dropped to 4th but in sight of 3rd. Did I go to hard to early? Would I hold on? Does it take me an incredibly long time to warm up and feel good?
I would say the last was definitely true. First feed zone. Meg spots me and calls out my name. I really didn't think I would go though as much fluid as I did but I'm glad we had extra bottles ready. Perfect hand off with a smile.
Still in 4th and feeling the rhythm. I'm catching more and more of the slower riders from other age groups. Everyone was really good about passing today. I caught a up with Mark about half way through this lap. We pushed each other for the next few kms. Mark was still having some early season legs happening. Gotta go. On certain switchback sections I would see 3rd place and start counting the time between us. Should have been breathing.
This was where I made my one mistake on the course. Fast downhill into a couple tight bermed singletrack turns. With the right line you can come through it and hammer in the big ring. If you were off, well, this lap I missed the line. Got caught in my big ring. I;m really surprised no one caught me there as I grunted for a about 10 seconds trying to get going. The rest of the lap was smooth.
3rd lap, feed zone, another bottle another long climb. Of course now I'm starting to find my rhythm and I'm running out of time. I start to really push things. Not much time left now. I'm not gaining on 3rd but not losing time to 5th. No worries. Yep had to happen
About 2km out from the finish line I noticed that my brake handles were a bit high. HMMM Maybe the last hour and a bit of anaerobic has distorted my vision. Last km is where I figure I was luck. For the 2 long climbs the pay off is one hell of a wild downhill section. Lets just say that loose handlebars on the flats is one thing, at 45km/h its a little scary. Hit the bottom of the hill stood up and hammered the last .25 kms into the finish. I'm done, that hurt.
Ok so here is what I thought. Holy crap that hurt. An 8 hour solo hurts alot less. My average heartrate was 181. I finished 4th in my division and I'm feeling pretty trashed That was so fun.
I'm very happy with my results. I have to give Meg a huge thank you for today. You were amazing. I do have a new respect for short course racers. It is a sufferfest. Maybe after the 24hr Summer Solstice I'll focus on the shorter events for the rest of the season.
I'm trashed, early to bed. I finished, I'm happy.