Sunday, May 17, 2009

Substance Project Marathon Race #1

Where to start, where to finish. Alarm went off, I didn't want to get out of bed. I could feel how cold it was outside with out even checking. Maybe it was the wind that told me it was going to be a chilly ride. It was bright though, the original forecast calling for everything but a tornado had changed.

Big breakfast, loaded the car up and headed out with Tanya and Craig following behind. A quick stop, just long enough for Craig to violate a moose.

It was a wonderful change of only a 15 minute drive to the race. Rolled into the parking lot to see people more anxious than myself to ride. It was the first race for Substance Project.

Got registered and maybe my way back to the car to start getting ready. Holly crap it's cold and that wind is ripping through me. What to wear? arm band, thick socks, knee bands, full fingers gloves, an under synthetic shirt and then my race kit. hmmm I'll be fine with this. Headed out for my warm up, holy crap it's cold. Made my way back for the racer meeting.

This is when I got to scope out who was there, I didn't recognize that many but the few I did meant it was going to be a tough day. First up was Andrew, he races senior x also. Next up was Tim. Yep it's going to be a tough day. To top things off Cory Hancock from 3ROX racing and Matt Douglas from Chico Racing rolled over to the line. Yep this is going to hurt.

After a what seemed to take for ever race meeting, this means I was shivering an excessive amount, we were told that the start would be delayed about 25 minutes. The swarm of people headed to the chalet faster than they would be for the race. This also gave me a chance to rethink my clothing options. Vest, oh ya, warmer fleecy gloves over my race gloves. Even better.
Race plan for me was pretty simple, run two bottles, minimal time in feed zones, ride at a 24 hour intensity. Well intentions are always good. It was finally go time, it didn't take long for a pack to form, Andrew, Tim, a rider from Northern Cycle, Mike Davidson and a Newmarket Eagles guy. So much for going out sane. Tucked in the train, it was a nice little double track section to put a bit of space between everyone. Then we hit the first single track section. Sweet. we kept the pace fairly high with everyone taking a bit of work at the front. After about 15 minutes of trails we were back on the double track. This was where I did my one rookie mistake of the race.
Because it was so cold just standing in the start area I zipped my jersey all the way up. Well it wanted to stay their. I came out of the trail in front and I warmed up fast, so fast that I wanted to let a little air in. I road at least 500 feet no hands trying to get my zipper down. of course the boys went around me and drove the pace up again. Screw it, deal with it. Grabbed a wheel.

It was all of plus 5-6, cold windy etc. Hey look at the big river, oh wait that's a puddle on the double track. Nice. It's amazing how wet feet will cool you down. This is also when I started to watch my pace, I was right at the edge of where I wanted to play at. Right about that Tim, who was leading, started to look back. Every minute he would glance back and then lift the pace. After the 3 or 4th time I knew what I needed to do. Back off, ride you race. There is a lot of climbing. Oh and Tim will probably make one or two of them pop. This was at about 25 minutes in. Get back to pacing.

The course profile basically said most of the climbing would be between the 1st and the 3rd feed zone. Well the climb going into the 1st feed zone was pretty much a good indication to what we were in for. It was double track but it took us all the way to the west side of the top of the ski hill. Let the fun begin. This is when most of the singletrack started.

The trails were marked amazing, Lots of arrows almost impossible to get turned around. Of course not really sure on where I was in distance, left my gps at home, I just kept pedalling. I ride this area all the time but I was on trails that I don't think I even knew existed. Long sections of singletrack, this isn't to bad. Then came the first turn to the right. Going up!!!

I had kinda joked to myself about not using my granny gear today. By the end of the race I almost wish I had a great granny gear. We would barely get to the top and Dan would give us a little pay back with a fast single track downhill. This was a mountain biker's course. I lost count on how many logs and rocks I had to bunny hop. Technical stuff in a race?? Sweet. Now what I did start counting was how many times we went up. I think I would have needed to take off my socks because I ran out of digits with my hands.

The climbing and the pace did do what I expected, I caught and passed the Newmarket Eagles rider. He was looking a little trashed. I've seen the pace Tim can set. As for me this is when my legs started to feel alive. The one thing with all the singletrack, climbing and descending. No time to drink. I started to watch that with a little concern. I came into the 2nd feed zone and I had only gone through one bottle and part of the other. I made myself stop at one point at the top of a climb for about 15 seconds and yelled at myself to drink.

I did feel my energy drop just a hair before that point but managed to re energize quickly. Today I used my 24 hour mix from INFINIT. Can't tell you what my wonder mix is but lets just say that it worked amazing!!!

I knew I was getting closer to the last of the climbing, why? Because I saw the gravel road of the 5th line which means Dan ran out of ups, of course this section is an amazing downhill. One thing that I found I was doing way to much of was looking over my shoulder. Because of the wind there were constant creaks and pops. I had no idea how big a gap I had on 6th, I had spotted 4th a couple times but it's hard to gauge distances. We took a long ravine section that I know well and did the return on the other side. I knew I had at least 5 minutes on 6th. That still didn't stop me from looking back.

the course started to make it's way back to parts of the beginning loop. I'll admit that there were more than a few times in this section that I wondered if I made a wrong turn. It was the guy in the yellow jacket that helped keep me relieved, he looked honest, he won't send me the wrong way. Got back out on a long double track section. Hey I know this, hey look at the river. My socks and feet had just started to get warm when I went splashing through. Normally I will make a WEEEEEE sound as I do this. This time I was cursing Dan's name a little.

Still kept looking back, nobody. I road the 90 percent of the course alone. Coming into the final singletrack sections before the finish line we were treated to a fast run through the pine trees, I was smiling, I like pine trees. When I saw golf carts I knew I was at the finish. Rolled into the line smiling. 5th overall, 3rd in the under 40 division. That was sweet. The next thing that made me happy was that I still had lots of legs left. I know I said that I would have loved an easier gear. Honestly I was happy with everything I had. My Anthem was awesome.

Finally, this race really boosted my confidence on where my fitness for the 24 hour. Average heartrate was 164. My max was 183 and I know that was right near the beginning of the race. As for a comparison. 180 is my average for an Ontario Cup. I road a very controlled pace, I guess being by myself the whole time was the perfect solo training. I didn't fall prey to someones attacks and my weakness of a competitive attitude to chase them down., I road my race.

On a side note involving the Anthem. 4 inch travel up front, 4 inch travel in the rear. There were many times today that I was happy to have every inch of it. Oh and on a few downhill sections I used every inch. Including the huge drop off I took. It was last second, ok honestly I glanced away for half second and it was on me and there was no time to change my mind.

I have to give huge props to Dan, you did an amazing job with your course. This was what mountain biking should be. I'm really hoping Heather gives me the ok for the Mansfield Marathon. If it's even close to what you had today it will be amazing. If you missed the first one, you better be at the next, you don't know what you are missing.

A few pictures

Craig won the singlespeed division. Just even being brave enough to ride a singlespeed out there today was worth a prize, I liked my gears. All 27 of them.

Tanya won the Women's division. This was a course for her. Yes there were other's in both Craig and Tanya's division.

1st Tim Carlton
2nd Andrew Maemura
3rd ME!!
That was the scariest podium any of us have ever been on. Tim was a little hesitant climbing to the top shelf. He actually had fear in his eyes. I think being third was a good thing, not as far to fall. I think Dan is working on the solution for the next race.

Craig's snot filled nose. Had to put it up, don't ever give a video camera to Craig. At least there was nothing x rated on it when he gave it back.

Next up for me, a fun ride with the boys tomorrow. The Monday night something is a mid afternoon fun thing instead and this includes gears. I like gears.


Josh said...

Nice race Matt. Holy crap you're fast this year!!! (you're supposed to get slower with age)

Thanks for the Infinit sample. I'm going to give them a call and place an order - it'll be so nice getting calories from the bottle, and not having to mess with gels and salt pills.

Josh said...

p.s. Dan was right - the Garmin said about 7600 ft of climbing. That's insane.

The Vegan Vagabond said...

Great result!!
and thanks for the hospitality.

the original big ring said...

Thanks again Matt for letting us crash at your place. Great race result!