Ok, so now that I'm starting to actually have a little strength left in my arms and hands I figured I better get this written. Did the normal pre race running around and showed up early at Mom's place to hint that i wanted to leave earlier than I told them the day before. They are starting to know me way to well and were ready to go the moment I pulled in the driveway. Those over analyzing, planning type are also very predictable.
We did the typical race scenario in the car ride over while enjoying the heat. Another typical Ontario race day minus the snow and rain. This is in some cases the hardest of the races mentally because i had no idea who was going to be there until we lined up. I did my best to get my head into race mood. I made one mistake, I didn't play my normal warm up playlist. This will become a little bit of a factor around the midway point of the race. Half way warmed up, more trying to stay warm. Mom was great and staged my bike in the front row.
There was some concerns going into this race that the solo' s were going to start 5 minutes behind the teams. After some gentle asking nice and showing a few good points on why this was a bad idea it was back to the mass start and of course I wanted to be at the front. As I jumped on my bike the gentleman that i was expecting to be there and my big threat for the day somehow manipulated his bike right in front of me. I was some how now on the second row. The smack talk started between Logan and I. He came to the conclusion that he acts like some that is 10 years older than his current 22 year on this earth and I figured that I act like someone 20 years younger than my grandpa age of 37.
The gun went and like every race at Mansfield that dam ski hill hurts but it's a great way to split up the crowd. At the top I was in the pack of 30 ,content with the controlled start. I'm not a climber, first to admit it. For the next 11 km I worked my way through the pack, with my eyes on Logan. He would gap me then I would pull him in close enough to see him. It was to early in the race for me to burn of any matches but what I hoped I would do is force him to push harder than he wanted to. The next 4 laps were like that and when i saw him 20 feet up the start hill I called at him and sent him off like a rocket. Exactly what I wanted. It didn't take me to long to realize that this course had a lot of climbing. Sustained climbs I like but there were a few climbs that just down right hurt. I knew this course was going to take a toll on us.
I've never started to use my granny gear so early or if at all in an 8 hour and at the 4 hour mark I was hearing that click on one or two punchy climbs. My legs were burning already. I got into that work your strengths, control your loss of your weakness type pace and would back down in the hills a hair and hammer the single track and technical section. (my strengths)
So, history. Logan has never lost and 8 hour that he has entered and in most cases nobody has even been close to him. Well my plan was to change that, hopefully. Then things went of the tracks for a lap, that not having the right songs in my head played a toll and i found myself not attacking the course the same. I had a couple lame songs popping back into my brain and screwing with my rhythm. A lap or two later with extreme will power I managed to get my songs right and intensity back up. That little gap managed to give Logan about a 5 minute gap on me. Not good.
A couple Advil, a shot of Coke (not the really good stuff) and a couple repeated lyrics had my on a renewed energy kick and I started to take time off that gap at almost a minute a lap. Somewhere down to the 3 minute mark as we started into the last lap. The chances were slim now that unless someone decided that a Mafia hit was needed (anyone) that I wouldn't be catching 1st today. I didn't back down though, well not by choice. About 10 minutes into my last lap I could feel that wonderful feeling. My energy is going down quickly, I was starting to fight a bonk. Nice!!! I was not worried about 3rd had the gap. My concern was actually getting through the lap.
Because it was so cold I wasn't sweating much, because I use Infinit for the races which is strictly fluid I ran into a problem. 3/4 a bottle per lap with all the good calories but not disposing the fluids by way of sweat. Can we say full bladder!!! After one stop where I lost at least a minute standing on the side of the trail, yes that was me!! I wasn't the only one though caught with the same problem. Anyways, as the race came closer to the end I was chasing and didn't want to stop. Well with my bladder screaming I'm full I didn't drink much on that last lap. It showed. As I came into through the solo pit area I dropped my bike and raided the back of the car and found half a cliff bar which got me through that last 10 minutes. I'm not a nice person when I'm hungry, sorry to those I ignored but feel that this was a good thing because had I not found that bar I probably would have riped a leg of some innocent bystander and gnawed on the raw meat.
Crossed the line 2nd 7 minutes behind Logan and 2nd overall amongst all solo's. Lost almost 4 minutes on that last lap. Pretty happy with how things went, a couple minor nutrition flaws that have now been addressed. The music play list will never be altered again. Ever!!!! The stats, 14 laps 9000 feet of climbing, 7000 calories burned. One tired Matt.
A few interesting highlights included my dog coming up on the stage with me during the awards, anyone with photos of this please send it to me. Molly Monster the little social butterfly. I got a hug from Sean Ruppel, I think he tried to hump my leg. He is a little lonely with that broken right hand. I saw some very strange things on the trails on the first lap also. A bottle and cage which didn't really surprise me as this was the roughest, hilliest, most technically challenging 8 hour course that I can remember to date. Either bolts came loose or they thought that the cage added to much weight to the bike for climbing. I also saw a bike seat, a nice one at that, on the trail. How? Why? The violation that could happen just scares me.
Overall thoughts, I'm pretty happy with everything. I feel I can go a little faster though, it's still early in the season. Logan and I talked after the race and it looks like he will be at Hardwood Summer 8 hour. This could be interesting since I've done pretty good there in the past. Currently I'm just trying to make the body feel better, beer is starting to help. i can't feel anything.
I'll probably have more to add to this tomorrow. Right now I can barely feel my hands.