Same old thing, yet another long race. Got ready to do what I do best doing the same thing I do before a long race. Pot of coffee, computer, followed by a little stretching. Then this.
MMMM Banana pancakes that weigh 2 pounds. Yes it fattens me up for an hour or so but it's so worth it. Loaded the car up with two bikes, needed gear and the Molly Monster. I'm not sure who likes the long races more, me or her. The normal set up etc etc.
So the start, unfortunately this year the race was a little smaller than the past. Tons of racing happening in August and I guess people can only be in so many places at once. In the solo division there was a grand total of two in the men's side and the same in the women. Either way it's still long race and it's more about the time than the competition sometimes. So knowing that I was not actually racing I turned it into a very very long training ride.
First lap had me catching team riders pretty quickly even at a sane pace. Gave me that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that I could go faster if need be. The course, well if you have ever been to Mountainview you know that there are no steady smooth climbs here. Everything looks like a vertical wall, even the switchbacks that make it a hair bit easier, ok not really. First climb was up the ski hill switchback. Knowing that I was going to see this often I started spinning climbs early. Some great flowing switch back at the top of the hill lead us out to the farm field. It was a nice recovery but for some reason someone stuck this huge pile of dirt up there and we ended up climbing that also.
More flowing stuff, including a technical decent down the riverbed. Some good kill yourself if you're not paying attention type rocks. Had a couple laps where I shook my head back to focus. From there we went into this newly cut section. Right from the first lap it was into the 22, knew this would start to hurt later on. It's a tough off camber, grindy, rooty, turny trail that can suck the power out of your legs quickly. It's also at such a slow pace that it's a full on body strain trying to keep the bike vertical. More flow stuff followed by a few short punchy climbs before rolling into the timing tent. First lap was just under 30 minutes.
From there the next 4-5 hours these were the riders I kept imagining I was chasing.
I needed that driving carrot ahead of me. I was a bit lonely, I was still ahead of most of the teams and holding the same lap times, wasn't going to push to catch the faster of the teams and riders that I did catch were going to slow for me to chat with for very long. At the 4.5 hour mark I found Peter's wife on the course taking pictures of flower's with her friend. Maybe they had the better way of racing. There was a very staged picture taken that may or may not make it onto his website.
Kept motoring along and passed the 6 hour mark, I'd lapped all the solo's many times, hard to motivate yourself sometimes. Rode with one for a while and talked about long racing. He'll be making a 2nd attempt at a 24 hour solo coming up in two weeks. Gave him all the info I could on what I've tried, whats worked, what doesn't etc. Nice guy, hope he gets through it.
Coming up to 7 hours I actually got off the bike and sat down. This actually worked well because a few minutes later one of the teams came through to tag up and I went out for a lap with Brandon. Of course this was short lived when his bike broke after the first climb. Back on my own. Near the end of that lap Marc from Misfit caught up and passed me, jumped on the wheel and hammered out the rest of the lap with him and started the next one with Kim. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! I'm riding with people, I'm not the most social guy sometimes but I needed it today. Yet another rider came by and I rode with Dale for a bit. I opted to back off. Going anaerobic in the 7th hour was not necessary.
Then came the rain, very quickly. The coolness of it felt amazing, the slickness of the trails not so much. It did not take long for the trails to become very very slick. Of course I happened to be riding on my xcr dry tires which, well their dry tires. That grindy off camber rooty new trail, ya, lets just say that it was faster and safer to run/walk it than to ride it. Looked at the time, it was close to the 8 hour point of the race. I knew I would have to switch tires if I wanted to continue. This meant switching bikes. HMMM the other Anthem was ready to roll with mud's all in prep for rain. With an hour left did I really want to clean two bikes? Not really. Crossed the line, called it. Had a 6 lap lead over 2nd.
The main point of this race became training, minus the screwing around that I did with a couple social stops on the course late in the race, slowed shared laps etc etc I was running very consistent lap times the whole day. It was also a test to see where my body was at after the crash. I've been very twisted the last couple weeks. A couple hours in the twitchyness went away, legs felt strong all day. This morning besides being a little tired, the legs feel good. The hands are tired, lot's of death gripping and braking. Overall happy with how things went.
Pace was on track for 17 laps, the big break and quiting an hour early had me finish up with 14 laps, 6000 feet of climbing and an average heart rate of 154. Intensity was down from other 8 hours where it's usually in the mid to upper 160's. Today will be some damage control of the bike, BB was starting to squeak a little and began to annoy me.