It was a long day would be an understatement, it was epic, it was tough, it was extremely destructive to the body. I'll get to the last comment shortly. So did the normal things going into the race, did the normal things the morning of, I will say that I'm not impressed at waking up that early in the morning though. Got to Mansfield with plenty of time for any last minute prep. Lot's of hey how you doings and how was your winter etc etc. Lined up and we were off. It took barely the length of the start loop and there was already a gap. The funny thing is that most of the riders in the lead pack were the 100 mile racers, there were two lengths of races happening at the same time and it seemed that the shorter course players were taking it easy. Did they know something that we didn't'????
The gap opened up quickly, the funny thing was the pace wasn't all that killer with a couple of us swapping the lead. I should have figured out it was going to be one of those days when in the first 5 km we were off our bikes at least 3 times for hike a bikes. I don't think you could actually ride down these hills and we had to get up them. I'll be honest, I don't like walking, I don't like getting off my bike, it's stupid. Subtle answer??? Things felt great and there were a few random attacks, I played calm and just let them battle out a bit, turns out there was a 50 miler in the mix and was trying to ag us on. I just settled in to my pace. It's a long race, not going to win it before the first check point. This first feed zone did seem to take for ever to get to. The body felt ok from this point, currently in 3rd overall.
Had a little rear suspension problem during this next stage but managed to solve it with the help of a co2 pump, don't ask, I know it was probable y not a recommendation of the manufacture but it worked. The rest of the first half of the race was pretty uneventful, some great single track, still a few hike a bike sections, things were good. They had called for rain, it lasted about 30 minutes, then the sun broke and the temperature rose. This is when things started to go a little weird. I started to wonder why my legs were not liking the hills, more than normal. Some of that inner dialogue started to come on. Of course I kept shutting it off. I'd hit some single track and just tell myself things are fine. Crossed the line for the first lap and that was the last of the good times. I should have been smart and pulled the plug, I didn't.
Heading out for the next 50 it took very little for me to start feeling body issues. Some light cramping but nothing that didn't seem to go away, started to feel the horsepower disappear, of course then again I'd hit some trail that I could just power along, I'd shut my mind off from what I was thinking. This is the problem with endurance racing, you get used to suffering, you develop a stupidly high threshold of pain and you just keep pushing though. As I rolled into feed zone 5 Shannon was there again to top up my bottles and give me an update. At this point I'd slipped back a spot in the overall but not by that much. As I headed off this was the end of anything feeling good. It only took a few minutes into this stage before my body began to get mad at me at a level that I couldn't shut off. The sun intensified, the heat went through the roof and I started to get very very slow. So slow that I actually had to get off the bike and push up a few hills that were easily ride able. That didn't stress me out, it was the fact that I started to scare myself on the descents. Not trying to sound cocky but I can descend with the fastest with no problems, I was finding every bad line it seems. When I finally road into Feed 6 I got off the bike and laid down. Again Shannon was there taking care of me.
Completely soaked my body the core started to drop, was feeling better, still should of be smart and called it, it crossed my mind. Of course my stubborn mentality said get back on the bike. Unfortunately the later one. I left with a bottle of water to spray myself with along with my normal goodies. I started to feel better again and made the last feed in not bad shape. Of course at this point my perspective of good and bad were so screwed up. I'd actually made myself a deal, if someone in the same division caught me I'd pull the plug. Unfortunately that didn't' happen, as I chilled at the feed Daneille Musto, came by. That's right I got passed by a girl, I didn't care, she was in a different division and that didn't match the deal I made. Shit, keep motoring on, 20 km to go. I knew that this was a great fun section and that was also part of the reason I motored on. There was good single track, my head was back in check for descending, I just had very little power.
I walked hills with no shame in doing it, I stopped a few times and soaked my head, the km disappeared. Every once in a while I saw an optional bail out sign, I was so close, so close to bailing, so close to finishing. Again the stubborn side kicked in, I knew the hills were almost done, I can finish this. A short time later I crossed the line, done, finally. I'd slowed dramatically from the first lap, over an hour slower on the second lap. I didn't care. I was done.
It was over 30 minutes before the next rider came in. There were still lots out on the course. It was now a waiting game for awards. This is when things went bad. I felt ok for a bit, then my body started to get very very made at me. Started to throw up, started to get the shivers etc. I knew it was heat stroke, It was a short time later that the decision was made to go to the hospital, it was only a few minutes after that that an ambulance was called. An hour later I was plugged into IV and getting blood work done. All the time Shannon was there being the most amazing support anyone could ask for. In between my naps at the hospital a promise was made to her that I won't let myself put my body in this state ever again. I was extremely dehydrated, my numbers were way out of whack and my heart rate was just a little irratic. A few hours later things returned to normal and we were home bound.
So the results of the day, body, screwed. top 5 overall and either 1st or 2nd in the under 40 division. IT was a long hard day, it was fun in some cases, not in others. I'm glad Shannon was there to help me get through this. Let's just say the 24 hour tag will be a cake walk compared to this. Would I do a 100 miler again, of course I will, it's what I do. I'm pretty trashed still this morning so I'll leave the comical side of the race for tomorrow.