Jun 13, 2008

Thats not the right direction-- Lewis Morris Challenge

I wanted to post this a while ago, but results were just released today.

June 1: Tboughts, MelB and I headed down to Morristown, NJ for the third stop on the H2H race calendar. Tboughts did the beginner race and I lined up for the sport race, which was 17 miles long. I haven't been training for mountain biking and really only have a half dozen hours on the mountain bike this year, but since I've been having trouble holding an all out, anaerobic effort, I thought there was no better way to get a workout than a long hard mountain bike race.

On the starting line, I was to the right of a guy wearing a Colvita-Sutter kit. Whenever you see someone like that at a race, you need to assume its just a fanboy who ponied up for a replica jersey and shorts, since the pro's rarely make an appearance at anything lacking an 'NRC' designation. Little did I know...

My age group was the second wave, singlespeeders started a minute ahead of us. '3...2...1...GO!' We were off. Someone burst through for the hole shot, but I was 4th wheel into the trail. The course was awesome. A good grinding climb to separate everyone at the beginning with some tricky roots and rocks to keep you honest and fast, rolling trail through the rest of the course. Almost no double track or open trail through the whole thing.

Going up the first climb, Colvita dude pulled into the front and I passed my way up to his wheel. He was killing it up the climb, but I was able to hang tough and I figured he'd have to let up sometime. I made it with him over the top and coasted down the first hill pretty easily. On the second climb we caught some singlespeeders and he had to let up a bit, but once we got to the top he was able to pass and poured it on. I got caught up passing and he had a gap. I tried to catch him on the next decent, but without his wheel as a carrot, I couldn't keep a high enough pace. Nevertheless I was feeling alright and kept chasing. I'd spin up the climbs and rocket down the descents. I was flying down the hills and no one could descend with me.

Coming out of the first lap some spectators told me there was only 20 seconds to Colvita boy and with 3rd place right on my wheel, I thought we might be able to catch him if he bonked or had a mechanical. Going into the first climb of the second lap, 3rd place passed me and I figured I'd let him take over pacing up the climb. Then something popped in me and I watched him pedal away. I couldn't chase anymore and I had to go my own speed and hope I could hold off the rest of the racers. 4th place caught me pretty quickly, but I was able to go back and forth with him the rest of the lap and thought I could get a top five and maybe catch a second wind for a top three.

Climbing up the beginning of the third and final lap, I started to really bonk hard and kept downshifting and downshifting until I realized my granny wasn't slow enough. Finally I got off my bike, took a big drink of water and watched a train of riders go by me. That was how it was for the rest of the lap, pedaling softly and getting off to let riders by or walk up hills. I couldn't ever go fast down the descents, my arms felt too weak to support me. In the end I dropped to 18th in my age group and who knows how far back overall.

I've never bonked that hard in that short a time before. Sure I've run out of gas before, but never so fast and so badly. The funny thing is everything seemed to be going fine. My blood sugars checked alright and didn't feel dehydrated or in need of food. I guess it just happens sometimes and I'll hope it makes me a little faster later on. All in all it was a good workout and I was really happy to be the last person to get dropped by Colvita boy. I'll try to get plenty of rest and maybe this won't happen in the future. I never figured out who Colvita boy was. You can't race expert if you don't buy a yearly license (sport and beginner can be raced on one day liscenses), so I guess he must have figured a day of racing wasn't worth $60. I think an expert license should come with a Cat 1, the same way a Cross cat 3 comes with a Pro or Cat 1 license.

*EDIT* I guess he was Ryan Bodge, all around fast guy on the Colvita Sutter U23 developement team.

Tboughts did really well in her first mountain bike race ever. She was the second place woman in her class and had the first place racer in her sights until her chain fell off and she lost a minute putting it back on. Maybe with a better front derailleur and a few more workouts, she can win her next one.

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