Monday, June 11, 2007
WEMS JOHN MUIR 6 HR Race
Another weekend of camping, sangria and racing. And it was good.
Jen and I went up to Wisconsin to proceed with the master plan and get into some longer racing. I raced the 6 hr solo and she raced on a 4 person team with Anne, Rex Kwon Do and a dude named Dave that Anne knew from working a Trek. Both Anne and Dave are WI natives eat cheese like rats and talk funny, in a Milwaukee sort of way.
We got up there on Friday afternoon and set up camp at the Whitewater West #75. Our car camping has become competitive. Matt and Liz James went deep by registering at REI for their wedding and got the instant mack-daddy set up and Jen and I are right there with them after making some key purchases over the last couple years. We continue to awe Rex and Anne, this time with Tiki Torches and a brand new queen size air mattress that inflates in 45 seconds. So after we got squared away we headed up to the Emma Carlin trail system to get a little ride in and stretch our legs. The trails in the Southern Kettle Moraine Region are legendary. All the trails are marked, one way and only kept open if the conditions are ideal which keeps them primo. 1.5 hr spin and I was feeling better than good. Oh yeah, getting squared away also included parting with some serious greenbacks for camping passes, parking passes, and trail passes. WI keeps their state green with green.
Sat morning and it's go time. The 12 hr race starts and 8 am and ends at 8 pm and my race was from 1-7pm. Perfect time to get the tent set up, check the bike, get Jens stuff ready, mix my drinks and get some calories in. There were about 250 entrants I would guess and a bunch of easy up tents in a row, just like the big leagues. So the mornings going well and I am getting in the zone and not having to rush at all. My loop was about a 25 minute race pace lap so around 11:30 i start to creme up the chamois and get ready to check out the course. I found the race director, Ken from team Cyclopath, and asked him about the start of my race and he kept responding in short like I was bothering him. Screw those out of town guys they should know this shit like the locals! So it's before 12 and I head out to pre-ride my loop, at least what I thought it was from Kens description "everyone starts the same way." He didn't mention anything about the two completely different trails (that I had no way of pre-riding the day before because they were closed) that split off right after the start. Thanks Ken.
Sweet, sweet singletrack. All one way and with amazing flow. But why is it taking me so long? I can't turn around because racers were coming through the tight singletrack in Jedi mode and I start to get nervous...12:30 and I'm stressing when I come along a bike patrol and he tells me I'm screwed unless I swim upstream. Swimming upstream, racers coming downhill, silent on the hard-pack single track screaming at me. 12:45 pm my start sprint faster and dismount to peak around the turns. I pop out of the woods and see two course marshals standing next to a huge sign that reads 12 HR LEFT - 3 & 6 HR TO THE RIGHT which was not there before. I sprint back to the line, check in with the scorekeepers at ***1:08 pm***, grab a bottle and take off....
Towards the end of lap one I start to catch some pack fodder. Since I had no idea how many people I was racing against I ask how far from the front they think they are. "Way back" was the common response. Two laps of almost Expert Race pace with some occasional rest while waiting to pass...
1.5 hrs in and I start to lose a bunch of time sitting on wheels waiting to pass... 2 Hrs in and more of the same and my legs are feeling the effects of the heavy duty early efforts. I get pissed considering how much less energy I would have expended had I had the hole shot or been in the top 5 as usual... 3 hrs in and I realize I am clawing my way up and am feeling much better after a water hand up from Jen. The top secret mega mix was working and I was recovering from the start and the people were thinning out quite a bit. I was settling in to a very steady 23.5 -24 minute pace and it seemed like people were tired enough at this point to be willing to get out of my way as I flossed by... Right around 3.5 hrs and I get the bad news 7 th place, 17 minutes off the leader.... Then it happened. I passed this one guy towards the 4 hr mark and asked him where he thought he was. He said "pretty close to the front, maybe 3rd" I sat on his wheel for a little while, watched him standing up and struggling on the small climbs and then dropped him... The next lap I came up on a guy in red and white and asked him how he was doing. I could tell he was hurting . He told me he was in second. I dropped him on the hill after the Emma Carlin connector trail (I only know that b/c we rode it the next day) and was really surprised that he didn't even respond... At this point in the race I was really starting to feel good- optimistic and the legs were good. Jen and the crew had no idea I was in second and the time off the sheet told me I wasn't and was WAYYY back but I figured the sheets hadn't been updated recently and kept on. I was dying for some chamois creme but didn't want to stop. It was really getting to my head that I might lose this race by less than the time I missed at the start and getting pissed. I rode with aggression... I came though at around 4:50 and realized I was going to be able to squeeze in a couple more laps when it occurred to me that I didn't know the format; do I race up till 6 hrs or is it like our local series where if you come though up to 5:59 you get to go out for your next lap??? The longer the better for me, but the bad news came on my second to last lap.... You only get scored on what you finish before 6 hrs.
My last lap was pure Jedi flossing. I had been dropping to the middle ring for must of the climbs (if you can even call them that) but this lap I just churned the big ring thinking in the back of my head that just maybe.... a flat, bonk, he doesn't go out for the last lap... But no dice. I didn't catch the ghost rider I had been chasing all day. My last lap was 23:08. My first lap was 21 (on my Garmin) including all the time spent passing... I was pretty much dialed for this race and had to settle for 1st loser with a sweet medal to show.
Condensed Recap for the rambling impaired:
*I started 8 minutes behind a 30 person field.
*I passed 29 of the 30 people
*I rode for a full hour before a 6 hr race...half of which was at race pace.
*I consumed 2300 calories, no solids.
*I lost by less than 7 minutes.
*I spent over $350, I won a medal.
ALL THE REST
Jen did really great and turned out some pretty fast lap times. In an official sangria induced announcement around the campfire that night I forced her into agreeing to do the Burning 12 hr solo this year. Whether she remembers is another thing.
Sun we rode the Emma Carlin connector trail. The first 35 minutes was good. The rest was a death march for me. Jen was kept dropping me and smiling. We ended up riding for 2 hrs and my avg hr was 96 bpm. Not so good when your body doesn't want to respond.... Resting as we speak.
***the sangria jug was not emptied on this trip. Missed my little buddy Emilie and Mike, even though it was nice not to have to listen to him all weekend. Still trying to talk Emilie into her true calling. Sangria and mountain bikes.
Keep your ear to the grindstone peeps, you're suspect!