Archive for March, 2010

This past weekend

March 31, 2010

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My Road to Xterra

March 8, 2010

DORBA Frozen Endurance Race- Big Cedar 3-06-2010

03-06-2010: Today is the first time I have attempted an endurance race solo. I have done several team relay events, 12 and 24 hour, but not ever a solo event. We started out the day with 55 degree temps and no clouds! Considering we have had about 3 straight months of rain, snow, cold, and just plain miserable bike riding… and not to mention no trails open in the metroplex for nearly a month. It was going to be a gorgeous day! We started the race at the bottom of a huge hill. It was a pseudo lemans start, as they had us drop our bikes and then congregate at the bottom of the hill. They made the pre-race announcements followed by our National Anthem then said GO! Everyone ran to their bikes and headed up the hill. I was a bit nervous, but not as much as I usually was for bike races! I think it helped that I had a calm crew, and was able to chat with some friends before the race. As per directed by my coach, I had in mind that this was just a long training day and that I was not to kill myself out there. So I took it easy up the hill trying to conserve my energy since I still had 5 hours and 59 minutes left to race! There were several bottlenecks in the first lap. One was right before a huge dip with a bridge at the bottom and we had to wait about 3-4 minutes in line to be able to do it! Behind me I kept hearing the guy that started the race with his megaphone cheering everyone on in his surfer/mountain biker speak. It was nice to have a bit of a giggle to calm the nerves while on my first lap. I even had the chance to chat with him for a mile or two talking about my quest for Xterra Worlds. I apparently was the first one up the hill because I was quickly passed by super fast biker girl Bonnie. I was thinking she was in front of me, but found out that her chain fell off at the start. Then cutie Charity passed me. I knew I was probably in about third place at that point. I didn’t know if there was anyone that had gotten off before I did. Maybe Pam Jackson. I’ve never raced against her, but I hear she’s fast!

At this point I was feeling good… and pretty relaxed. This was also the first time I had ever ridden the trail, and so far it was greatness! A few climbs, some fun dips., some killer switchbacks that were super tacky from all the rain. The last portion they had warned us was pretty muddy, and they were not kidding! My tires now had a good inch of mud on them! We came out on the road that we started on… oh boy.. more climbing. I came through on the first lap in 55 minutes. That gave me a pretty good gauge on how many laps I could get in for the day.  I decided to keep going through the pit area without stopping so that I could maybe keep my lead on Charity as she stopped at the road to knock all the mud off her bike. She came up on me pretty quick though, so we had a chance to chat for a couple of miles. She passed me with her striped knee socks making me laugh. I knew that it was going to be a long day of racing and I didn’t put up a fight at this point. The rest of lap 2 was fairly uneventful. I just took things easy and enjoyed being on my mountain bike for the first time in a month! I was also on my first ride with my new Geax AKA tires which proved themselves to be very trail worthy through the dry dirt and all the mud. I didn’t slip on ANYTHING! Felt like the tires were Velcro on the trail! I came into the pit area after about a 45 minute lap time and replaced my bottle. I saw Charity at her pit area eating a banana so I only stopped for a split second and got back on the trail. I was feeling really good on lap 3. I was having fun… singing to the tunes on my ipod, feeling a bit humbled when I was lapped by the first place guy. It just amazes me that someone can ride THAT fast! As he blazed past me I gave him a word of encouragement. I will say that all the guys that passed me on this race were very courteous. I commend them! I also tried my best to make sure they knew that I was aware they were behind me and that as soon as there was an open space, I would let them pass.. Almost all of them were very chill about it. I think that might be the difference with endurance races and mountain bike races. I finished lap 3  in just under 45 minutes. I only stopped to grab a pbj sandwich (pre-made courtesy of uncrustables!) and headed back out on the trail for lap 4. Which I was very glad I did because about 2 miles into the trail I hear a pop and ding from my bike… then no power. Uh.. did I drop my chain.. uh.. no… I looked back and I had no chain. It was laying on the trail! Are you KIDDING me? Now, I will say that I’ve been pretty lucky in my past racing days. I’ve never really had a serious mechanical issue or even a flat. So I figured that it was probably time. Oh wait… I forgot my chain tool in my racing bin at the pit area. Ugh…. What to do now? I see a guy coming up, and decide to just ask for help. Lucky for me… he had a chain tool! And was willing to help out. I know how to fix a chain, but was being slightly retarded as my bike was upside down. I just could not seem to figure it out and was wasting precious time. I knew Charity was right on my tail. So we turned my bike over and he held it up while I threaded the chain and finally got it fixed. Voila! Done. THANK YOU SAM! So back on the trail, but still a little shaken up by the stall. I look back and see the silly striped socks and knew I had gotten away without her passing me! Whoooooo! Relief. Time to haul some serious butt. We did not have to do the muddy section on this lap, so I was able to get back to the pit area in about an hour. And this was where I made a mistake. Jason, my shop mechanic, asked me if I wanted him to put a new chain on my bike. Nah… I think it’ll be fine. Uh…. For future reference, if your chain breaks once.. it’ll likely break again. So I was about 3 miles into the trail and POP again. A few curse words later…. I’m back on the side of the trail with my chain tool that I remembered to grab at my last pit. Just as I was finishing I looked to see my friend Fabiano followed by Bonnie. Ugh…. I’m getting LAPPED! I was really hoping NOT to get lapped by speedy Bonnie, but I guess considering I had now TWO mechanicals, I couldn’t feel too bad about it. So, to finish the trail I’m going to have to be really careful not to put too much torque on my chain. This was a bit tricky when this trail had a lot of climbing in the last few miles. I was able to keep it going until about ¼ of a mile from the finish. Heard that dreaded PING again and Ugh. Pushed my bike up and off the trail. Got my chain tool out, and realized that I was only about a ¼ mile from the finish… so it would be faster to just run it in to my mechanic to throw on a new chain. PERFECT. I can run. I got this. I made it in as Charity passes me. DANG. Ok… just breathe. Jason put on a new chain with record speed, while I stripped off my base layers and refilled my water. I grabbed a few bites of banana and a pbj, grabbed my bike and I was off again. I was on a mission now. I have no idea if Charity took a break or not, but I was determined to catch her if she was ahead of me. I felt good, but my legs felt a little tired. I was on lap 6. Finally after trying to get up a little hill and was struggling getting my pedals to go around, I realized that I was in the big ring. Nice! No wonder! DUH. Ok.. now in the middle ring.. I’m feeling good.. and hauling some butt. My new chain was a little noisy, but it kept my pedals going and that’s all I cared about. When I was at my last pit, Jason said that it looked like I was 3rd. Ok… I can handle that. But would really like to try and get 2nd… so let’s kick it up. I was really surprised that I still had so much GO! I was 4 hours and 30 minutes into this 6 hour race. In my head I was figuring that if I can kick it up.. I just might have a chance to do 3 more laps… but I’m going to have to get in two laps within that hour and a half. That was going to be a bit tough! Just keep PEDALING! I made good time on my sixth lap. Right at 45 minutes. Came into my pit and let Amy (my crew bitch) know that I REALLY wanted a barbeque sandwich when I came in… so in 45 minutes. I was thinking that there was no way I could make it in time to go out for two more at this point. I knew it would be close! So, I headed back out for lap 7. I was still feeling pretty good. I knew my legs had slowed a bit, but I was not giving up yet. I gave it all I had. And was still having fun! As I’m climbing the last set of switchbacks in the last mile of the course, I realize that I’m going to miss the cut off by about a minute. Ugh…. Stoooooopid chain. I try my best to kick it up… but to no avail. I finished at 6:01. Ok.. so 7 laps in 6:01. Not too bad considering I had THREE chain breaks. I was pretty proud of that. I figured that I was in either 2nd or 3rd place at this point. I had not been passed by any of the other girls. And now it’s time to rest. Amy brings me a tasty barbecue sandwich… oh my … that’s some tasty food! After eating nothing but uncrustables, gel packs, luna moons, and bananas…. That greasy tasty barbecue was perfection! After eating, getting out of those shorts (ewwwww) and sitting for a moment, the anticipation got the best of me. I headed over to the results table to see how I finished. Holy moly… I did get 2nd!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I knew Bonnie took home 1st place. She is amazingly fast! I was very pleased with my race. I felt good and I had fun! I went to bed with a smile on my face for sure. It was a great day! Thanks to all the organizers of the race, the church for letting us crazy mountain bikers come and ride on their land, Charity and Bonnie for pushing me to go faster and longer than I ever have on my bike (and still have fun doing it), my crew: Amy who did a great job making sure I was hydrated and fed during the race and Jason who made sure my bike was in good working order! Oh.. And Sam for loaning me your chain tool on the trail on lap 4,  I would have been walking for a long time if it had not been for you! Thanks EVERYONE!!!!!

Here is a great posting about the Big Cedar race by one of our members.