Monday, June 22, 2009

LBJ 110 Race Report

Lap 1: 2 hours 14 minutes. I felt about as good as can be expected going into the first lap. It's hard to get too amped up when your alarm went off at a quarter to five in the a.m., and you're getting ready to race 100 miles of singletrack. But at the same time your legs feel good, and so you want to put the hammer down right out of the gate. I've made that mistake before, and I was determined to reign in the pace for a nice easy first lap. After the initial big hike-a-bike climb, I settled into a nice pace behind someone in a red Specialized kit. I rode behind him with about half a dozen other guys for most of the first lap. It worked out perfectly because his speed was just a hair below what would be my normal race pace. Things were rolling along well until he pulled off at the last aid station. This left me at the front of the train; and while I tried to keep a lid on the pace, I felt my heart rate creeping up from time to time. I just had to keep reminding myself that it was early in the day, and it would be downright to stupid to ramp up the pace. Rolling into the pits after Lap 1 I was feeling good, and I only stopped long enough to change out my bottles and head back out.

Lap 2: 2 hours 19 minutes. The second lap of the day went much the same as the first except that I was the one leading out for most of the lap. There were a group of 8 or 9 riders right behind me; and whenever I asked if anyone wanted to come around, the response was always "no we're good". I know that drafting doesn't really play a roll when racing on the singletrack, but it was a little unnerving psychologically to feel as though I was pulling them around the course. So I put in a little attack before the last aid station and rode alone for the remainder of the lap.

Lap 3: 2 hours 35 minutes. This was my slowest lap of the day, and it was also the toughest (both mentally and physically). The climbs in the beginning seemed unbearably long, and near the halfway point my legs started cramping up just a tad. I stopped and popped a couple of Endurolytes with an Enervit chaser. I stopped at the aid station for the first time of the day and dumped a couple cups of ice water over my head before finishing up the lap.

Lap 4: 2 hours 33 minutes. Once I had the third lap wrapped up and it looked a sub 10 hour finishing time was well within the realm of possibilities, my outlook on the day improved dramatically. Each time I went up a long climb, I knew that was the last time I'd have to do it (this year). And I felt better than can be expected for most of the lap. I steadily passed and lapped riders that were in far worse shape than myself, and that only improved my mood and pace. I stopped again at the aid station for the cold water over the head routine and a small cup of ice cold flat coke. After that, my body was pretty much on auto pilot until the finish. I knew my time going to into the home stretch from my GPS, but it was still a relief to round that last corner into the finishing stretch and seeing the clock just turning over the 9:40 mark. I crossed a minute later and immediately handed over the bike to Sarah before collapsing into a chair in our pit. I didn't realize how hot it had gotten until it was over (85 degrees in the shade). But it was over. 100 miles of singletrack in 9 hours 41 minutes. When I downloaded the data back at the cabin, I realized I'd only stopped moving for seven minutes the whole day.

In conclusion: I'd like to first thank Sarah for doing such a good job setting up the pit and keeping me fueled and motivated throughout the day. Your help let's me concentrate all of my energy on riding my bike, and it always makes a big difference. Hugh had a great ride, finishing in 8:58. Great job. All in all, this was one of the better races I've had. Toeing the line for these 100 milers is always a bit intimidating. So many things can happen that are beyond your control, whether it's physical, mental, or mechanical. This year I had a plan. I had a slow build up this spring, and I was very diligent in getting in my long rides every week. In the end everything came together. Thanks for reading.

P.S. WNR this week @ the Pleasantview Township Hall.