Friday, February 05, 2010

Noquemanon 51km Report Part 2

(continued)
9:01 a.m. Some dude tripped in front of me and went down. Fortunately, I was able to jump over to the next track and not get too jammed up. The first couple of kilometers loop around the start area before ducking off into the woods. Soon after entering the woods, we came to an icy, steep descent. Most people (myself included) checked their speed with a little snowplow. A couple of yahoos apparently thought they were going to win the race right then and there however, and they went bombing down the hill only to crash at the bottom and cause a large pileup. Once again I was able to sneak through the carnage. Things began to string out a little at this point, and I was able to settle into a good pace.

10:00 a.m. An hour into the race I was still feeling pretty good. The terrain and trail were really pretty amazing. Conditions were nice and fast, and my kick was holding up really well. The first half of the race consisted mostly of steep uphills, a little rest along the top of a ridge, and then a really steep downhill. Just to change things up a little, there were a couple of lake crossings that required a little extra effort due to the wind and thin/non-existent track. I really felt pretty good heading into the halfway point. I was looking forward to the second half since on paper it appeared to be quite a bit easier. It appeared to have less climbing and a net loss of elevation (about 900 ft.).

11:21 a.m. Coming into the halfway point, my body began telling me that something not so good was happening. I was hungry, I got a little chilled. My arms were really starting to protest. I knew pretty shortly after crossing the 25 km mark that things were about to get ugly. And boy did they ever.

Noon I was trying to choke down a couple extra calories at the aid stations, but it was clear that the damage had been done. I was forced into survival mode. Survival mode really sucks. You're constantly getting passed by people. Every time you try to up the pace even a little, your body simply refuses to respond. And so went the last 15 km or so.

1:25 p.m. I exited the woods into downtown Marquette. At last the end is in sight. Only 2 km to go. Little did I realize at the time that those last 2 km would have the worst snow conditions of the day. The track was very thin where set at all, and every so often you'd come across a patch of dirt mixed in with the snow. If you're not paying close attention (I was barely coherent), those little patches of dirt can cause you to come to a screeching halt. Frustrating does not even come close to what I was feeling.

1:38 p.m. Finish line. I was cold, hungry, and not at all pleased. But I was done, and I didn't crash once. I made a beeline for the truck. I'd been dreaming about my turkey sandwich, sunchips, and coke for hours. I inhaled all of it before I even made a move to change my stanky a** clothes and boots.

It's easy to look back and see where I should have done things differently. I definitely should have eaten more. I could have easily gotten by with one bottle instead of the two I was carrying since the aid stations were so closely spaced out (every 7 km or so). Without a doubt, big note to self here, I should have conserved a little energy for the last half of the course. You'd think after figuring that out in the Ore to Shore (very similar elevation profile) I would have been able to transfer that knowledge to the snow. I didn't, and in the end I think that was my biggest mistake of the day. But it was good race, and I'll be back next winter for another go. In the meantime, the plan is the HTFU and get ready for the Birkie at the end of this month. Thanks for reading.

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