(Sums up how it went)
First race of my mountain bike season and I wanted to stick close to home so what better place to do it than rip up some singletrack in the WORS Crystal Lake Classic? This would be the first time in about 2 years I had the stomach to line up in the elite field in a WORS race like this. I wasn't alone though. Jesse Lalonde also made his return except he did it better, and on a fully rigid singlespeed in which he would cross the line in 3rd where as I came in 51st.
I wasn't sure about my fitness going into this race. I've put in well over 20 hours more compared to this time last year, but the catch here is that I am running a lot more this mainly cause of coaching a great group of long distance track kids at the local high school. In addition to that I am really trying to play around with my heart rate and see if an experiment will shake out like I think it will. Short of it is, I put in more time than last season, but a lot of it is running yet still a 65/35 split in favor of the bike.
Anyway, I get to Rhinelander on Saturday and immediately unload the bike and hit the course. I put down and easy lap at around 42 minutes which I thought was really low key didn't feel too labored except when I wanted to open up the lungs, but that's where it all ended, I just didn't realize it yet.
The week leading up to the race I experienced very little rest time. I found, while looking back, that I really set myself up to train right through it. Monday was a long hard ride up to Hazelhurst with really some good motivation to keep it about 19.5mph by my lonesome on the cross bike and did just that, but wait there's more. Monday night I get to track practice and run a good 5 miles. Tuesday I did take a day off of riding but headed up to Minocqua for the GNC Meet there I did a lot of standing for long periods of time, running around getting time splits and whatever else that needed to be handled so that the kids could do what they do best. Wednesday it was back at it again except this time I had no practice that night so I did 2x20min efforts at atp which ended up being 172bpm for number 1 and 178 for number 2...ouch. Thursday was an ouch as well with a hard ride into practice followed by a hard mile effort followed by 600m @ 800m goal pace with a mile warm up and cool down plus another hard ride home. Friday was no different except this time I (dare I say it) drove into practice in which we did 200m intervals after a 1 mile warm up and a cool down when done. Saturday was the pre ride and then comes Sunday.
A friend of mine who was the former boys head track coach and I were discussing the fat tire illness we both shared and all of the expert knowledge we've gained since coming down with this bug called mountain biking. We equally agreed that we are now educated and in turn educators in the field of meteorology. I swear I must have checked the weather about 25 times before driving over there Sunday morning and again when the rain showers I predicted didn't show up and/or were tardy to the party. All looked good and I thought the gods may have spared us after the collective pleas to not have an Iola moment again this week, at this point we would be laughed upon by mother nature herself....oh how funny that broad can be.
I get to the start after my warm up, I was concerned about the concrete that didn't want to seem to leave my legs, but knew full well that there have been times where the body plays tricks on you and shows you that there is much more life in those legs than one would think. This was just not one of those days. I actually got off the line quick (thanks cyclocross practice), I was ahead of a few people I am not used to seeing, but this wouldn't last long. My heart rate was blowing up 1 beep, 2 beeps, wait....3 beeps, at that point I know I am above 180 and there it stayed and when the dust settled before the first climb and disappeared, so did I....off the back. I felt heavy, had a hard time taking deep breaths, but tried so hard to chase on, but just didn't have squat on any climb so I lost a ton of time, I mean I should have gotten off and ran every one cause I know it would have been faster just nothing there. It wouldn't get better, however, as I started on round 2 I was well off the pace and it didn't help that it started to poor down rain and hail. I used the Maxxis Ignitors and wow did they work. I couldn't believe how well they gripped this watery, sandy, mud like substance, but the chain suck I wasn't too thrilled with. It forced me out of my comfort zone and happy cadence that I thought would shake my legs loose so that I can stop riding like a wal-tard, since, now all I was left with was my big ring (I had it in the dog, for those fluent in 24 Solo) I actually started riding a little better legs started coming alive a little bit and way too late to make a difference during round 3, round 4 dumped more water on us and at this point it became a question of do I make this a workout and just see if I can put in a couple of decent efforts or do I save the bike???? Well I figured the sand already did it's damage so I pushed on and got the finish. Not a W, but I didn't give up and refused to let a little poor planning and poor weather ruin my day.
Post race bike repair turned out to be a non issue, cleaned up really nice nothing to replace. Score the 5th round and that score card to me.
So the judges scored the bout in favor of.....ME
Round 1: Me - Good start not a terrible lap time.
Round 2: Crystal Lake Classic
Round 3: Crystal Lake Classic
Round 4: Me - Character Builder for sure pushed through it and got Metal!
Round 5: Me - No physical damage to me or the bike....big plus.
Training through this race was not on purpose, but a good learning experience. See ya at the Big Ring Classic in Wausau.
Thanks to everybody that is supporting my adventure this year. TwinSix for allowing me to Metal before I went mental, GoPro in which one day i'll live stream this stuff when they release their wifi backpack, Infinit Nutrition for not being able to have the excuse that my nutrition is the reason I was slow Sunday, Sprocketz Bike Shop for selling Niners that handle the mud and rough terrain, Hayes Bicycle Group for the flawless prime pros....dude!!!!! they are awesome. Rudy Project muddy conditions new lenses no scratches just the way I like it, I even found a pair on the trail and being understanding of their value and cool factor I made sure they found their way to their owner who I actually knew....karma should be showing up at the big ring.....I hope.
Good Night Suckas!