Monday, June 29, 2009

Visit PA 'Rassin' 9 Hour Solo Race Report

I did the 9 hour race. Its Monday and I am mostly alive and ok and able to type and recap how the day shook out.

The numbers don’t tell the story so we will save those for later and rely on these words and pictures to accomplish. I woke up at 5 am to eat, and jump in the car by 6 for the 2 hour ish drive to Marysville. Lauren and her sister Lindsay both tagging along for the long day ahead. By 9 am it was time to start. In typical endurance race fashion we had a Le Mans start which involved the always comical act of running in cycling attire around a short course to our parked bikes before setting out for our laps. In not so typical fashion, Howdie, who owns the farm we were racing at started us my shooting off his very large musket.

I came in the front 15 or so of the run and grabbed my bike and set off. It was confusing as the relay riders were grouped in with the soloists.

The relayers obviously turning out a faster pace, made pacing by relative comparison difficult. I tried to keep my heart rate as flat as I could in my endurance zones but it proved difficult on some of the steep pronounced climbs. My first lap was a bit faster than I would have liked and I realized my nutrition plan would have to be adjusted as the amount of calories I was burning was maybe 250 an hour over what I had estimated. I also was only taking 1 bottle along with me and quickly realized the second bottle cage I almost didn’t run was a good idea after all.
The course rocked. My exact favorite type of riding, twisty, rooty, flowing. My bike was working perfectly (for once) and my barely tested new brakes were amazing.
Lap 2 went pretty smoothly except for one minor bobble. I was coming down a descending right hand switchback when I saw a spectator walking the opposite direction on the trail, I spotted up the trail to see if I would be able to make it around her and continue back up the switchback, as I was looking up the trail I clicked my right (inside) foot on a log that jutted out into the apex on the turn and went sailing off the bike onto my shin and knee. Mike Kuhn was right behind me when it happened and I’m sure got a good view (laugh) of my attempt at flight.
Lap 3 went pretty well. I linked up with 3 or 4 like paced solo riders. We began telling Michael Jackson jokes while weaving in and out of the single track. Somewhere around 2.5 hours my legs started to feel the first signs of fatigue. I remember feeling a sense of worry as I suspected the already present burn and weakness would progress as time and miles ticked upward. This wasn’t a good sign and I started to eat at an increased rate and kept the pace as constant as I could. I think I took my one rest stop at the end of lap 3 (4 hours into the day) I stopped and ate a handful of fig newtons, and talked to L & L for 3 or 4 minutes. I also took note of all the weird spots that hurt, My feet, neck and back being 3, and stretched them as best I could.
Lap 4 was a weird one I was riding alone as my King of Pop loving friends stopped to eat as well. I was riding well until to took a 1 foot root drop a bit too aggressively and burped my front tire on the landing. I had a mini heart attack when I thought my day might be over so soon, but when I stopped and gassed it with my CO2 cartridge to reinflate. I had trouble gauging the tire pressure and set it a bit too soft. I got nervous and rode a little too fast for the next 20 minutes or so. The urge to pin it and revert back to the pace of shorter XC races was a tough one to overcome. I stopped on the next feed and used the floor pump to up the tire to the proper pressure and all was well again in the world.
By Lap 6 I was feeling amazing. Nothing hurt. I felt fueled up... (thanks to my feed zone rock stars)

...and constantly had to restrain myself from hammering. I knew I still had a while to go. I tried to stay as smooth as possible and was having fun. I think I picked up a place on this lap as another solo rider I let ride away on lap 2 had to stop.
Lap 7 I upped the pace. Being cognizant of the time I knew I would complete the 9th lap just under 9 hours, having the option to go back out for lap 10 if need be. I remember having a ridiculous amount of fun on this lap, I knew the course by heart now and could rip and clean every obstacle and technical section.
When I crossed the line for lap 8 I knew I was only going out for 1 more. I cut the solid food down and took a sugar bomb Enervite cheer pack. I was starting to feel iffy. At around 8:30 I knew I needed to finish up. I tapped out the last few climbs and struggled to keep focus on some of the technical bits. I rolled in at 8:52:54 and tossed a wheelie through the finish. The only problem was I didn’t know if I was done yet. I stopped 10 feet passed the finish line and sat on my bike waiting to see if any other solo riders were going out for another lap, as I would lose a placing if a rider completed more laps than me (even though I did 9 laps faster).

I waited for the clock to strike 9 hours and then I was home free. I dropped the bike and headed to the lake to clean off the 9 hours of dirt/mud/dust I had accumulated. I also had the best tasting Victory Prima Pils I have ever had.

4th place solo men 5th place combined with the single speeders
8:52:54. Lets give that the respect it deserves. Eight hours fifty two minutes and fifty four seconds.
79.7 miles of single track.
9 laps completed.
6550 calories burned.
150 Avg HR. 180 Max.

380 TSS points.
1 crash
1 burped (repairable) tire
15 packets of gel consumed
2 Honey Stinger Bars
1 banana
1 Sleeve of Fig Newtons.
2.5 gallons of water mixed with Accelerade drink.
2 very tired Barton sisters.

After waiting awhile for the podium presentation, we departed for Brewster, NY to make a quick stop at my parents before traveling all the way to Mechanicville, NY for my cousin Matthew’s graduation party. I was looking forward to the party not only because it was a time to see my family but also to corrupt the two WASP Barton children by introduction to large quantities of Italian food and intense games of bocce with my grandfather and aunts/uncles. I will blame my less than stellar bocce on my non Italian mother and the fact that I have no eye hand coordination. 9 hours cycling and 13 hours in the car spread across less than 48 hours.


Anonymous said...

Not enough mud.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for adding the glossary, I love it !

Sweet Renee