Monday, June 1, 2009

Iron Hill Race Report

I woke up Sunday morning with a scratchy throat and a runny nose. By no means the end of the world, I figured it was allergies or at worst the start of a head cold. Physically I felt ok, my legs were only a little torn up from yesterday's Fulton RR. I made the short drive to the race with Lauren and began to unpack and check things out. I had never been to Iron Hill Park before and was more than pleased with what I found... gone were the freakish rock gardens that looked like a stream bed had dried up, and here were the flowy twisty singletrack I have ridden so much in New York. I registered, got "PRO 0" marked on my calf
and dressed to go pre ride. 25 guys lined up in a field with an uphill 200 meter sprint before a bottleneck and the singletrack. From there we set out on 4, 5.2 miles laps with 2 significant climbs.
The start went pretty typical for me, I hut the woods about mid pack and fought for wheels and tried to stay with some of the strong riders I know. My heart rate was instantly pegged at over 195 and I soon knew we would settle down and I would be able to ride my own race. The course was almost entirely singletrack. From a going very fast and smiling standpoint, this was cool. From a trying to stay hydrated standpoint, it proved difficult. Never the less, I forced my self to inhale a bottle a lap and stay fueled up. Luckily Lauren was there to tend to the feed zone duties as always.
Lap 2 was nothing crazy, I tried to ride a smooth a pace as I could and keep everything upright. I was riding pretty well and keeping my lap times within 15 seconds of each other.
On lap 3 I knew the candle was burning at both ends. My legs were not responding to the surges I was ordering to make time back on some of the riders who where a bit more technically astute than I. On Laps 3 and 4 my strategy of "beat them with fitness" was running down. One rider from Human Zoon who had been chasing me for a while would catch be on the descents but I could manage to pull away pretty easily on the climbs. On the last climb on lap 3 he was right on me. Not a good sign. I slammed a Honey Stinger Gel and hoped I could beat the last 5 miles. I wanted to try to shake my chaser and get out of the woods as soon as I could so I began to surge. I would take a descent pull, recover as best I could then hit it again. I got a gap and rode to the line for 14th.
I was spent crossing the line. O the last climb .5 miles outside the finish I was locking up hard. My quads were literally refusing to fire. My neck felt like it was held up by pipe cleaners. My back had that awful tingling sensation you get when you have a fever. Clearly I had a cold and not allergies. Whatever the race is over, time to go recover. I tried to soft pedal around in an attempt to cool down but after about 30 seconds I found myself sitting on a bench drooling accelerade. It took me maybe a half hour to figure out what the hell was happening, I was truely shelled. Awesome course, I will be back.

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