Wednesday, May 8, 2013

2013 NE Rapha Gentleman's Race

Question: How long does it take a person to forget how bad a 9 hour, 138 mile ride/race/deathmarch with 7 hours spent in total back spasm?
Answer: 23 months. 

In 2011 I was privileged enough to be part of Lehigh Valley edition of the RGR. It was beyond hard. 2 hours of beyond steep climbs, followed by 4 trips over Hawk Mt, ending with a zig zag of choppy dirt roads on the way home. We were pushed to the limits mentally and physically but finished it off. 9/20 teams were able to complete it.

When I sent the email to my team proposing we try it again in 2013, I hit send with a bit of trepidation. Is this worth it? We applied, we got a spot... this was happening again. We knew the course would be in George Washington's playground. Everything I know about GW I learned from this video (probably NSFW... unless your work is awesome). I also knew the top secret donut stop.

Myles, Chris, Craig, Steve, Kyle, and I were selected to represent Ciclismo. The way RGR starts, teams are ordered by slowest to fastest, separated by a few minute stagger. We were seeded last to start. This is obviously not ideal. I don't know what I did wrong. Here is what I wrote to the race director:
"Craig Lebair: Cat 2 road, Elite MTB and CX. Member of the "Try not to get lapped by JPow Club" in cx.
Kyle Centrella: Cat 2 Road, Cat 1 Mtb. Cat 2 CX.
Chris Pagoda: Climbs Mountains (Denali) Doesn't race much anymore but strong.
Steve Ordons: Elite MTB and CX. J Pow has yet to lap him.
Myles Lund: Young and newer to cycling, trying to be a lawyer. Strong. 
Mike Festa: Cat 2 road, Elite MTB, Elite CX. JPow lapped me once, but never again. "
I guess used the word "elite" too much and forgot to mention we all go to offices on Mondays hoping no one notices we are half asleep from our attempts to win $18 for 25th in a UCI race. 

8:45 am we set off. We quickly met up with some teams on the road. We quickly realized only 1 of the 3 Garmins we had with the course loaded on it was working correctly... and it happened to be on my bike. This meant I got to yell out the 150 turns we would have to make. I also spent a lot of time staring at the little device on my stem. 

How could we get lost?

Photo Anthony S
My recollection is all a bit fuzzy. Somewhere we had to hike through a stream. Then we climbed a hill that had us at 40 rpm for a while. We had plenty of dirt. We got filmed by the film crew a bunch. We had to hike through the woods and another stream to go around a out bridge. We got bagels. The top secret donut stop was out of donuts.
Abigail Thomas Photography

At around mile 80, Kyle's 2003 Dura Ace shifter tired to eat its own cable. We fixed it in maybe the best spot ever, a quickie mark in front of a hardware store, next to a bike shop. Around 4.5 hours I ran a lil low on the old blood sugar and things went dark. I demolished 2 Honey Stinger gels and a waffle and got it moving again with my normal level of hyper. I hit every pot hole on River Rd during this period. 
Fixing some cables at the quickie mart.

Craig and I probably making jokes or singing 90's pop songs. Abigail Thomas Photography
It may sound trite, but the rest wasn't that bad. Of course it was difficult though. We found good company in the Bicycling Magazine team. it turns out the one and only Bike Snob was among the group, and we didnt even realize it.

Abigail Thomas Photography

The course ended with a trip through Sourland Mountain, and a big climb that turned to dirt just in time for the descent. Arguably the worst dirt descent in the race, long, full of washboards. It was tricky with tired eyes and bodies. The course failed in its one last attempt to foul us, and we were rewarded with smooth sailing on valley roads back to the start/finish. Basically the opposite of 2011. In the end, smiles were abundant, beer was consumed, and 7 medium pizzas were consumed by our team alone. 

We were 4th out of 26 teams. Time outside was 8 hours, 14 minutes. We spent about 7 hours 40 minutes of that moving. 

1/2 Serious

Not so serious. Abigail Thomas Photography

Never had to even use the paper cue sheet.
Strava file.
Training peaks SRM data.
130 miles. 7:43:32 moving. 5038kj. 418 tss. 

Game Notes:

Myles wore bright green pants and Nantucket red shorts.
Kyle has informed me his shifter is from 2009 not 2003.
I wheelied a few times. 
The Dunking Donuts guy rang me up wrong, only charging me 13 bucks for 10 waters and 6 bagels. 
Song list: Spice Girls. All of us sang it. 5 of them, six of us. Same amount of talent.
Times we cursed course designer Jed K: Too many to count.
Flats: 0.

Up next... more bikes... a day at the MASS Iron Hill Endurance Race 

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