Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cohutta 100 Miler

Yesterday was the highlights, so I guess it's time for a little more detail.

After my super secret breakfast and pre race rep I rolled down to the starting line just in time to hear all the call ups. I know it's sounds kind on lame but it was really cool to see all these great riders lining up. I've seen most all of them before at races here and there, but this was the first time I'd seen this many at one line up.

It's also funny to see what everyone has done to themselves/bike for the race. You have the normal things like gels taped to your top tube, people playing with I-Pods and even a person or two just trying to mentally zone out. But I saw a first, it was a female rider (come to find out it was the female winner Carey Lowery) that wrote "eat" on her inner forearm. It's a great idea for a personal reminder during endurance races, but at the time it just made me smile...but it did not last.

The race started with a two mile leg on a paved road to thin out the ranks a little before we headed into the singletrack. This first 5-6 miles of singletrack was super fast and very little pedaling was needed, it was a little like being on a roller coaster...just flowy up and downs with sweeping corners thrown in here and there.

After a fast paved downhill we headed into a couple miles of double track that ended with the only thing I'd call technical at all on the course...

It was very ridable for most but a couple riders did have a problem on it. After a few more miles of rolling uphill singletrack we hit the fireroads.

At the first rest stop (18 miles) I topped off my HEED bottle, graped a couple cookies and was on my way. This is also where the climbing started, nothing major just a little teaser for what was to come. About ten miles later is where the main climb for the race started. Again nothing major just a nice steady climb the next 8-9 miles to rest stop number two (36 miles.)

I felt great, so other then popping a couple Endurolytes I repeated the same as stop one. But a few more uphill miles after leaving the stop I learned the day was not gonna turn out as well as I wanted. A group on four of us were working well together in a pace line for a few miles, until a rider dropped off...and then a second. The two of us tried to keep it going but the short rest break in between pulls brought out what I knew was coming. I was not recovered from the past two weekend, I guess doing a 6 hour and a 13 hour the two weekends before a 100 miler were not good planning...go figure.

So with the legs starting to feel a little sluggish I backed off and rode my own pace, but overall still felt pretty good when I hit the third stop (49 miles.) Leaving the stop is where I started to feel the heat, and the last 7-8 miles of this never ending climb we starting to get to me. But help in the from of 15 plus miles of downhill to the forth rest stop was on the way.

I tried to eat what I could (which was not much/to little) as a wrench lubed my chain before I was off again. After 5-8 miles of flatish rolling climbs the incline grade kicked back upward for the first of the last three climbs. These last climbs were much shorter (maybe a mile or so each) but a little steeper and totally exposed to the sun. This is where the wheels really fell off, not on the bike...but on me.

The 15 miles from rest stop 4 to 5 felt like I was a hot dog on the grill. At the stop one of the volunteers had rags in a cooler of ice water. Dude treated me like a turkey being basted for Thanksgiving and I could still now hug him for it. During my ice bath I looked around with my fuzzy vision and saw two riders laying on the ground all but paws up, both were being attended to...but they were not looking good.

After the bath I felt a little better and rolled out for the last two climbs. I knew it was hot and getting hotter (I'd stopped sweating sometime before) so I forced myself to drink the two bottles I had knowing it was only ten miles to the last rest stop.

With the last two climbs (and both bottles) I hunted for the last rest stop....and missed it. I remember where it must have been, but at the time I thought it was volunteers warning/giving directions into a hard corner heading back into the singletrack. Needless to say that last 10 miles of what should have been fun singletrack was Hell.

I could not focus, I was light headed to say it mildly and found it harder and harder to hold a line. Knowing I was in a bad place physically and getting worse fast I backed off even more. This last few miles probably took me twice as long as it should have but I made it to the last mile of pavement without the bike or myself meeting a tree or worse beforehand.

As I came across the finishline the timing clock was great to see, but not the numbers that were on it. I came in 30 plus minutes over my targeted time of nine hours, but all I wanted to do was get to the FJ and get cold fluids in me and sit in the AC.

I found results posted lastnight and seeing them did not help my mood at all....62nd of 101 finishers in my class. I have a mixed feels right now, half of me wants to get my ass on the bike (not that it's gonna fix anything) and the other half wants to just forget about it and enjoy an beer....or five.

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