Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snot Cycle or aka Slop Cycle and nabbing 5th

Well, this was the first race for me since may of last year, and it couldnt have been better, well maybe first would have been a little better. Anyway, as is every year, Snotcycle was cold, muddy, icy and of course snow layith on the trails. This is the first time I have done Snotcycle  at the new venue at the Freedom Center, so I wasnt too sure how I was going to do. One of the niceties about this race is catching up with friends and "rivals" and seeing how good of shape there in or how much I need to improve.

As usual, the drive down included pre-race jitters and wondering why I still do this. My biggest fear, as with every race, is not doing well. I know I am in great shape considering I am 45 now, which isnt "old", but lining up with guys half your age can sometimes be intimidating.

I decided to go with the Ferrous this year, just because I have never done a Snotcycle event on it and I love this bike; it turned out to be a great choice. I ran my usual 32x18; safe for not knowing the course, a 32x17 may have been better now that I have ridden it, eh next year. This was also my first race donning the Chesapeake Wheelman colors. Lets just say, I was easy to spot. I believe that this is the first mtb race that they have been represented, pretty funny. They are the 2nd oldest club in the country and I get to be the guinea pig for the 1st mountain bike event of the year.

It looked as if it was not going to start real well. I no sooner pulled up to the start and off we went. I was sitting about 25th of 38, so not real smart. As we headed into the woods, I quickly realized that there wasnt going to be too many places to pass. Tight, twisty and slippery made it very tough to get by the slower riders. I have been really working hard this winter and trying to stay focused on my training, so this was really a race against myself. About 1 mile in , I expected my HR to be in the 190's, but it was hovering in the 170's-this was a great sign. So i mashed the pedals and started moving up. What I also was very happy with was my times for the second lap. In the past, I am notorious for having a slower second lap; however today would be different. My first lap was 31:15; not bad, but my second lap was 29:12, and I knew it. I felt fast and passed around 12-18 people.

The third lap had just turned completely nasty. The snow was gone and all that remained was the sloppy mud. This course looks like your small intestines, so the turns were super dangerous if you werent careful. I didnt drink the entire race for fear of crashing. I was very conscious of who was behind me and where they were. I wasnt real sure where I was in the overall standings, but I knew I was moving closer to the top 5 because I could see Bill wheeler not too far ahead. I was running out of miles, though. I tried as hard as I could to catch him, but just ran out of time. I rode a great race and not a single person passed me. I made sure to I kept everyone that was behind me a good distance from me. I didnt slow at the end and felt awesome. I crossed the line in 1:30:12, which is where I was trying to be to get home for my son's birthday party. I ended up in 5th, which is my best finish for this race, even considering the sloppy conditions.

Overall, I rank this as one of my best races ever; at least from a physical standpoint. My HR was low and I was able to maintain great power throughout the entire race, even through the muck and mud. I did find myself staying seated on just about every climb (felt weird, but that was the only way to maintain traction). My seatpost slipped about an inch which really hampered me a bit, but I just stood as much as I could. The goal for this year is to be more econmical. I only spent 1 minute 22 seconds in anaerobic land, which quite frankly, I never would have thought was possible. Normally in a race, I am in Z5 70%ish of the time, so my training seems to be spot on right now.

I think it is going to be a good year...