Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bakers Dozen, 3rd place, Pain and This Co-Ed thing is pretty cool

Funny how these endurance races go. You cant wait for 9am to start and by 4 or 5pm, you cant wait for 10pm to come.

First off, my son entered the junior race. This was his first "real" mountain bike race. He was super excited and I was too. I was a little worried because this was his first ride without me there to coach and watch; he was on his own.

They went off and he was gone. Of course, all sorts of things were going through my head; Is he ok? How does he feel? The first group of kids came through, but not Alex. the second group came in, still no Alex; six riders in. So I rode to the top of the last climb-which is pretty long for these little guys and there all saw him exiting the woods spinning those little legs on his SS (all of the kids but one were older and had they all had geared bikes). I was encouraging him to keep pushing and rode with him the rest of the way to the finish. I have never seen my son so tired. I was so proud of him. He rode hard and finished strong. So he finished 8th out of 12, and he was happy...so was I.

This years Bakers had a lot of first for me personally. My first co-ed endeavor. My first co-ed endeavor with someone that I have never met and my first real feeling that I just dont recover as quick as I did. 

I really didnt know what to expect this year. I was riding with someone who I
Yes, a geared bike with suspension
never rode with with before, let alone met. My last race at Patapsco was miserable even though I finished 5th (mercy placement?), who knows. My fitness level seems fine on the road, but my mountain bike rides are not impressive at all. I have been having lower back pains as of late and my wrist still hasnt felt good from bowling 6 weeks ago; do we really have to get old? 

Liz asked me if I would go first and I said sure (I hate going first). Sure enough, 1/2 mile into the race, I got nabbed by the people who lined up near the front that should have been. First, there was a bottle neck into the pines, and then-I still cant believe this-but a guy stopped to walk over a 6" log. I lost 1 minute just from that. It was my fault for not getting closer to the front, but man that really ticks me off. Then, up the first small climb, the same thing-people walking. We decided to do doubles and I couldnt wait to get past the first lap. 

Only 12 hours and 35 minutes to go...

During my 2nd lap, the pain in my back and wrist started to rear its ugly head and it started right at the worst part of the course. Try this, get on a pogo stick that doesnt have any pogo and try to bounce as hard as you can and maintain it while going uphill for about 5 minutes straight. Yep that is the best way to describe this section. Now do it 8 more times. 

I started feeling a bit better on my 3rd and 4th laps, but my arse was raw already, I mean grater raw. My wife-bless her heart-ran to Wal Mart and got some baby lotion and man that was a God send.  

My 5th lap came undone. I still dont know how it happened, but about 3.5 miles in, I burped 75% of the air from my rear tire. I was screwed. I ran fro about 2.5 miles and finally gave up, until some young kid doing solo gave me his pump and I was back in business. My lap time was a dismal 50:00.

At this point, we where in 4th place; about 8 minutes from 3rd. Liz was turning in some pretty consistent 46-47 minute times. Doing doubles was working for her as well as for me. I was really proud of how we were doing at this point. My flat made it more of a chore to get back.

Up the wall
My next 2 laps where very good, I felt much better, although my power just wasnt there and my hr was low. The pain in my back was really getting to mw at this point. When I came in, I went to check the new results and we moved back into 3rd by 2 minutes. I had gained 10 minutes with my two faster laps.

The two teams in front were pro teams, so I was pretty darn happy where we stood. Liz came in and said she was ready fro single laps-so was I. We had gained more time on 4th and sat comfortable in 3rd by 20 minutes. 

My first night lap was really good, not great but good enough. At this point, this is where strategy comes into play. Liz came in at 9:09 and I had to back before ten in order for us to make sure that we stayed in 3rd, if I didnt the 4th place team may have the opportunity to go out and finish one more lap.

I struggled the entire lap, I was done. I was hurting and just wanted for it to be over. I kept looking at my Garmin as if to try to slow down the time, amazing...I couldnt do it. With about a mile and a half to go, I had 9 minutes to get back. I was sweating bullets at this point. I was feeling like crap. Then I got this sudden urge to kick myself and get past the pain and mash the pedals. I got back to the tent at 9:57. That might have been the fastest I rode all day. 

Jack White inspired...
Liz went off and sealed our 3rd place spot. We were both pretty tired and glad it was over. We ended up with 18 laps, only one behind the pro teams, so I am ok with that. we both rode hard and both wanted a podium spot. We finished 1 lap and 22 minutes in front of 4th. 

Liz was super excited and I am really happy that she got a chance to be on the podium and I am glad I had the chance to share it with her. I didnt have a particularly great race personally, but we did well as a team, and that is what matters.