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.
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
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?
|Yes, a geared bike with suspension|
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|
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 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.