Monday, June 24, 2013

Missed it by that much

Well, one of my favorite TV actors said it best...Missed it by that much. Don Adams was the best Get Smart ever. One of my favorite all time shows. Yep, it was close saturday at the 12 hours of Cranky Monkey at Quantico.

I havent been training in any sort of manner; just going and riding hard some days and riding easy on others-perfect recipe for success. Eh, I am 45, I have accomplished quite a bit in the last 4 years and I am ok with that. Anyway, as you might know, I have a new team mate in Liz Hunter. We met up at our first race at Bakers and took 3rd so we decided to hook up again and hit the super challenging trails at Quantico Marine Corps Base. This is one of those course that on one hand you love it becuase it will challenge you and your fitness level and on the other hand you hate it because there is climbing at every turn; 1503 ft per lap to be exact. Each lap is about 9.5 miles of pitted downhills and steep climbs.

This time it was Liz's turn to do the first lap and she did what she does best, nice consistent lap times. I on the other hand like to go out and hammer the first lap and try to make the other teams dig deeper than they normally would. I turned in a scorching 51:14 which was good for 10th fastest overall. Now of course, this comes at a price. I know that my lap times would be about 2-3 minutes slower as I went, but this strategy always seems to work for me.

We were in between first and second all day. The cool thing about these enduro races is that you get to chat with the competition and talk about everything, but also get to feel out were they stand and how they feel. The strategy really doesnt come into play until around 4:00 or 5:00. You have to really get your lap times in check and keep track of your competition.

By lap 9, we were ahead by 4 minutes, but the guy from the other team turned in a crazy 56:00 and cut our lead to just 18 seconds by our 10th lap. Of course, your legs are screaming and you are tired at this point. I started to really cramp up on my 4th lap and turned in a respectable 1:00 lap time. So this put us in a real precarious position because we now could possibly end up in third if we werent careful. My last lap was pain squared. I started get those dreaded inner thigh cramps right at mile one; not going to be fun. I really had to focus on not thinking of the cramps that felt like I was being squeezed by a boa constrictor. These can be a little more tolerable on a geared bike, but when you are trying to mash up a hill out of the saddle on the ss, you cant hide the fact that your legs are exploding right underneath you. My goal was to hunt down the first place team and I thought I would have seen her earlier during the lap, but didnt catch her until mile 7. I saw her walking up one of the 11%+ grade climbs. I had to reach and dig deep for some yet untapped power that my body was saving for just such a spot...wasnt there. I struggled up the first of the last 4 climbs and at this point, it was a foot race now. She was tired and I was tired. We would both mount at the apex and hammer as fast as we could, and then at the 3rd climb, she dismounted and there was that reserve power, or maybe that thing they call perseverance through pain thing. I hammered my 32x18 up that freikin' gravel grinder my left leg just stopped working. I had to do some single legged speed work for about 100 yards to recover and didnt see her until the end. Somehow I finished with a decent 1:01. It wasnt enough to take back enough time to regain 1st, but that was what racing is about; hammering through the pain and digging deep when you cant turn the cranks anymore. Luckily Liz held her ground and we finished up in second by a good size margin.

I have to say that was the most exciting race I have been in. Down to the last lap and really pushing when you cant push anymore. Liz is awesome. I am glad that I have had the chance to race with her and we have two podium spots in two attempts. I am really looking forward to hooking up for yet again another chance for that first place spot.