Saturday, April 23, 2011

6 hour Grind on the Greenway race report

I think the 6 hour Grind on the Greenway was aptly named. It was a grind all right.

The race started at 11 a.m. and I was really happy to have a later start. It had rained the night before and everything was still pretty wet by the time we arrived at the venue. Within 10 minutes I managed to have red clay all over my clothes. It slowly started to warm up while we were doing race prep, and I hoped that the trail would dry out quickly.

I had a typical "Danielle" moment about 20 minutes before the race start. I had placed my timing chip in a spot where I wouldn't lose it, but then couldn't remember where I had put it. This happens all of the time before races because I get so freaking nervous. I basically need someone to follow my around to help me get to the start line :-) I had to go get a new one, attached it to my ankle immediately, and then lined up with the other racers.

The promoters had us start on a gravel road to break up the pack a bit and I went out fairly hard. My legs felt pretty good and my new El Mariachi felt amazing. To tell you the truth, I still can't believe that bike is mine. Once we entered the singletrack the pace slowed a bit, but I was definitely still going hard. The 9 mile trail had about 800 ft of climbing, but nothing too steep. However, it was super twisty and rooty, and you basically had to be on the gas at all times. There were a ton of random roots all over the place, and a lot of people were wiping out. They were wet and muddy. I almost slid out a few times, but being on a 29'er made up for rider error!

Scott started behind me and I kept waiting for him to pass. However he got stuck in a lot of rider traffic that I was able to avoid, and didn't catch me until mile 8. There were a few mud pits on the course, and he mentioned that he was running them because it was easier then trying to ride them. I did not listen :-)

I still felt good on Lap 2, but the heat started getting to me by lap 3. I think that it wasn't that hot to people who live down here (it was 79 degrees) but I felt like I was stuck in an oven. The one thing that saved me was that the course was 99% singletrack. The shade helped a bit, but I still felt like I was suffocating. I am so happy that I bought a hydrapak. I would have died out there without one as there were only about 2 spots where I would have felt comfortable reaching down for a bottle.

Grinding on the green....ha ha.
Half-way through the race I really started to feel it. My muscles were aching and it was obvious that I haven't had much time riding trail yet. I was really happy the course was so twisty, because it's an area where I need more practice. I'm getting better, but there were times where I lost a ton of momentum because of too much braking.

Also, remember those mud pits that Scott was running? I was riding them minus a deep one in the middle of the trail. I kept picking the wrong line and had my first endo of the year on my 5th lap. My front wheel came to a complete stop in the mud pit and I went over my handlebars into the mud. Sweeeet! I think it's safe to say that I've broken my bike in!

I look like a mountain biker again!
Towards the end of my 6th lap I was riding with a group of guys when I heard the 2 guys in front of me yell something. I was completely delirious from the heat, so the fact they were yelling snake didn't register until I almost ran over it. Let me just say, it was huge. I'll see snakes in Michigan every once in a while, but they are usually the size of pencils. This thing scared the crap out of me. And since I was crazy from the heat (this is my excuse-I'm sticking with it) I slammed on my brakes and started screaming like a lunatic. I'm talking blood-curling screams. The guy behind me started laughing and looking back, I'm embarrassed by it now. But the good news is that I discovered a new talent and might have to audition for a horror movie. I had no clue I could scream like that!

I was able to finish a half hour early in 1st place with 6 laps. I could have gone out for another lap, but there was no point. It would have just made me more tired and we are staying down here a few more days for some more training.

We hung out at the race afterwards with friends and it was nice catching up with everyone after such a looooong winter.

Apparently I thought something was funny....
Podium shot...
Arms up! 2 out of 3 is good enough :-)
Tomorrow we are heading over to the Tsali area and will be doing a easy recovery spin. After that we are hoping to get a few long days in.


Jason said...

Nice job!

In my short time in Michigan, I have noticed that my core temp is different now. It get to be 60 and I think about turning the A/C on! Ha!
I am also digging the lack of snakes like you saw! For the record I scream just like that when I see a snake. And when it's a PA rattlesnake, I nearly faint after. Enjoy your time away.

Kid Riemer said...

Congrats on the win Danielle. Glad to hear you are enjoying the bike.

®andyA said...

Awesome! Congrats on your finish!

lorri said...

My name is Lorri and I was chatting with you at lunch after the Grind.It was so nice talking to you! I'm sorry I didn't realize you won, so I just want to say congratulations! I hope I will see you at another race sometime, you are delightful. Have a good rest of the season!