The Lumberjack 100..
Where to begin?
How about with, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Ha! I wonder how many bike racers have started out their race reports with that sentence? Probably a lot! In all honesty, the majority of the Lumberjack was the best of times for me. I had a great time racing on my Selma and hanging out with friends before and after. The worst of times came at miles 70-85, where I had a really big leg explosion/bonk. But oh well. I still finished the race with no regrets. Of course now that two days have passed I have a few woulda, coulda, shoulda's, but I have those even when I win :-)
The only thing that I wish I could have changed differently before the race was me, myself and I. This whole season has been great so far, and I've done a really great job of not getting worked up before races. I've noticed the more relaxed I am, the better I do.
That changed the week before Lumberjack. Maybe it was inevitable, but I got so nervous I could barely breathe. Just ask Scott, or my mechanic Ted. I will be the first to admit that I was in rare form the week leading up to the race. Yikes! I promise I DON'T go around the house wearing a heart rate monitor, but I bet my average HR was 130-plus sitting down.
Things got much better on Thursday, when Carey and Zeke pulled up to my house. I've raced against Carey many times, and she's beaten me more times then I can count. However, she's one of the first people that I always call after a race, and I know she's cheering for me just like I cheer for her. So while I wasn't jumping for joy that she was racing SS against me, I was jumping for joy that she was in Michigan and racing Lumberjack!
We talked a lot about gears the days leading up to the race, and Carey ended up racing with a 32x19, and I raced with a 32x18. At the start line I was a little worried that I was running the same gear ratio as many of the guys, but I knew that I could do it since it was the same gear ratio I ran the year before.
The entire female field was stacked, stacked, stacked this year. I knew I had stiff competition from both the gears and SS ladies. Carey is one of the strongest endurance athletes that I know, and she had been racing on her SS all season. I knew that she would be super strong and consistent, and that there would be no fading. I decided to go out hard and take a chance that I could get far enough ahead that she wouldn't catch me.
In theory, it was a good plan...
However, I couldn't go that hard at the start. It was a mile of completely flat, paved road. I watched the front of the pack fly away and tried to spin as fast as I possibly could after them. It was funny, but also NOT funny at the same time.
Finally I entered the single-track behind a train of people. Obviously I've only been working with my new coach for two weeks. I can't imagine that it's easy starting with a new athlete in the middle of the race season, but I have to say that he did a really great job of getting me to the start line. My legs felt great, especially since it was my 3rd weekend of racing in a row.
I basically rode the majority of the first lap in a huge group of people. I would try to pass when possible, but everyone was stacked up in the singletrack. The second lap went much better and I noticed that I could make almost every hill that I had to walk last year. Woo hoo! All of the workouts I did this winter with Jason paid off. That being said, I probably should have gotten off of my bike and run a few of them. I was under the mind set that staying on the bike is always better, but it took EVERYTHING I HAD to get up a few of the hills. I pretty much blew my legs up.
It felt really, really hot towards the end of the 2nd lap and a few guys who passed me mentioned that there was a SS'er not that far back. Darn! I tried to downshift, realized that I couldn't, and the rest was history. My legs exploded, I bonked at the same time, and Carey caught me like I wasn't moving at mile 70. Even though I was NOT HAPPY with being caught, I'm glad that she had a good race. Hopefully I can get her and Zeke to come back next year.
I had a rough time from miles 70-85. Not only was my last lap 7 minutes slower then the first two, but I felt like I was riding sideways instead of straight. I drank my entire hydrapak, ate a few gels, and eventually started to feel better towards the end of the race. Phew.
Here is a picture of our SS podium. Even with the leg explosion/bonk I still had my fastest year yet with a time of 8:22:22.
Congrats to Carey on a great race. And I have to send out a huge congrats to my 8 hours of Cannonsburg teammate, SS Danielle #1. She rounded out our podium and pushed a 32x17. Yowch!
Next up...a rest week. Then it's back to training for me!