Monday, August 15, 2011

5.5 hours of Pando-race report

This past Saturday was the 6 (or 12) hours of Pando. The race started at noon and I went to bed Friday night extremely happy that I didn't have to wake up super early. I actually got a decent amount of sleep for the night before a race.

However, I wasn't as happy when I woke up in the morning to the sound of pouring rain and thunder. After the Wausau monsoon, I wasn't too excited to race in the rain again. Luckily it stopped before I had to pack up the car.

After hearing about course conditions (sloppy) I decided to race on my El Mariachi since it was set up with Karma's (my #1 favorite mud tire). Pando was just a training race and I could tell from the start that my legs were a little tired. Especially every time I climbed up the toboggan hill, which was often. The course was less then 5 miles long so every 20-some minutes I would be back at it. I just kept reminding myself that my legs weren't supposed to feel good for this race, and then found other things to focus on...like the dark clouds rolling in.

About 3 hours in I switched out my hydrapak for a new one and then started climbing the toboggan hill for the millionth time. All of a sudden I heard someone calling my name. I looked to my right and there was my mom on the side of the trail. I swear, she materialized out of nowhere. At the time I was trying to chase down a few guys in front of me and she started yelling that severe storms had touched down north of the trail and that I had to stop racing. Ha! Typical mom. I felt like I was 12 again.

I told her not to worry and kept going, but half-way through the lap I started to get worried. It was so dark I could barely see and it started thundering so loud I felt like the trees were shaking around me. Whenever I hit an open field it felt like the lightening was so close that I started to panic a tiny bit, which made me start riding like a moron. I couldn't stay on the trail for the life of me. I kept trying to pedal faster but my body was not cooperating. Clearly my legs weren't worried about being struck by a big bolt from above.

I was sharing a tent with Farm Team racing friends Steve and Nate and saw that Steve had lowered the tent and was underneath it. Once my lap was counted I went to join him since the race was temporarily stopped. It had cooled off considerably and I tried to think warm thoughts since my brilliant self only brought one kit. I was stuck in my wet clothes for the remainder of the race.

Luckily we didn't have to stop long, and I was able to get a few more laps in. Those laps were NOT FUN as the course was unrideable in parts. My chain kept wanting to seize up whenever there was any sort of tension and I constantly felt like I was one pedal stroke away from a mechanical. On my second to last lap I stopped to hose off my bike but that didn't help. Finally I decided to quit tempting fate and called it good after 5.5 hours of riding. I knew that I was in first place but had no clue how many laps I had in. I finished at 5:25 with 13 laps...good for 1st place overall.

Now it's time to see how great my laundry detergent really is...

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