Monday, September 21, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-ch-chequamegon Fat Tire 40

I went into my sophomore Fat Tire 40 effort with a few guidelines:

  • Stay off the brakes.
  • Take the roll out easy. Last year I had the cold, hard evidence of popping on the first hill in the grass. There I was immediately wondering if I had stupidly forsaken my race. I didn't want to be there again.
  • Stay off the brakes.
  • Carry as much momentum into the hills as possible. Spin! Push! Pull! Drag! Then if that fails do some CX practice.
  • Stay off the brakes.
  • Did I mention stay off the brakes?
I rolled it out nice and slow, way in the back. Bro-in-law was hanging with me and yukking it up. Bubba and crew went by in no time. I said "hey" and settled in to ride my race.

When I hit the grass, I started working my own version of what felt like magic. Finding my rhythm. I thought bro-in-law was shortly behind me, but in truth he said I pretty much left him right there. At the first big down hill I donated one of two brand new Gatorade filled bottles to the ditch and kept going. It was a sign I didn't need the weight.

My memory of the race course wasn't so good. I decided to do CX practice for a few of the steeper hills in effort to save my legs for later. It was for this reason I took turns passing and being passed by another single speeder on a rigid bike. Me taking a bit more pounding on the downhills, her getting up the hills a bit better.

Somewhere fairly early on, I heard a clicking coming from the drive train. I was certain I had tightened it all down. The EBB had loosened and I needed to fix it. After figuring the problem and tightening I was off and going again. I was a bit miffed to see all the folks I had just passed with my uber-uphill-momentum thing going by. Chain tightened, I attempted a sweet CX mount of which there is luckily no evidence. Off again I went.

I couple times I was caught barreling down a gravel road in the wrong spot (deeper gravel section). No harm, no foul. Mental note for next time, look for the good part of the road if possible.

Most of the time I was working slightly harder than I thought I could for this race. I wondered if it was going to come back and bite me. I wondered what those around me though of the huffing and puffing. I was just hanging on and hoping to surprise myself.

On the upshot, I had really forgotten how much downhill there was. I was laughing with excitement down more than a few of them. Happy to have the recovery. Yet there were certainly times of "relax, you can do this". Even a few bumpy downhills, I went a bit too fast and joggled my brain more than it should have. I was fine, but secretly wishing for a bit of front suspension.

Cutting to the chase. I kept checking my watch, racing my race and keeping an eye on my four hour goal. Mind you, there is little you can do about time goals mid race except check on their status. I was keeping a decent 10 mph average, perfect for the goal. What I didn't know was how the dooming fire tower hill or it's successors would treat my beloved average.

Fire tower hill. I walked/pushed most of it. (Note for Russell, this is where I passed Randy. Not quite realizing it was him until later). One final check of the watch and I was still on my 10 mph average. It could go either way here folks.

Somewhere out there, I ran into a fellow blogger and chatted a bit. We bantered about who was ahead. I'm sure we traded spots a few times due to elevation changes and our various ways of dealing with it. No matter who got the shorter time, she wins. Her team was holding the beer for her at the finish line.

I did my best to stay off the brakes while the miles counted down. I'll admit to tapping the brakes once or twice in a "I made it this far I AM NOT crashing now" kinda move.

Somewhere in here I started realizing that not only sub-4 could happen, but I could also beat last year's 4:52 by an hour. Push, push, push.. Don't give up. Don't stop. Stay off the brakes.

I wasn't in the running for "most donut holes ingested", but I had 1-2 at each of 3-4 aid stations. No gels where harmed in the riding of my race.

Once seeing "5 to go", "3 to go", and even "2 to go" the miles were absolutely flying by. My fun was nearly to an end. Though I want a remeasure as that last mile did seem about 3 miles long.

That last little cruel uphill on a single speed where I have to will myself not to get off and walk, then I was over the finish line in 3:49!!

I stood there for a good bit soaking in all my glory. Holding my bike up. Then a shower and a bus ride to pickup the car in Hayward. All the while thinking "I'd still be riding last year". Today is Monday and I'm still smiling. I know 3:49 is pretty far back, but competing with myself, I've just had a pretty good race.

I ran into Rick who was soaking in an outstanding result. Then hung out at the Jay and Marty party for a bit yukking it up with those guys. Thanks !!!!

I said "Hey" to Evan at 53x11 coffee on Sunday, bought some finely flavored caffeine from him. Then we caught a few minutes of the CX race. Shortly thereafter, we loaded up and headed back.

What a perfect weekend!


Team Brazo said...

Nice - now that sounds fun! I'm hoping for a lottery pick next year for my 26er.

Nice race.

Julie said...

Way to go! You ended up doing awesome and it sounds like a great improvement from last year. That and you have a mad SEXY bike, so you won before the start!