Doing it all the hard way...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In the Trenches MFG #3 Starcrossed race report 2012

Note the dirt on the face of El Hefe.  It was a  L O N G  day in the trenches.
Our dry stretch of weather continues with no end it sight.  If this is what global warming means in Seattle, bring it on !!  Starcrossed has traditionally been the first North American cross race with UCI points up for grabs.  It has also traditionally had biblical downpours during the pros race in the evening.  This year no points, no pros and no rain.  What we did have was dust and bumps.

My race was scheduled to go at 4:35.  Hottie and I slept in and took Tux to the beach and then prepped for a day at the races. We set up the tent and settled in for a long day of fall racing.  We were greeted by a long hot afternoon with a perpetual cloud of dust that kept the pavement dicey and our lungs dirty.

The start was as crazy as always and in the words of Ricky Bobby, "If you're not first, you're last." Last year with a consistent call up I was happy to enter the first corner in the top five. This year hitting it twentieth or thirty-fifth is simply a matter of how much risk you feel like taking.  I'm not in any points hunt, so my motivation to risk injury is significantly tempered.  These races are also longer, so I have time to move up if I start slowly.
Traffic and logs and dust oh my !
The course was a mix of tight grassy turns a long bumpy power straights punctuated by a handful of dusty sharp turns on pavement.  I did fine on the turns and moved up on the power straights.  With the bumpy grass getting your tire pressure dialed was a key.  To keep moving on the bumpy stuff, you kept your weight back, picked a high gear and just cranked.
Everything looks worse in black and white. - Paul Simon
The dust was everywhere and when I swallowed and my throat burned as if I had been gargling with broken glass. As the sweat dripped on my glasses the sweat attracted dust like a magnet and I was losing my vision. I didn't dare wipe the glasses, nor could I pull them off.  Oh well, just keep pedaling.
There was a short steep uphill that followed a tight turn that robbed your speed.
On the second lap El Hefe passed me and I tried to hold his wheel.  I kept it close for two laps and then he slipped away.  I felt like I was going fast and kept a wary eye on the lap count.  When I saw two to go, I figured I would get caught and so I took a gamble that (for me), it would be one to go and I tried to push a little harder.  I caught the rider who won my old category two years ago and I opened up a gap on him and pushed and pushed.
Make it done, please make it done.
I was listening to the PA to expecting to hear something like, "Entering the stadium is the leader of the Master Mens 35 plus cat 3."  I heard nothing of the sort.  I also realized no women had caught me and I was catching male riders and lapping female riders.  I would get full value for my money today. I saw one to go for the first time all year.  I pushed but there wasn't much left in the tank.
I passed a couple more riders and nobody caught me! I ended up 35th in a field of fifty. After I crossed the line I kept riding as I didn't know what else to do.  I was cooked and my mind was fuzzy.

Sometimes you replay a race in your mind and think, "I should have gone faster on the...."  Not this time.  I didn't win or anything but this was a complete effort on my part.  I downloaded my data and my heart rate went to 179 two minutes in and was between 179 and 181 for forty-five minutes. My max heart rate is 180-182.  I don't know how I kept it that high for so long.  I'm not a big fan of the heat and maybe that had something to do with it but I was spent.
Yes, it was a long day down in the mine.  
I went so hard that not only was Tux tired all day, he was still tired the next day as well.
As for Evo, I worked up an enormous Nappetite.

Happy birthday to Crash John !!

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