|The start. Guy behind me was drinking PBR.|
Here I am at the start, Im smiling but terrified of what could happen in front of me, in the pic you can almost see the back of the line. I considered pulling out and moving to the rear just to say I started dead last.
So, the gun go’s off. At least we start moving cuz I was so far back I could not hear the gun anyway. After a 5 minute wait we move. No more that 20 yards in, bikes go down in front of me. Just a clip fall but it had the domino effect.
If I was not scared yet I was now. There was no way I was getting out of Hayward without indecent.
As the front runners peddle out of town we surge, stop, surge, stop several times. Then its a slow peddle. Then I get to the far left and go. Trying to get out of here. As we left town I hooked up with some guy pulling his girlfriend along. Once we hit Hwy 77 I grabbed her wheel and off we went passing bikes by the hundreds.
Another backup entering Rosies Field. Crap.
But happy that I made it off the pavement in one piece. I did not see any crashes so things went well in that respect. Once we got rolling in the woods it was congested. Bikes were passed one by one instead of in groups. I would pass 10, and a couple would pass me. And thats how it went for the first hour or so. Always in congestion. It was pretty much that way until we hit OO.
So up to OO here was the stats. I started between 1750 and 1800 across the start line. At OO I registered in at bike 1188.
So that means in the first 16 miles I passed an estimated 587 bikes. At that point I was watching my Motoactiv computer. It looked like my goal of three and a half hours was reachable. At least so far.
Another hour go’s by. At this point I am watching my heart rate and still holding back. My thoughts were to hold back until Fire Tower and then start spending what energy I had left. I really had no basis as to strategy since it was so long ago I did this but that sounded like a good plan.
Pretty much held my own until the hill. When I started Fire Tower I did not realize I was on it until half way up. I stopped riding and walked knowing I needed to conserve and being a hero on this hill would spend me and ruin my race. I forgot how tough that hill was. I had a hard time walking it let alone riding. People were running past me. Riding past me. I put in a interval to clear the last step. I was defiantly in zone 5 and hurting. Had no breath left.
I would have to say at least 60 to 70 bikes passed me on that thing. Very tough.
Ongoing, I knew the hardest parts were on the way. I looked at the computer and did some math. I appeared that my goal will not be reachable. I have lost too much time in the last hour.
So my thoughts were to just finish.
The next hour I hit the Birkie trail. Really, the last “segment” of the race. Less that 10 miles to go. Now, its all up and down. Some climbs I just could not do and walked. Some of them I could get some momentum on the down the roller and peddle 3\4th the way up. Kept that up for about 20 minutes. Then, looking at the computer (which is something I did way too much of) it showed 3 hours 15 min with only a few miles to go. I thought I had a shot. So I laid myself out on the next couple climbs.
Peddling with a steady cadence in granny gear.
But too much is not good. Five miles to go (and still climbing) I exploded and almost fell off the bike. I looked down and saw that the 3 and a half hour mark has passed.
I could almost hear the finish line. And at that point was mentally done.
I soft peddled the next mile as to not throw up. Gained some composure and rolled into Telemark not feeling well.
3 hours 39 minutes 48 seconds. So close to my 3 hour 30 minuter goal. Finishing in spot 1244. Losing 56 spots after OO (which I thought would have been worse).
I finished feeling pretty sick and felt that way pretty much the rest of the day. I slowly walked back to my car, which seemed to take forever, and went back to the cabin and laid low for awhile. Feeling better around 5pm. Pounding ibuprofen to help out with the next morning.