The race went down exactly as I thought. And I was as disappointed as I knew I was going to be.
I tried to drink better and eat better. I made sure I did not ride too much the day before. So my prep was better than any other year.
Here are the results. The number speak for themselves.
13 minutes slower. Over 200 places farther back. I fell down pretty hard. Not my best day. I only met 1 out of easy 3 criteria for a good race. Its been years since I had a race that didn’t meet the big three. Last time maybe 2009. Its: 1) Dont take last in age 2) Dont fall down and 3) pass somebody late in the race (or second lap). I just did number one. In age I was 56 out of 81.
I started about 100 bikes closer up than any other year and knew from the gun that it was not going to be good. Maybe being sick right up till the day before hurt. But I immediately fell back from the gun. I had nothing. Being older I notice I need way longer to warm up and I always do well on street roll outs but I must have lost 100 spots by the time we hit the trails. Its always been the other way around with those. But then I did start back farther.
I did pass a few on the roadie section leading up to the road climbs but lost twice as much ground as I gained when going uphill. I actually did pretty well on the first two road climbs but just lost power on the last two. The riders who passed me there I never saw again.
I could tell how bad I was doing half way thru as I noticed all the riders with flat pedals and tennis shoes passing me. I swear I got passed by a guy that was well into his late 60’s riding with flats.
About halfway thru I tried to turn it up a notch and made up some ground briefly but I knew there was no way I could hold that pace till the end. So I had to back off. And got passed some more. Finally I just figured with 10 miles to go I had to go now or never. So again I take it up a notch. At 7 to go Im racing with this girl, she’s moving pretty good to I try to latch on. That worked for awhile but I was near the end of my gas tank. But I kept pushing to keep up. Almost running a puker on some climbs. I was so out of it I dont remember much after but I crested a small but steep hill with her and on the way down the small but sandy decent I almost hit her, slamming on my brakes and going down hard. I was already seeing stars from the prior climb.
I hit the ground and immediately my calf cramps hard and I cant get up right away. I flounder around and work my way on the bike but its so steep downhill I cant get on. So I gatta run down maybe 20 more feet, Down the steep sandy hill, seeing stars and leg cramping. I managed to get back on but there was almost 2 minutes right there. And that was the first time ever I fell at O2S. I was just scraped up but pretty shaken.
That was about 4 or 5 miles to go and it took me a long time, maybe 3 or 4 minutes of soft pedal to get my bearings back. Needless to say my pace after that was not fast. Usually Im pretty good and pacing and finish strong, passing a few on the way to the line. But that also was reverse. I found myself struggling in the last two miles and was the passee instead of the passer.
So looking at the time. 13 minutes off of last year. 11 minutes off the year before. I did spend some extra time on the ground late in the race. But thinking back I just could not have gone any harder. I ran out of gas well before the finish. If you look at the timing in the link I provided above you can see how much I slowed in the last half hour. The average MPH down to the 11’s. But that included laying on the ground then trying to get back to speed.
So yeah, Im a little bummed but not too much. My time on a MTB this summer was way down. My weight is up. As I knew, the short steep climbs hurt me more than other years. I just did not have the power to blast them. I ended up crawling up them in granny and in pain. And thats where I lost most of my time early on. I have no acceleration out of the corners. Eventually I do slowly work up to speed and catch up but again the short punchy efforts are gone. Or just bad. Not sure why. Age? Age and weight?
After the race, around noon I headed back to my room ( a 10 minute drive), showered and rested. Around 3pm I emerged and grabbed the lawn chair I brought along and sat in the shade along the shores of Lake Superior and rested some more.
So thats the race. In a month I have the Shuammy Fat Tire 40 to do and Im contemplating switching to the shorter race. My time in the 40 miler would be well over 4 hours right now. Not sure I want to do that. I have time to think about it I guess. Im not sure what I could do in just 30 days to improved enough to do the 40 miler.
One more post on the weekend tomorrow.