Many exciting things have happen since the last time we met:
Django 1.0 was released and trying to update to the new version broke my site (more correctly, I didn’t read any documentation about the upgrade process… so I broke it)! I’ve finally pieced things together so that they seem to be working again.
My first race
I placed 7th out of 13 in the beginner race at the finale of the local dirt crit series. This was my first mountain bike race, so I arrived early, watched the A race, the B race and chatted up some folks. When the C race set out, I was determined not to be the first through the chutes and by the time we reached the singletrack I had succeeded in that: I was close to the back. At one point I saw an opening to pass some folks, so I started up the right side unfortunately at the same time as someone else. I caught his wheel and went down, throwing me into last place. I remember rolling, ducking and almost colliding with another rider who was behind me as I came up. My chain had of course fallen off, and everyone was at the creek by the time I got back on the bike.
Adrenaline pumping, I began a slow march of catching people. The creek crossing, which I handled fine on the first two laps became more and more sloppy as the race went on. I yo-yo’d with a few guys at this point, but was able to finish well, considering. Speed felt good and my base seemed to be able to handle the short lap count and I think I could have put down a little bit more speed (but maybe not another lap!).
The next weekend after the dirt crit, I took on a bigger, badder challenge: the 6-hour solo race for Mesa Cycles‘ Burnin’ at the Bluffs. This is a 6/12 hour race at Council Bluff. It goes without saying that this was my first endurance bike race, but this was the first time I would have spent 6 hours on a bike, let alone my mountain bike (I’ve done about 80 miles on my road bike which took around 5 hours). Again, I didn’t want to be out anywhere near the guys gunning for the fastest lap competition, so I jogged out the Le Mans start towards the back, hoped on and waited through the line at the first bit of singletrack. After a few position changes, I settled in behind a few folks and just pedaled on through.
I passed a couple folks, but not many, but I began to develop a serious issue with my rear derailleur where it was skipping horribly. For the dirt crit, it wouldn’t have been an issue because there were little to no hills to deal with. C-Bluff, though, throws down at least three note-worthy climbs (including the one mile climb to get to the start/finish!), so this was pretty bad timing for this issue . So I took some time for a bit of mechanical help between this lap, with the assurance from Scott that my pace was above what I needed for my goal of three laps.
From what I remember, the second lap felt good. I had less issues with climbing (still a bit, but I could ride up hill!) and was able, I felt, to put down some decent speed from time to time. I started getting lapped by some fast guys, but things were going well for me.
When I came in from that lap, I decided to put down some solid food and sit for a minute. Either or both of these were a mistake. The first four miles of the course, I felt off and a bit sick to the stomach. Finally put off these feelings, but the energy was zapped. I took basically any chance I could to rest, took in a lot of fluid and gel, trying to see if that was the issue. But I was pretty much done. The last lap was a pace-killer. After my first couple laps, there was a possibility that I could finish with four laps if I went over 6-hours, but I rode in at 6:25 with 3 laps.
I can’t really complain about the race: it was fun, I met my goal of three laps, and I turned out faster-than-expected lap times. And I know what I need to do next year! For 2008, I ended up in 12th out of 20 in the men’s 6 hour solo. Not sure if I will hit the 6-hour next year or the 12-hour team, but I’m planning on being there again.
Up next in the race world for me is the Castlewood 8 hour race! This will be the first outing for the “Rubber Side Down” team and the best to date!