My account of life both on and off of two wheels...... "At least I'm enjoying the ride"
Friday, August 10, 2012
Darkhorse 40 Race Recap.
Sunday morning came quickly and it was set to be another hot and humid race day.
After picking up my number plate and setting up my gear, I spun my legs out up the fire road for not even a mile or so before they called to stage all racers. I had planned on a long warm up that morning, but I ran out of time before the start.
Ready or not, it was time to go pee and lineup.
I had signed up for the sport class and there was 17 women registered. That is a pretty large womens field so I was a bit anxious. We were going to be the last group to head out on the course. After my experience of being passed by almost the entire men sport field at the 6 hour race last month, I was totally okay with heading into the woods behind the masses. There were 400 racers registered and I would just pass the ones I could but was happy to not have to be passed by 200+ racers.
It was already hot and the air was pretty thick as I stood on the line waiting our turn to start the race. I ran through my mental check list of what I had in my pockets for nutrition; I ate a GU while I tried to remind myself to make sure to eat on a regular schedule so I would not bonk out there.
The race started with a 3.5 mile fire road. I was not warmed up well so I just rode it pretty steady. That was my plan- just to stay steady. By the time I got to the first bit of single track- I felt great. I was picking off some of the men racers and having a good time of it. I caught a couple women and just kept on pushing forward.
I felt so good the first 10 miles that I decided that I better reign myself back in a bit- I had 30 more miles to go and it was hot and humid. I just settled into a little more than comfortable pace. The second half of the 20 mile course had the most climbs on it. I was surprised at how well I did on the climbs. G keeps reminding me on our training rides to use my gears and save my legs. It really helped and I never felt my legs hurt once on those climbs.
As I came through the neutral feed zone after the first lap, I stopped at the cooler to fill up my camelback with water and grab another bottle of Heed. The promoters had great support stations set up with snacks and water but I never stopped at any of them. I made a promise to myself- no stopping outside of the feed zone unless it was necessary. 3 women passed me during what was only about a minute pit stop. I headed back on the course to chase them down. I had eaten and drank all the right amounts up until this point so I was hopeful to catch back up.
It was quite a few miles until I caught two of them. It had appeared they had slowed their pace. I was thinking that I had slowed down a bit too, but I tried to remain steady. By mile 35, I still had not caught one of the woman that had passed me in the feed zone and I still felt pretty good so I thought- just go! I pushed hard those last 5 miles and I still felt strong when I crossed the finish line. I could not believe it. I was having the best race I have had in over 2 years. I was smiling from the inside out.
I did not catch that last woman that had passed me. I did not meet my time goal - but I still beat last year’s time by 30 minutes. I did not podium but I sure as hell had a great time out there racing my bike in the woods. The best part of the whole day was how I felt strong and healthy. That was the big take away.
What was the reason I felt so good that day? The humidity was not in my favor and my ankles hurt for two days leading up to the race. It could have gone either way. I keep going over the week prior to race day and my race prep. I do not know if I could repeat a day like that if I tried.
My recovery is going well this week, so here is hoping I will have what it takes to finish the Hampshire 100 in less than two weeks.