Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Feel Good Again!

It doesn't feel like race day until you get your number!

Today was my best race to date in terms of execution. I arrived at the venue well rested and calm. Registration as always with the TMBA crew... simple and quick. What made today different was my pre-race routine was good. I've struggled with this, and never really gotten it -right. Today I nailed it.

It started last night. After some experimentation I've learned how to make rice using my Jetboil. I can't stand re-heated rice. Nothing like good fresh rice.

About 2hrs before the race I made my rice, mixed in some canned pineapple chunks into a vat of carbo-nutrional-gastro-goodness. Jane says rice is the perfect pre-race food. And I think she's right.

I warmed up adequately this time. I've either under or over shot the warmup. Today... I recorded it using the PowerTap. Now I've got a good template to follow. Bon.

I timed arrival at the staging area as I like. I hate waiting around to stage. I'm not usually nervous. But others' nerves are contageous. I showed up just in time to stage toward the back. *pow* We're off!

The start is easy. I'm tempted to move up, but resist. It's especially tempting as the dust is super bad. I get a surprise in one of turns. This section of trail is usually hardpacked gravel. It was completely sandy and loose. I wasn't expecting that, and almost take a digger under two minutes into the race! So much for home trail advantage.

I stay comfy thorugh the first part until the first road crossing by the Nature Center. It was on this first climb after the NC that I crampped up and blew sky-high last year. I begin to get apprehensive. I keep the pace sane. Maybe a bit conservative. I treadle the effort and... I get thorugh this section fine. I pass several a few folks in my cat. So far so good.

One guy has stuck right on my wheel so far, but has not asked to pass. The first long bridge has a sandy approach. Miss and, and you can't steer onto the bridge. Since this is my home course... I nail it. The guy on my wheel... doesn't. I don't see it. I hear it. The thud of bike and body are unmistakable!

Before I know it... I'm on the false flat to the spillway. Still feeling great. I'm way deeper into this race than last year. Knowing the fenceline climb is coming up, I milk the little bit of downslope here. Up the fenceline climb and I'm starting to hurt. Bad. I stall out, dab and like 4 people pass me. Ooops. I get to the top and I'm cramping a bit. Realizing what's going on, I decide it's survival mode from here, and use the downhills to rest. It's slow, but not as slow as having to stop for puking.

As I near the end, I'm completely disoriented where I'm at on the course. I'm thinking it's near the end, and it's time to turn up the wick. Hmm... I did that last year and I was further than I thought... I hold off. Until I round a corner and there's the finish. Dang. I dump the chain and get in the big boy gear for a sprint to the finish. Done.

Not sure where I finished. Back third? But... atleast they weren't picking up banners and course markings like they were last year ;). By my clock I shaved 20min off last year's time.

Still a long way to go, but progress is the focus...