|Alright, so I have gotten a few "what happened?". I am home now and here is a write up.|
Wednesday Chris Strout picked me up and we headed arrived in Moab Thursday. After a preride I found the course to be many things. Tough, fun, tough, rocky, sandy, a blast, and tough. Although the elevation profile is not horrible, the course makes you work hard for almost every foot of up OR down. Choosing the right line was critical in being efficient out there. It was demanding and I was looking forward to it despite the fact I could tell the last 6 weeks effected my fitness.
We met up with the rest of the World Bicycle Relief guys on Friday and hit another preride. My knee was tight, but not painful.
The days leading up to the race I was not feeling 100%, but still fully committed to seeing what I could do. The morning of the race my body felt more like going back to sleep than riding, but my head was ready to go. The leman's start was grueling. Thick sand to run through and a poor choice of bike placement saw me WAAAAY back. Working my way through I got in a groove and ended finished out the first lap well despite not feeling that great. The second lap the right knee was bothering me so the pace lowered. At this point my leg/neck/back/arm muscles just felt worked over already. My body was definitely not firing on all cylinders. The left thigh was hurting from compensating for the bad right knee. Coming in after the 2nd lap I got some Aleve.
The start of the third lap my body temp went sky rocketing. I guess the sun was very intense at this point. I layed down in the shade on the course for a little bit as I didn't need to blow up on lap 3 of the flipping race, made it throught lap 3 and the right knee felt a little better. My motto was that I was going to "keep on keeping on".
Somewhere in lap 2 the stomach went south as well. The rest of the race was spent fighting the need to release the contents. This included backing off the pace many times and actually sitting up quite a bit to relieve pressure. I would force food down though to keep on keeping on.
The night laps were hard. The lines seemed to fade some and that made the riding much harder. It was a very cool experiance looking at other parts of the fairly open course and seeing lines of lights slink there way through the night, very cool. The temps dropped, and the stomach never got better. Before the 8th lap I sat and had some warm food. I was trying to make sure that I was still getting calories as they weren't going down so easy on the course.
So off for the 8th lap, and I felt a little weak. No problem, I'll feel better. Hit the first climb and felt weaker. Not wanting to stop I got off the bike and shoveled food down my gullet while walking, figured this was a momentary lapse and I'd get going soon. Well, unfortuanately it got worse. I was pushing the bike up sections I had been "middle ringing" it. Out of breath and would have to stop and rest my head on the bars. This got worse and I was laying on the side of the trail; at 40 degrees, in the middle of the night. I would get going again, but the medics came out and drove me to an aid station where I hallicinated some and eventually slept. I would make it off the course hours later and proceeded to have lingering issues that made going out again not possible.
I went into this race with the mentality that I would have to be dragged off the course before I would stop, guess it came to that. I fought hard against a body not working right at the start, bad knee pain, heat, and stomach issues. I was happy with the pace I had set, problems or no problems. No regrets.
Chris would end up banging up his knee and retiring early. Brad and Todd soldiered on together during the race and finish 13th and fourteenth. The support was awesome and I want to thank Kim and Kate (Chris's wife and daughter), Bonnie and Fin (Todd's wife and son), Todd (Brad's bro in-law), and Sean (Team friend) for all the help. Also want to thank Chris for making the drive out there and back fun and interesting.
Just a note, the Hi-Fi was perfect out there. I was riding lines that others could not because of that bike and I want to thank Fisher bikes for the support.
Another note. I think my 24 hour "attempts" are done, at least for a long while. I love riding my bike for 100 milers and 12 hours, but I am not built well to take the abuse for 24 hours on a mountain bike. Key word, mountain bike. I'll still see my fellow riders in Iowa to pound out gravel next spring. I have never gone into the off season with as much motivation. Game on.