My new year's commitment is a daily blog post until Arrowhead later this month.
So I have a goal. One day I want to get the golden ticket to the Iditarod Trail Invitational. They cost roughly $1,500 for the entry into the 300 plus mile Alaskan snow race. The Arrowhead 135 has a lot of tough competition and a free entry for the winner. The Tuscobia 150 has less competition and takes the winners in all the disciplines (run, bike ski) and picks one out of a hat to give the golden ticket.
So here is me, not having giving my 2012 summer much attention racing and lofty goals for the winter. Starting back before Halloween I started my real training. Building hours, working in training techniques, watching my diet like never before (I was carrying a bit too much bulk). I took time off when needed, but with a week and a half before the Tuscobia I concluded my hardest stretch of training ever and my body was hurting from the effort.
This year at the Tuscobia I met up with Mark S. to share a room because my other option was sharing a bed with Ben "come snuggle with me" Doom. The prerace meeting saw the guys I figured I should really watch including Ben, Lance Andre, and a really fit looking Jason Buffington. The Chequamegon Canoe Club was once again a fantastic race headquarters. Also, with more time to prepare this year, Chris Scotch and Helen Lavin knocked it out of the park with the race details once again. You got to hand it to the race organizers and the owners of the CCC.
The morning of the race I woke with a sore throat. I figured this was about right as I had spent my time tapering for the race feeling worn out and tired. After pleasantries and getting to hear about Lance tricking an elderly lady into making his costume, we set off in the dark with a police escort for the first few blocks until we got on the trail. I have seen the trail slower, I have seen it faster, but we went at a decent clip with Buffington determined to stay on the front much of the time. My plan was not to go out fast, but take the time I needed to make sure things went right, that including stopping to let out air and picking up my dropped food from the ground. About 2 hours in I would be semi-comfortably trailing Buffington by around 15 seconds and Doom would follow another few minutes back. That is when I started having shooting knee pains on my left side. I dealt with it hoping it would go away but the pain only got worse. I would have to stop, stretch, and play with saddle adjustment.
After a few stops Doom would catch me and refuse my request for painkillers because I rebuffed his idea for sleeping arrangements. I would watch him disappear as I backed down my pace and stopped to stretch more. Three hours in and I was able to get ibuprofen at the first aid station. I limped out of there after a long stop, not sure if I could go on for another 120. Well, my knee pain got a bit better, but my knees were now getting weak, soon to be followed by the legs and bad back pain. I had a chance to ride and talk awhile with Joe Stiller, but again I had to stop about 43 miles in and he left me behind. In the shape I was in the next 20 miles to the next checkpoint would have been miserable and I knew there was no way my body could handle the 150 that day without longer term ramifications. I scooted over to the road, turned around, and slowly made my way back until 2 awesome sisters graciously stopped and gave me a ride.
My body is still in rough shape, having not got enough rest before the race. Four days later and my throat is still a tad sore and my body feels tired and achy. I did get out for 2 rides while up in Cable because despite the pain, the trails there are totally worth it. The picture in the post below does not do it justice and it is like that pretty much everywhere.
Congrats to Buff as I hear he won and took the magic ticket that I really wanted. Great job to Doom in his 2nd place. I am not sure how anyone else did at this moment, but I am looking forward to Arrowhead right now, not back.
Oh, and the bike? Awesome. I love my prototype 186 bike from 9:zero:7. Get how I throw prototype in there like I am something special?