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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Big Bear Race Report

Ok here's the short version. I didn't put in a lot of fast laps but I put in a lot of miles, 65 of them in 5 hard hard laps. By the middle of the night I lost half my team but felt pretty good so put a double in late night early morning and finished up with lap 5 before noon.

Here's the long of it, if you care to read: My team was Three Ring Circus I was second in line, Jamie our first rider came in with a calf injury and that ended up being his only lap. My first lap I felt like crap. A week with sleep less than 6 hours a night up late trying to repair lights, bikes and get ready in general. Then I stood around in the sun letting my head bake. All of this had me feeling like dog. While I was out riding the lap I felt even worse. I turned in a 1:28. I was hoping for something closer to 1:20 mark. I wasn't impressed with my time but that lap made me the 2nd fastest in the Vets class so I guess it was all right.

With Jamie's injury we were all going out couple hours sooner. The 2nd lap I died about 3/4 of the way through. It was pretty disappointing. I was having a good lap but after the downhill seven miles in I had a total breakdown. Got tired, shaky, and really hungry. When I say tired I mean 'can't stay up on the bike tired' and it was weird; my legs didn't feel spent I just had no energy in me. I think I had a case of exercise induced hypoglycemia. I tried to ignore the hunger and keep riding but after a bit I stopped and started to frantically searching my pack for a gel. I came up empty. The laps are only 13 miles so I didn't pack food. I continued dragging myself through the course. When I got to the one mile climb near the end I was so tired I could barely walk the hill. Eventually I had to stop and I started begging for food as riders came up the climb. I just felt so weak and hungry. Someone finally threw me a GU. About 10 minutes later I started to get back some strength and finished a little stronger. Terrible lap time; 2 hours almost on the mark.

After my second lap I handed off to Gregg to do his first night lap ate some spicy Jambalya and went to bed. Jamie woke me up after an hour and a half of sleep to go down and meet Mike. It was amazing an hour and a half sleep and I felt totally refreshed. I woke up like it was a bran new day. I went down to the hand off area and waited for Mike.... and waited... and waited... and waited. By 2:30 I was really starting to get worried. The trails were muddy after the 3/4 inch of rain earlier in the week and all the bike traffic just slathered mud all over the rocks. When the dew settled at night the rocks and roots got like ice. It took Mike almost three hours to finish, he was falling all over the place and he called it quits after his second lap. Too tired to stay upright on the rocks, he was afraid he was really going to really do himself in. When I saw how bad his palm had swelled from falling I can't say I blame him.

So when Mike comes in he tells me Gregg is really whipped, needs a longer break and doesn't want to go back out till morning. Since Gregg wasn't going out right away I decide to go out for two laps and then I'd wake Gregg up when I came in. I figure I could handle two if I paced myself .

To do two laps I was going to need more battery time so here was the plan: Jamie's half used HID bar light would take me through the first lap. My head lamp good for 1:45 at 15 watts would take me through most of lap two. Mikes bar light should have another half an hour to take me to the finish of lap 2.

The plan was foiled when half way through my first lap the HID went dim and had to switch to my head lamp. I was trying to stretch the battery life and ride on 5 watts of power but that was working out horribly. I was running into things, stalling, trying to find a line, and crashing all over the place groping around in the dark. I tried leeching light off a few other riders but they were riding a one lap pace and eventually ride away from me on the climbs. Near the end of the first lap I resigned that I didn't have enough battery power and was thinking I was would have to quit. Still trying to figure out a way to do this I remembered Gregg's head lamp may have enough. Turns out it's good for six hours. Gregg helped me gather it up mount it and 30 minutes later I was off for a second lap.

So after messing around for half an hour with the lights the sun is coming up 30 minutes later. I wasn't expecting it to be bright enough to ride under the canopy until 6:00 but the sky was clear and a lot more light must get through the trees when the sun is at that angle. By 5:30 there was plenty of light and I shut the lights down. Second lap went pretty well but I started to die off with about three miles left to go. After two laps I just couldn't imagine how those 24 hour solo riders were managing it. I was brutal out there. I had a time of 2:06 and 2:05 for a back to back laps. I was happy with that.

After Gregg came back in I did a final fifth lap doing a 1:53 and made it in before noon. That was it for our team.

The highlight of the race was lap five when I got to mix it up with Susan Haywood. She came up behind me as we were nearing the 'pre downhill' before the big big downhill. As she came up behind me I cranked it up a couple notches knowing we'd be descending in a few yards. By the bottom I managed to put a lead on her and kept enough momentum to get me up a good part of the climb. This was my fifth lap and I was whooped and out of fuel so I let moved aside to let her pass at the top of the short climb before the big big downhill. Was able to quickly make up the distance and caught back up to her shortly on the way down. I have to say wow what a talented rider. I could keep on her wheel, but while I was smashing and bouncing through the rocks, she was just needling through them at light speed. She had all the grace and seemed to be doing it all with about a fifth of the effort. Amazing rider. I got to the bottom and my upper body was just spent I'm thinking she felt a little different.

All in all it was a good time. I got to ride my bike.. a lot and that's what I came to do. It was fun.

1 comment:

  1. Dave, you saved me by doing those two laps back to back. I hadn't had any sleep at all and needed some. So my front derailleur is done, as well as my bottom bracket!!! This may have explained why it was hard to pedal, lol.


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