Wednesday, June 9, 2010

DNF @ the Dirty Kanza

My 3rd try at this race was not too successful... in a word, I melted! This remains one of my favorite races, just one tough fun challenge put on by a great group of folks. I'm already looking forward to going back next year and getting a little payback for the day I had on Saturday!

The race started at 6am as the huge group (over 160 racers!) rolled out of Emporia. The day was already hot, but there was a nice 15mph wind in our faces that helped keep us cool. The first 60 miles went by pretty nicely, fun gravel and parts of the course I had seen before. My legs were pretty flat from last weekend's race, but they responsed when I asked them to push up the hills and didn't complain too loudly. MIle 20-40 was into the headwind, and I just settled down for a long day in the saddle. Lots and lots of folks changing flats on the side of the road... so I'd have faster riders coming by periodically as they fixed up their gear. The next 18 miles were fast and fun, tailwind at my back. Things did start to get warm, as I no longer had the cooling headwind... but the speed was worth a big smile!

Made it into the first aid station at mile 58, spent a little time at the gas station loading my camelback and waterbottle with ice water, and then time to take on the next leg. I headed out with a 30 minute cushion on the cutoff... right where I want to be! As I stepped out of the gas station the heat hit me in the face. Uh oh. This is going to hurt!

The first 8(ish) miles were asphault and I tried to make time, but my body began a rebellion. Not the legs, but the stomach. Tossed up the delicious coke and ice water I had drank at the last CP and felt a little better. Tried sipping on the fresh ice water I'd taken on and just rolled as easily as I could. This section just went from bad, to worse. It took nearly 5 hours to cover the 42 miles, and I hear the temps were up around 105. I haven't really ridden in heat this year, and between that and having tapped my resources last weekend... I struggled to keep anything down. The ice water turned to hot water. I stopped several times in the "shade" of a scraggly tree to try to cool down. I tried eating my Gu chews... I tried eating Gu... I puked up all manner of race food 4 times in that section, my stomach just wasn't having any of it.

I called Drew and mile 70 and told him to come get me. I called him back 5 minutes later and said I wanted to go another hour and see if things would turn around. I called Drew and mile 88 and told him I was done and gave him directions to retreive me, and called him back again before I even put my phone away and cancelled that rescue. And still the battle raged between my head and my body. After a puke, I would feel better. And, I maintained the ability to bike, just not with much oomph. I figured if I could just make it to dusk the temps would go down and my speed would pick up... but I was seriously crawling through the miles. I decided to just get to the 102 mile check point and think about things then.

And, I did. And, I DNF'd. Me head is still a bit pissy about it, but I also firmly believe it was the right thing to do. If I would have made it through this thing it would have been with alot of damage, and I have the National 24 hour race in 2 weeks that I want to do really well at. As it is, I'm still thirsty as a dog, and tearing up at the drop of a hat (both signs of how deep the hole was I dug). I've got mild sores on my bum, which will heal in a few days. And, turns out my cross bike agrees with the decision as I found a broken spoke on the front wheel when I pulled it from the car today (didn't notice it when I was riding, but something tells me I would have eventually when I hit a rock the wrong way!).

So... I'll be back next year! And, hopefully the heat will be too!!! I am in good company, although final results aren't up yet runor is that over 100 people dropped out, but I pride myself on my ability to take a beating and a DNF just doesn't sit well. This will be one of my key spring events next year, and not just a fun training day, and I'll remind that Kansas gravel that it's can't deny this Colorado girl!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

RR: Lewis and Clark 24 Hour race

Short story: I won! 268.5 miles. Drew's 4 person team set a wicked record of 444.4 miles...

Long story: Not all that easy!

This was a 24 hour race near Vancouver, WA. A very small field, for a new but (hopefully) growing race. I was the only female soloist, and there were but 3 solo men. My hubby got sucked into a 4 person men's team, so I would only have support at night. There were also 10'ish solo and team 12 hour racers. Did I mention this race was small?

I got to start the race off at 6:30am, with folks heading off in 30 second intervals. I was unprepared and hopped on my bike. I looked down a few minutes later and my bike computer wasn't working. Drats! I reached down to try to adjust the sensor, hit a bump, and ping. It went into my wheel and sheared off. The wheel was fine, but as I looped back to pick up the sensor I realized that wa going to make for a long day not knowing where I was exactly. Okay... no prob... I'll go by feel. As I started again, I found my handlebars slipping. Crap! Stop once more, dig out my allen wrench and tighten those babies down. Smile at the riders going past while I'm wasting time. Finally I'm on the road for real and Drew comes riding by. I tell him about my odometer, and he hands me his Garmin... it only has a few hours of battery power, but at least for the first 70 miles I know where I am.

Did I mention it was raining? Oh yeah.. to add to the farce there was a steady rain. Oy! I tried to take it all in stride and just settle in for the day. Then, another bad decision came into play. I wore my prescription sunglasses. The rain made them impossible to see through (especially when I'd hit a climb and the insides would fog up), but I'm pretty much blind without them. As the rain fell the first 6 hours of the race I was forced to stop frequently and try to wipe them off. At each aid station I would get the volunteers to clean them, and then off I'd go.

Settle in and smile... So what... its a long day, and given the moisture the area is just a lush jungle of trees. Absolutely beautiful! The day loop (140 miles) had two significant climbs, several short steepers, and one 15ish mile false flat. Three checkpoints tricked out with all the food you could want. Seriously... PB&J, Doritos, jello pudding, chips, race-foods... for such a small race these guys were stocked!!!

I had a recumbant behind me, and traded places back and forth with two other races through the day. So, enough company to not feel totally isolated but I did spend alot of time singing and trying to stay upbeat and in the moment. Made it in off the day loop and then it was time for endless laps of the night loop.

And, what a loop! 9.5 miles, with 480ft of climbing. One short steep hill (which I only rode up about half the time), one longer steep grade (never walked that one), and an even longer grade (but shallower). 480 feet doesn't sound like too much, until you multiply it by 15 and realize that's almost 7500 feet of climbing. The first couple of laps there were people around, then the 12 hour racesrs stopped and things got quiet.

I did get a suprise gift. The awesome Sandy Earl came out and crewed for me. (She's going to rock RAAM on a recumbant in a few weeks). So, when I'd come in off a lap, she'd hand me some food, etc. Aound 5am I got tired. Really sleepy tired where my eyes were doing crazy unfocusness while riding and the Vivarin only gave me heartburn. I negotiated a 15 minute nap, which was perfect and I was able to rock out the final lap (as the light came up) and 3 bonus miles (to the base of the steep hill).

So.. all in all an okay day. Not a steller race, but a solid training race with enough crazy stuff happening to give me a good mental challenge (and 20 or so more ultracup points). My quads and hammys were totally thrashed Sunday/Monday but today I'm feeling tired but okay. Saturday I switch gears to my cross bike as I head to Kansas for the Dirty Kansas 200 miler gravel grinder (and Artemous heads to the shop to get his shifting cleaned up). Build her up and break her down, that's the plan for the next few weeks...

Ride on!