Monday, February 27, 2012

Late winter racing...

Whew…after 4:20minutes, missing the cutoff and the top loop of the course, I arrived at the finish line of the Southern Cross 50 (32miles for me) cyclocross race completely shattered, and very very happy. This race is in Georgia, and Drew and I figured it would be a nice early season hard effort.

I knew I was lacking on bike skills. I am also having difficulty getting my focus this season. I intentionally am taking until June pretty easy with no races longer than half-IM and lots of recovery time… but the fire is not in my belly yet. It’s more smoldering embers that are threatening to go out. I also had a week of work travel and no training right before the race, let’s call it a taper. I arrived at the start already tired, and really nervous. The last time I had ridden K (my classic Kestral CSX mountain bike) on a trail I tore up the rear derailleur and the snow in Denver has made the trails unridable, so while I had butt time in I did not have really any off road time.

But, start lines happen and before I knew it the whistle blew and we were off. The race starts with a mile of “cross” course with a barrier, some steep hills, and a mud section but this part wasn’t too bad since there were some 200 people… they couldn’t make it too technical. Then off to the roads. Asphalt at first, then gravel. Lots and lots of uphill. I went to that place where I was breathing heavily, but manageably, and stayed there. First hour went by at mile 8… oh yeah, I was tearing this course up! Mile 10 we hit the steep stuff, completely red-lined, and got off the bike and started to walk. Finally hit the top and the cutoff point at 2:30, mile 12.5, and after the cutoff. The option was to cut off the top loop, and continue on the course. So, down the big gravelly road I went. This was actually pretty cool, because I was now mid-to-upper-pack and could see how the fast folks were handling the course.

Mile 30, pretty tired. Turn back into the winery. Down a grassy hill, to a road, and then the flagging goes straight UP. Guys at the bottom are offering beer. Off the bike and trudge up, barely moving. They next 2 miles were killer. Steep climbs, no energy, completely spent. Through a little stream and I just didn’t care how wet my feet got… even had to walk a little grassy incline at the end. I was shattered.

Drew finished a respectable 21st in his category in 3:50 and was pretty pleased with his race...

This race was perfect for me. I was in no way competitive, but I did put everything I had out there and it was great to race at my max instead of the steady forever pace I usually work with. It reinforced the message that I am in NO shape today, and the only place I can go is up. I think I need to find some more short stuff for the spring, some trail 5Ks would be great, or maybe even some more mountain bike racing. And, it reinforced that it is time to find my focus. No more skipping workout or making excuses… with RATS in June and a Quintuple in the fall it is time to lay the foundations for success…

Time to focus!