Well, I did the Massanutten Hoo Ha yesterday. Whew, that was a tough tough course.
My warmup started on Sat. Even though the weather was ok, just sprinking, I actually wanted to ride on the trainer. I did an 30 mins then 5x1 intervals at 320+watts. Sometimes I was up to 350 and 360 watts. I felt really strong, and being on the trainer allowed me to just daydream, visualize, and put my head down and grind the intervals.
Woke up at 6am and got ready on Sun. I'd packed the day before and just had to eat breakfast and load the cooler. I had an egg sandwich and water. I made some iced coffee to drink 1 hr before the race. Was able to go the bathroom several times, which is important for me.
Drive went fine, had to pull over a couple of times to go to the bathroom and was trying to drink water during the drive. Made it in 2.5 hrs. Talked to Todd Reighly and his friend Skip for a few minutes. Didn't see anyone else from Blacksburg up there. Registered and got all suited up.
I brought some thinner socks to wear with my cycling shoes and I only ended up putting the right one on. I wonder how I looked with one grey sock and one white sock. Maybe I should make that my trademark.
I took 3 Endro caps 1hr before the race. Started my warm up 30 mins before the race. 10 mins easy, 5 mins at zone 4, then 3x1 min intervals. I hightailed it back to the start and everyone was already lined up. I got in with the other sport vets, it took at least 10 more mins till we went off.
Off the start, I felt awesome, passed bunch really easily, made it onto the first climb and was just spinning a big gear. Moving up fine. My legs felt fantastic. The first part was lots of single track, technical with buried baby head rocks. I had the Mythos XC on the rear with 40 psi. I think a little less would have been better. I slipped out a bunch on some wet rocks but much less than if I'd had the Conti on there.
So I was slowly passing some people, doing fine, and made it to the paved road climb and passed a few more, including, I think, the first place vet sport guy.
But when we hit the ridge, I lost it. It is so technical that I lost all rhythm and I don't have the skill or power to muscle up those rocky sections. The ridge was hard, and I just did my best to make it through it. The last thing I needed was to land on my knee on some rocks, so I really gave up on trying to ride a lot of the technical rock gardens. That and I'd been pushing my legs too hard early on in the race and I knew I was going to fry them if I tried to muscle up them. But I did ride some parts pretty well.
After the ridge was some downhilling. I felt fine on the downhills. Not sketchy, in control, but that also means I was pretty slow. I got passed a bunch on the downhills. It's okay with me. I wish I was a tad faster, but it was SO rough, I'm glad I didn't crash.
I'd been trying to take Hammer Gel ever 1/2 hour and Enduro caps every hour. At 1:38 into it I got my first leg cramp. Not too debilitaling but you have to just shut down and noodle. It didn't feel too bad. And they kept coming off and on till the end of the race. I was so pissed about the cramps, I thought with those Enduro caps I'd had it beat. But training is nothing compared to racing. My speculation is that my training is no where near as hard as racing, and also that I'd been pushing bigger gears earlier in the race because I'd felt so good. Oh well.
One time I had a total quad leg lockup trying to walk up this hill. After that one went away I was lit up. Even so, with the cramps and all, I still had some strong legs. I cleaned several hills that others were walking.
Always try and climb even if someone else is walking. It is so easy to succumb to the mob mentality and lose heart when you see someone else walking. It's like you've already got your excuse. So it felt good to clean a bunch of those grunts.
Man that course is just hard. Rocks everywhere.
Hard to get a rhythm going. And it is just a never ending course. Man where is the finish. Left here, right there, where the hell are we. Finally I could hear the finish line and barely see it through the trees. I had a HUGE smile on my face to be finished with that race.
Like always I smiled and thanked every worker, marshall and spectator I could. And went up to George Willets, the organzier and thanked him.
5th place Mens Sport. 2:37 overall time. They called out the top 5 and I got to go stand up front and I even got a medal. Ansel was so thrilled to see me with the medal. I was so stoked. It is amazing what that finish did for my moral. 5th place in a small regional race, and a little 5$ medal, and I'm on top of the world. On the flip side, I just need to accept the fact that I don't have the ability to hang with the experts right now.
Though at one point I was winning the Vet sport race, and if I can just figure out these cramping issues, I know I could have been on the podium.
the other success, was that I maintained focus on this race better than I ever have in the past. There was no inner dialouge about next seasons' training and crap like that.
I had a few lines from the Who's Tommy going in my head.
-Tommy can you hear me,
Tommy doesn't know what day it is, he doesn't know who Jesus was or what Praying is, how can he be saved, from the eternal grave.......
and some other lines, over and over and over.
Plus sometimes I'd repeat the mantra
-He's right around the corner
over and over. I learned that from Kurt Kabica at Davis.
After the race, I was spent. My stomach hurt, my head hurt, everything hurt. Today I am really sore. But it's all good because that means that I gave a lot to the race where in the past I know that I haven't pushed as much as I know I could.
So now what. There was supposed to be a race Aug 29 at Mountain Lake but it looks like it is cancelled. And then there are no series races until Oct 3rd and Oct 10. There are also some other things in Sept.
But the big dilema for me, is that if I start lifting after the Oct races, it puts me in the endurance phase right in January which is just crap for weather around here. And I know I just won't be able to do a good job with it. So I can start lifting now, and be doing endurance work in November when you can still ride and then do indoor work during the worst 2-3 months. and then be ready to go April.
I need to hire a coach for some consultation. I'm so sick of guessing and second guessing my self.
Anyway that's it for now.