Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pity Party at Falling Creek Bedford County

Today was the VA Derailler Series race at Falling Creek Park in Bedford County


First I want to say how impressed I am with Kenny Palmer and Bedford County. They are really putting a lot into mountain biking and are poised to become an epicenter of mountain biking in this area. Sweet trail, picnic shelter, water misters, high tech water fountains, bathrooms (soon!), a section devoted to stunts and coming soon...a pump track. And a new trail system planned in Montvale.

They have the perfect game plan for developing new riders and a mountain biking community. Fun trail that is both fast to challenge experienced riders but yet still not so over the top technical or so hard as to discourage new riders. Combine this with features that appeal to teens such as a pump track and stunts and you create new mountain bikers. Bikers who will start as beginners and progress to higher levels and then start travelling to more races.

You can tell that they have put an enormous effort into developing their trail system and they devoted budget and manpower to putting on a race. Cheers to that. Mountain Bike racing is such a niche sport we are so priveledged to have people to devote energy and municipalties who believe in it enough to put money into it to create events to go to.

Unfortunately for me it was a bad day on the bike. A berrry berry bad day. But don't think I'm upset. Not in the least. This was the first bad race I've had in like 4 years. Unlike about 10 years ago where every race was just a discouragement. Getting through days like today carries much more weight than a podium I think. These days go into your little bank of experiences and they earn more interest that good days. Finishing in last place when you just want to pack it in is a feather in your cap. Though, it'd be nice to not look like a chief!

Sometimes you don't know if something is working until you break it. And you don't know how to make something better until you do it wrong.

My start was typically slow but I could tell something wasn't right from partway into the first lap. I just couldn't get my legs underneath me and put together anything.

Each successive corner just kept shutting down my momentum and made just that much harder to get back up to speed. Kudos to CP who won the overall today. This course totally rewards a smooth rider who can maintain their momentum through the day. Saving a little bit of time on each corner, each root, each rock is what makes fast times. However, the downside is that having an off day can penalize you exponentially. I just got into this downward spiral.

Not much was going right. My head wasn't there, my heart wasn't there the legs weren't there and not even my trusty Sportlegs helped dig me out of the hole. Kenny even had Sportlegs on the prize table. I thought for sure that would be motivation to get on it.

Even the climbs felt bad, which usually I do ok on. I felt like I was fighting the bike too on the corners.

So out in the middle of the trail I'm having my own little pitty party. Without any guests to commiserate with. There is NO one around as I wasn't making any time on anyone in front of me, and couldn't stay on the wheel of anyone who passed me. So what to do. The only time I saw someone was when the course doubled back on itself. But this was actually worse because you'd think that you might have a shot of catching someone upon seeing them, but they were really about 5-10mins ahead of you.

I had only had a few things going for me. A smile and my food ticket that was waiting for me. And the kind people marshalling the course and handing out water.

There were so many opportunities to just cut the course and head home. I so wanted to just walk across the creek and head to the tent or pack it in at the 1st lap, and the 2nd lap...

Can't just sit here on the trail. I'd never get home then. Not much to do but just man up and ride the 3 laps.

Not exactly sure what went wrong today.Not excuses just trying to find out how to not repeat the mistake.

It was hot . I had been well acclimated to the heat from our earlier heat wave. Bu then we got a run of cool weather and must have lost it. Sometimes the heat can just shut you down, several people I talked to experienced the same kind of total body shutdown. I had goosebumps upon finishing and was definitely dehydrated.

I thought I'd planned a great peak for today but I may have blown it on Poor Mountain earlier this week. That was a great great run and it didn't even feel that hard so maybe I used up my legs w/o really knowing it. But I'll take that run up Poor mountain and put it into my bank as it rocked.

Also I've got a lot on my mind right now and without good focus it is easy to just shut down.

Terrain wise this course wasn't what I normally ride and I have been focusing on hillclimbing lately. It was a phyical course, I feel like I've done 1000 pushups. And my back. oh my back hurts worse than Douthat.

I had a funky eggroll on Wednesday at the deli near Poor Mountain also.... You never know.

So anyway. get out to Bedford and check it out. Thanks Kenny.

Finally I think I've got some sort of mild cold that is in the background.


At 3:12 PM, Blogger Mark said...

It can only make you stronger :)

At 12:10 AM, Blogger paul said...

Just a thought - maybe it's time to lay off the Sportlegs. I've been reading your blog for a while and it almost seems that they are as much a part of your training as riding your bike.

Is it possible your body is forming a dependence?

Perhaps a banana will do...

Just a thought.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger ashwinearl said...

That's a good point, but I don't think I use them that much. Typically only in races which are few/far between and on some selected hard rides. So maybe once/twice every 2 weeks.

I've felt their positive effect and contrasted what it feels like without them (in race like situations) enough times to believe in them very much.

I would have cramped for sure this weekend w/o them.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have all had those days. I often feel like packing it in entirely with racing during the race, but an hour after, I think I have things figured out, and I am fired up for the next race. It is usually something I did earlier in the week, the biggest mistake I make is riding two days out. I should know by now, Friday is ALWAYS a rest day. If I ride that day, I have a very sub par day, guaranteed.

All part of the experience.KevB

At 5:27 PM, Blogger K_man said...

You could have been fighting a bug or like you said the sudden return to hot weather.
Hats of to you for hanging tough, it's harder to suffer in the back than to suffer near the front.
At least up front, you see the results of your labor.
That course sounds fun.

I just signed up for a race in a couple of weeks. Time to kicked it up a bit!



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