Monday, August 13, 2007

That's the one with the sand, right??

Yeah, that's Ore to Shore.. the one with the sand. Lots of sand.. And where there isn't sand, there's more sand.

Have I ever mentioned that I hate sand?

And yet, somehow, this was probably one of the most fun races I've ever competed in. I guess it doesn't hurt that my training this year has been nearly non-existant, and so my expectations weren't terribly high, though I was shooting for a 3:15 finish time which would have put me in the top 10. As it is, I eeked in the top 20 with a 3:28 finish. But the most amazing thing was how good I felt through the whole race!

The morning started too early. I was hardly able to sleep the night before as a combination of nerves and Adams inhuman snoring kept me very alert. My nutrition plans were woefully lacking (surprise, surprise..) so my breakfast consisted of a peanut butter and honey sandwich, and the free Amino Vital water they handed out at registration. I tried to eat a little bit of a poppyseed muffin, but by this time it was close to start time, and my stomach was not very happy with me.

I saw my dad off as he started the 28 mile Soft Rock. His first race ever. Way to go Pop!! Still feeling pretty bad, I got over to the Hard Rock start and got a spot in the 3:30 to 3:10 seeded starting grid. I noticed Little Mike was several riders ahead of me in the 3:00 finish spot. Cheater.. >:( (j/k)

The start was fast and furious. Well, for the single speeders anyway. About 2 miles of rollout on pavement in 36x17 makes for one hell of a spinfest. I was grabbing every wheel I could to try to draft my way out of town. The combination of no warmup and then the furious spinning and tucking lead to some bodaciously stiff legs by the time we hit the dirt!! I just tried to keep spinning at a resonable pace, passing as many as I could as easily as I could so I didn't have to hammer too much until my legs could get some decent blood flow going.

Adam caught up to me just prior to the Power Line climb, and we both caught Little Mike. By now my legs had settled in, so I pressed on and made it over the Power Line with little problem. I was managing my heart rate really well through this whole race. I knew my lack of training and poor eating set me up for a spectacular Bonk!, so it was going to be crucial to manage my energy well.

Some time after the Power Line came Misery Hill. I remember seeing it off in the distance. One crazy, rocky, sandy climb, and a string of bikers, bikes shouldered, winding there way up like so many ants. I'm not sure if the leaders rode this bastard or not, but if so, my hat's off to them. I hopped off at the base and started the trek up.. I thought I might pass a couple on the climb, but my legs had other ideas. So I just patiently climbed to the top and away we went.

It was some time soon after that I caught up to Erin. I'd pretty much resigned myself to the fact that Erin was going to crush me in this race, so I was pretty psyched to see her on the trail. It was also great to see a friendly face out there. She was great, we're both suffering out there, and she had nothing but great, encouraging words for me!! I was feeling pretty strong, so I pressed on along with another single speeder, Lyle, from the Bare Knuckle Brigade.

We chatted a bit on one of the flat sections after Misery Hill. The BKB have a pretty bad ass kit. Check'em out here. By the time we hit the all out speed fest on Route 510, I latched onto some gearies in a pace line and dropped Lyle (for the time being... )

Following the glorious downhill was a three tiered road climb. I powered past most of the folks I'd descended with on the first climb. Some of them rode back into me on the second, and by the third I was just saving my legs. Just as I was hoping to make it to the top of the hill with my lungs still firm planted INSIDE my chest, I hear a cheerful "C'mon Soup!!".. Erin had drafted her way back up to me. I made a half hearted attempt to catch her wheel, but she sped by so fast, and I knew that over exertion now could spell disaster later on, so I let her go. Oh well, at least I glimpsed greatness.. ;)

TO BE CONTINUED.... (I'm getting carpal tunnel!!)



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