Jul 9, 2007

A Joke, A Race and another Race



A fairly well known man walks into a bar and asks one of his admirers if he's ever read his blog. Flustered and experiencing Blog Paranoia he answers "Yes". "I don't have a blog!" answers the questioner.
Blog Guilt
It exists.

Anyhow,
Let me tell you about the Firecracker 50. What a great race. It started with us leading out the 4th of July parade past thousands of people lining the streets of Breckenridge. They cheered, we chatted and as our group of 30 pro's came to the last light in town and our left hand turn up the first 8 mile climb (10,800 ft total in the race), the sprinting started. Nat Ross went off the front, and then came back. But the group got smaller and smaller and I felt like things were going pretty good as I stayed with the front group. Then about the time we hit the gravel section I might as well have been riding through thigh high pudding. I couldn't breath, my legs wouldn't go and groups of riders just started to peel past me.
I tried to stick a few wheels but felt like a dyslexic at a spelling bee. 30 minutes in and I thought all was lost. So much for goals and planning. When Christian Ball came by with his encouraging words I think my response was a four letter word for sex. But then Nat Ross came around, the trail got a little more level and a prediction of my sister's nagging disappointment fueled me to keep going. How could I let her down since she came all the way out here to see and support me. So I dug in. Kept a steady but not blistering pace up the second steep climb and started to real people back in, one at a time.
The downhills were mostly washed out jeep roads at about -18% grades. Braking too much was as dangerous as going to fast. But it was a relief from the climbing, and gave me a chance to recover. My sister was waiting at aid station 2, just before the biggest and burliest climb of the day, Little French. It was relatively short but with long sections of 16% grade. As I grabbed a bottle from Nicole, I couldn't even muster a thank you. She told me I was 30th something and all I could do was stare ahead. Josh, my host, was there and told me later, that I looked so bad that he exchanged that "oh shit" look with my sis.
At the bottom of Little French I stuck it in the little ring and set a metronome pace, slowly picking off one person at a time. And that is the general story of the day. Rock the downhills and stay steady on the ups. In the end I managed an 8th place finish, which I suppose is good, but still a little disappointing, when I think about the time and money I invested in this race. I've never committed so completely to one race, and therefore I was probably bound to be less than satisfied with anything less than 1st. I'm my own best Hater.
Oh well.
To rub my bruised ego and hopefully make a little money, I went to NJ Sunday to do the DarkHorse Gallop. Traveling right hand man Topher made the trip with me to Stewart State Forest for some fun and fast trail riding in the Campmor Series race. I decided to sit in and protect the tired legs, and from the start found myself with Troy Wells and Ed Ceccolini for the first three laps.Troy did a lot of the work, then Ed and on occasion I got up front, but each time someone came around me. It was a fun race with the three of us going back and forth, but in the 4th lap Ed attacked and my chasing dropped Troy but I also lost sight of Ed. He pulled away and all I could do in the heat was stay the course and hope Fast Eddie faded. And sure enough at the end of lap 4 I caught the man and pulled away slowly, but never comfortably. I had two bottles placed in trees for my feed but as I came by them they were on the ground so each time I had to stop and pick them up.
Tho I was running for my life, I was never able to get far away from Ed, and in the end there was only a 30 sec gap between the two of us. And my heat exhaustion was coming on. Still it was nice to do well and the race was really fun and well run. Good job guys.
Oh and Georgia Gould came and raced the mens race, and was only 5 min behind wich was good enough for a 4th place. She's fast.

1 comment:

mike d said...

harlan,
thanks for coming out to the darkhorse gallop. it was great to meet you and topher. glad you picked up a couple bills! keep the faith bro!

mike d