Jun 23, 2009

Cows, Bells and stewed. Welcome to the South

Somethings just get away from you if you aren't paying attention. Shirts mostly. Racing also. I just tallied up my season so far and the season to go, only to find out I've done 19 races as of this weekend. Those 19 races add up to 28 days of actual competing on the bike. It makes me wonder what the hell am I thinking? I think I only did about 26 races last year total. At this rate I'll be almost double by the end of the year.

Crap. Well I guess that that means this coming weekend at the beach is a well deserved break.
It'll be nice to sit back and not think about the night time trials, hill climbs, 100 mile races, xc races, chamois cream, drink mix, packing air, socks, clean kits, the other guys, air pressure entry fees and most of all leaving home. Well, I guess I'm leaving anyways.

Last weekend Jordan and I packed up the 5th Element and turned it south towards the hot hot hot south. Saturday was the USA Cycling Endurance Calender marathon race, the Cowbell Challenge. 50 miles of sweet roots and kick in the johnson climbs. Five climbs that are pretty short but back to back and steep enough to make you feel like you are doing 5 two minutes sprints at the end of each lap.

All in 95+ degree heat and 100% humidity.

The start saw Jafer off the front gunning it for the KOM points while I tried to stay relaxed and entered the single track 3rd or 4th. Taylor Sullivan put in some new technical rock boulder sections that were really fun, if you like squeezing your rear derailleur through some pinch points. Which I do.

So we got down to business, racing. With the heat I fugured I'd try to keep it dialed back to keep from vomiting and make it to the end. And I wasn't sure i'd make it to the finish at all. It could have been the fact i only rode my bike 3hrs the week before, or the heat, or the fact the Jafer and Aaron Oaks were putting the pressure on but I had serious doubts about my day finishing good. I decided that if I could make it to the half way point life might start looking better, and when we got to three laps to go, there was just me and Aaron who promptly attacked and put himself in the hole. So I figured the last two laps I might stay away if all works out.

Going into the last lap I pass Tim who says to me "otheryoulookingrealstrong." I couldn't really understand and thought he either said "You are looking stronger than the rest." or "There is a dude looking real real strong." Well I worried about that and kept looking back to see if I could eliminate one of the options from above. I thought I saw a streak in the single track but it's hard to tell since it's so twisty, but when I got to the bottom of the 2nd climb I looked back and there was Jafer coming after me as if I stole his dog. So instead of relaxing into the last three climbs I had to sprint as if I'd stole someones cellphone while they were talking on it.

Dizzy and done I finished almost a minute and a half up on Jafer, and I had no plan on racing the next day. Of course the pain and memory went away and no sooner did I eat a Ben and Jerry's cone, than I was ready to hit the start line.
The next day was a little cool temperature, but the competition has going to test my legs to the end. We started fast even though it was only 3 laps I was talking myself through the whole race. I made it through 2 laps in the top 5 group and felt pretty good as we headed out for the third and final round, but like a traffic accident, I was blindsided by an uncontrollable urge to stop pedaling, and my vision went a little funny.

Well I decided that I had put myself through enough, rode off the course towards the finish to turn in my chip and stopped at the car to drink something first. Then I sat there for a few minutes, Kyle and company drapped some wet cloth on me and I started to feel a bit better. I cheered on the racers as they went by and as I looked over at the start finish line I decided that the last thing I wanted to do was to have BRuce Dickman giving me a hard time for DNFing, which I hadn't done all year.

So I got back on the bike to finish the lap, and cool down. I went without my jersey and rode in bib glory. I actually like riding at the back of the pack sometimes as I 've expressed before. You get a chance to ride with new people, and there was Sam to keep me company. Thanks Sam. Then I caught Anina, the 2nd place female. 1st place was in sight 30sec up, so I couldn't go in front of her for fear of pulling her up, so I just sat behind her and tried to be encouraging for her to not give up. She didn't yell at me to leave her alone, so I just stayed there and watched the womens race from the course, which was really fun. Good job to both of them for battling to the end!

Colorado NExt week!