Tuesday, June 07, 2005

EFTA #3, Bradbury Mtn Challenge

Wow. This one didn't go exactly as planned...

Had a super-relaxing day with Jenn on Friday, we met-up with Rob, Stacey and Olivia Follansbee in Boothbay that evening, then pretty much did nothing except relax, which was great break from - well, everything. Rob and I went for a 75-90min ride on Saturday to stretch the legs for Sunday and while my legs didn't feel stellar, they felt good enough to have a decent race. A 15min "ice-bath" in the ocean was a nice way to cool-off and prep the legs for the race too - cool (the pun is intentional) benefit of being invited to stay in Boothbay! Never thought i'd be happy that the Maine ocean is so damn cold. Anyway, the Follansbee's place was fantastic, sitting right on the water in a secluded ocean cove... and Jenn and I got another lesson on life with children - good training for us as we plan our family... olivia is very cute, smart and endearing, but she is also 2 years old and that equals a lot of work for Rob and Stacey - but they do a great job of alternating who's hanging with her and who's taking some downtime... like i said, good lessons from the Follansbees for us.

So, to cut to the race, everything felt good in the morning, my legs felt good, the sun was beating-down, but in our (Rob, Jason Achlich and his buddy) warm-up everything seemed okay (heat-wise). After the start I moved into 3rd or so in Expert Senior II and while it kinda felt like i was riding with the brakes on (my rear disc brake rotor is rubbing a bit - need to buy a new one or get it flattened-out 'cuase it's pissing me off), I was confident I'd be in the front of Senior II for the entire race. By mile 2, my stomach cramped-up (3rd race in a row!) and it was hard to breath. I had to let guys by while I stretched it out - but was still confident I could reel them in when i pushed through the cramp - at this point I didn't realize it had to do with the heat and not what i ate for breakfast... By mile 4, the cramping was reduced enough i could push again and began moving back-up. Then i just started melting. Everytime my heart rate would go up, my head would feel on fire and then my legs would just turn to jello... then i'd ride easier for 10mins, someone would go by, i'd grab their wheel and speed-up, feel okay, then 2-3mins later just fall apart again. Over and over and over. It was horrible. I wanted to drop-out, but you just can't, you know? By the start of the 2nd lap, i didn't know or care what place i was in and was focused simply on conserving strength and making it to the end of the race as my body was screaming "STOP", but my mind was telling me to "push through it punk!"

For the next half of the race, Jenn dumped water on me as i passed through the center of the figure 8 the course cuts (6miles of rooty singletrack on one side and 5miles of rocky, hilly stuff on the other) and I'd be able to rev the engine for a couple mins before overheating and falling apart. By the last 5 miles of the course I was vomiting, my legs were cramping bad and had to walk some climbs. Very, very humbling stuff. I've never had trouble in the cold as I train outside year-round, but have consistently needed time to acclimate to heat - and was concerned going into this weekend... and for good reason. After the race, as I laid in the fetal position, throwing-up everytime i moved, i thought, man, i'm screwed! I'm never going to be ready for dalton... my mental outlook was bad... but thankfully jenn was there to say the right things, help pack-up my stuff and my body - as i could barely move much less drive. I was dieing of thirst, but couldn't drink anything as i'd just get sick again... but 2hours after we left, when jenn got us into medford, i felt better and grabbed a 2-liter of ginger-ale. An hour later and 5lbs of giner-ale down the hatch, i was almost a new man. jenn made a great recovery dinner, then good foods for lunch and dinner the next day - all great ways to recover. She's been really awesome through this...

When i began writing this blog yesterday, my head was in a bad place - felt like i has missed a couple key endurance workouts to be ready for EFTA races and having things go wrong on Sunday just threw me off-kilter... but then on my ride home yesterday, the clouds of doubt melted-away. My legs were strong and i was happy to be riding. The weeks of cold rain that had begun to burn me out have been replaced with plenty of sunshine. It would have been nice to finish in the top 5 of Senior II at Bradbury and score some NECS points again, but oh well, them's the breaks. You can't win everytime (unless you're Edwin Moses and he was a hurdler, not a mtbiker!).

Now it's all about getting some quality rides in over the next 10 days, then taper for 10 into Dalton. I have a good plan worked-out and am listening to my legs to adjust as needed (rob's usual advice to me, which is always good). I've begun riding in the mornings now as well, which is an interesting change... a good change. Summer's here. Snuck-up on me, but it's here!


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