Monday, September 14, 2009

I already paid to race so why not race.

I wasn’t planning on racing LOTOJA, I had already canceled rooms, my longest ride in the past month was two hours, but I decided to do something I’ve never really done at a race. Just ride for the fun of riding.

I think my laid back attitude was a little too laid back. It started off by missing the start of the race. I got to the start only watch what I didn’t know at the time was my group round the corner. I wasn’t too worried knowing the propensity of the cat 5’s to race hard from the go and catch a lot of the other groups ahead of them, and the official told me to go ahead and head out solo anyway. I took a pretty easy pace down the road and could see a group just ahead of me. I had no idea what group it was but decided I needed to catch them before they made the turn north and the neutral roll-out ended. I caught them right after the turn and to my surprise I found my start group. I quickly found the Trop brothers and we started the long race together.

Right after Preston Don and I found ourselves separated from Dennis and slowed down as we waited for Dennis to catch up to us. We soon found ourselves pretty much alone as we started toward the climb up Strawberry, once we reached Strawberry I decided to push myself and see how I felt. I told Don I would wait for them at the feed zone and pushed up toward the feedzone.

Don came through not long after me and we waited a few minutes for Dennis. As we started toward the final climb of the canyon we noticed a group of relay riders coming through. Don and I both knew this was our chance to catch a ride and have a strong group of riders help push through the wind. We jumped on and enjoyed the ride into Montpellier, it was all I could do to hang on. I did come through for a pull but that lasted about 10 seconds before one of the relay riders decided I was going to slow and came around. I was pretty spent coming into Montpellier and wanted to quit. Kim and Sara convinced me to keep riding with Don and we started toward Geneva Summit. My legs were pretty gone by this point and before hitting the real climb I had already dropped off the back of Don’s wheel. He looked back at me and I just waived him on. I figured I’d just take an easy pace into Afton where my day would end.

About 100 feet from the summit my legs started to feel good. I got my second wind and pushed things a little harder. I found Kim and Sara parked off the side of the road just before the feedzone and told them I was done. They again convinced me to push on as the feedzone was just ahead. I did, and stopped at the feedzone for a while and Dennis caught me. We worked together leaving the feedzone and I told Dennis I would wait for him at the top. My legs felt good climbing Salt River and I waited a few minutes for Dennis at the top. Unfortunately, Dennis was pretty spent and didn’t stay with me on the decent. Just before Afton a group of riders came through with Dennis at the back and I latched on.

Again at Afton I tried to quit but everyone convinced me to just ride to Alpine with Dennis. But on the first climb out of Afton the group we had caught dropped Dennis and that was the last time I saw him. I got into Alpine and at this point who wants to quit? The hard part is over and I continued on and caught Jared just before the feed zone at Hoback.

Jared and I decided to ride together and at this point my left calf was cramping and I knew I had pulled something in my right leg. I did what I could to trade pulls with Jared and he was kind enough to do most of the work.

After the bike path a group of about 15 riders caught us I went with them. I did feel bad about leaving Jared but wasn’t sure how the wind would affect the ride toward the village turn off. Soon after the village turn off the pace of the group picked up, attacks went off and were countered and since there was no one in my group I decided just to float off the back and enjoy the ride in. Not long after that Jared caught me and we continued riding to the finish. At the 500 meter mark I spotted two guys taking it easy into the finish. With all apologies to Jared, it seemed that this was too much for the competitor in me. I geared up and took off for the finish making sure I had enough speed that neither of the two riders could catch on as I rode past and finished hard just under 12 hours. I couldn’t believe I just rode 206 miles with pretty much no training.

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