Sunday, September 30, 2007

Vermont 50

Awesome camping weather. It dipped down in the upper 30s Saturday night and didn't get much beyond 60 during the day on Sunday. I slept like a baby but it was tough waking up at 5:30am to get ready. Race started at 6:20am.

From the get-go I'm off the front hanging with the top singlespeeders (Andy Sanidas, Thom Parsons and Greg Montello) and feeling pretty good. This lasted probably 10 or 15 miles until Thom and Andy started pulling away. Meanwhile, Greg was yo-yoing back and forth. The first half of the course is difficult in that its a constant up or down with no place to recover. By Gavin Hill (mile 20) I realized I'm at full bore, behind on fueling and losing power on the climbs. Felt like I was coughing up a lung. Heart rate felt super elevated. Strength was sucked from my legs.

Climbing up Garvin Hill into the summit aid station 4 I caught up to Bruce. [I ride with Bruce every Wednesday. He started in the wave 5mins ahead of me (with gears).] While I was refilling my waterbottle I saw Greg eating some cookies. Was I riding that fast to hang with him? Or was he just not feeling well?

Bruce, his buddy Dave and I bombed down Garvin hill and rode together for a while. Chatted about La Ruta. Chatted about Dave riding a 1x9 rather than 1x1. I was able to recover slightly but not enough to hold strength on the climbs. Every climb I felt helpless and wound up running/riding them. More running than anything else. This is not good if I wanted to stay in the top 5 SS and beat my 5hr goal.

Somewhere between mile 20 and 30 Greg caught back up and brought with him a few other SSers. They all passed me as I'm trying to run up yet another steep incline. I couldn't react to their passing me while consequently feeling pathetic. What happened? Did I start to hard? Did I not get enough rest prior to the race? Was it being anaerobic for close to 3hours? Needless to say I got myself together as best as I could and mustered on at whatever pace felt sustainable. I tried to eat and drink but couldn't get my heart rate down. "Follow Bruce and Dave. They're setting a good pace. Try to recover the best you can."

Rolled into the aid station around mile 31. Refilled my bottle and kept the on pushing with Bruce and Dave. Here comes some singletrack! What a nice relief from the gravel roads and double track. I followed into the singletrack but eventually went around them and pushed on off the front. I was able to get my heart rate down some and started feeling better. Ate and drank some more. Didn't put too much of a gap for the three of us rolled into the next aid station within seconds of each other. Refilled the bottle. Why as I carrying two if I kept refilling and drinking just one? Perhaps I'm used to 20mile aid stations rather than less than 10miles apart.

Rode hard and fast trying to catch back up to the next singlespeeder along with anyone else on the course. I knew the last 3 miles of the race were, effectively, straight up the Ascutney Ski Resort so I did my best to conserve some energy while riding hard through the next 8 miles. I kept catching and passing people but no singlespeeders. Argh! To keep myself from staying positive about not catching any SSrs I'm started playing games in my head. Focus on the race against the clock! Try to get to the finish prior to the 5hr mark (11:20am). Rolled through the last aid station at mile 47. NO refilling bottles. I still have a 2nd I haven't touched...

Argh. 3 more miles to go and I'm now at 5hrs. Damn!. I turned my 34x20 over as fast as I could going up that ski slope. Noticed a geared rider at about the same pace so I latched onto his wheel and let him pace me. We chatted and cheered each other on. Bombed any descents. Carried as much speed as possible up the rollers. Now the game is minimize the time defect on 5hrs. Oh, and catch any singlespeeders. Still none! Argh!

Exit out of the woods. Left hand traverse onto the ski slopes... Made the last left turn and started coming down the ski slope with my hands no where near the brake levers. Uh oh! They changed the last couple hundred feet. Instead of a sweeping right turn under the lift it was a HARD right turn over this roller. Well, I went wide; didn't feel like slamming on the brakes and broke through the red course tape. Immediately swung back onto the course as fast I could without slowing down. Didn't want to get disqualified with 50 yards left in a 50 mile race. Broke through more red tape to get back on course and flew across the finish line.

5hrs 13minutes! That's 37minutes faster than last year!

10th singlespeed out of 31ish

A little over a 1:30 behind 9th SS. 4th SS through 10th SS is all within 8minutes! With how I was feeling at the end I could have probably climbed up further if the race was longer (62miles? 75miles?).

63rd overall out of a couple hundred (500? 600?)

All in all... Not bad considering last year I was around 6hrs and 15th singlespeed.


Blogger Andy said...

lots of hills packed into those 50 miles!

10/02/2007 5:35 AM  
Blogger mandi and joey said...

great job at vt 50. hey you won something in raffle!!! you won a entry into an ultra adventure race here in wv. the race went super. lots of happy folks having fun on there bikes. thanks for selling all those tickets, that was awesome. peace. joey.

10/07/2007 7:02 PM  

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