Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010 TSE - Day Three

Day three was going to be a tough one for us singlespeeders. A lot of road and a lot of flat early on. Not something I enjoy.

We woke up to some rain. Excellent. A lot of road and a lot of flat early on with rain. This will be 'fun'.

The course started at the campground and ended at the campground. We rode out a bit of the prologue course from day 1 and then came down the backside of the ridge and made our way towards Coburn. Rolled around in Coburn and towards the fisherman's trail (which we ride in the opposite direction in the W101). Then up a good jeep trail climb (which we also ride in the W101) and then to the carriage road (again... W101 course) to eventually the big climb of the day (don't recall it being in the W101). Big climb to the second aid station and, supposedly, 10 miles to go. I think it was more than 10miles from there on out. Up the climb we descended in the beginning to get up over the ridge and descend down into the campground.

Everything started out great. The rain stopped, but the trails were wet, and we had a good ride out of the campground. Upon entering the doubletrack Dicky was fooling around and had a good fall; skinning his left leg really good.

Shortly thereafter was a technical climb and I just couldn't hang with Greg. I couldn't ride this hard 30minutes into a race. I did what we all fear.. Got off the bike and walked a 10-20ft section. I needed to break up the monotony and, unfortunately, it came quite early. Back on the bike and Greg was gone.

Up and down over the ridgeline and onto some gravel and paved roads. Dicky and Dave caught up and the three of us rode for a bit. We'd pull away from Dicky on the descents but he'd be back with us on the next climb. The last, longer, descent I was able to pull away from the two of them as we rode down into the Coburn valley. Onto some wet, paved roads I was all by myself. Rolled into the aid station & refilled one bottle. Somewhere beyond the aid station I saw someone catching up to me. Wasn't sure who it was and it turned out to be Karen Potter. Little did I realized Dicky was close behind.

Up this short little incline on the road and Dicky came flying past me. I hoped on his wheel and followed him up the road as we left Karen. Across the crest of the road and down the backside I rolled away from Dicky. Karen caught back up and I did my best to draft her on what was now a wet dirt road (got lots of dirt in my eyes). We pulled away from Dicky and rolled into the fisherman's trail together.

I took the lead on the fisherman's trail and high tailed it; consequently pulling away from Karen. Out of the fisherman's trail and onto a decent climb. The first of two major climbs for the day. Having ridden this climb in the W101 (backwards relative to TSE) I knew how long it was. I found a cadence and my carrot (a red blur off in the distance) and kept at it. Pedal stroke after pedal stroke that red blur would get closer to me. Eventually I was able to make out who it was (can't see much at a distance without my glasses): Rebecca Rusch. I eventually caught up to her and passed her before cresting the top and rolling down the backside; pulling away from her.

Right turn onto a gravel road and rolled on more somewhat flat gravel roads until we found the even more flat, carriage road. Rebecca caught up to me and passed me as we entered the carriage road. Still no sign of Greg. I was hoping I could match Rebecca's pace and have her 'pull' me up to Greg as we'd roll down the carriage road but that didn't work out too well. I couldn't keep her pace as she shifted into high gear and took off. Needless to say I was left to pedal my singlespeed down this long, straight flat road all by my lonesome. Not a happy camper.

My time on the carriage road was spent with the red of Rebecca slowly fading off into the distance ahead of me and no one in sight as I looked over my shoulder to survey behind me. Not sure how much time passed but I rolled up to the tunnel. A volunteer was telling me to slow down and I eventually did, knowing there were huge boulders in this dark, earthen tunnel. We ride through this tunnel in the W101 but in the opposite direction and I remember there being some big rocks. Turns out the rocks were pushed aside and one could ride straight through the middle without any obstacles. If I knew that I would have kept my speed.

Through the tunnel and down a shorter section of the carriage road. Then across a narrow bridge.

Beyond this we eventually made our way to the biggest climb of the day. No sign of Greg ahead of me and no sign of Dicky behind me. I'm still riding all alone. Feeling pretty good I did exactly what I did on the last climb: found a good pace and stuck with it. Stood up and just kept turning those pedals. Standing with the fork locked out helped my pedaling a lot. Not much water left in my bottles but I felt good so I pushed it. Motoring up this climb I saw Rebecca again and worked to catch back up with her. I caught her as we rolled into the aid station at the top.

Supposedly it was 10more miles but it definitely felt a lot longer than that. I don't run a computer and just go by time via my watch. I was also quite tired from riding up the two big climbs rather quickly. Rebecca left me yet again as she could ride faster on the forest service roads as I could. I enjoyed the views when I did get some and just kept telling myself to keep on pedaling.

As I got closer and the terrain was becoming more familiar I realized we have to ride up the slippery and muddy descent we did early on in the day. We needed to get back up and over this ridgeline. Ugh.. Not looking forward to that. To throw another monkey wrench into the mix the sky opened up with a torrential downpour. I thought I heard thunder at times. The rain was coming down so fast and in such large quantities that the rain drops felt like bee stings as it hit my skin as I was flying down the forest service road. The water did help keep me cool but too cool. I was starting to shiver at times. ugh oh.

I eventually got to the last climb of the day. Still no one ahead of me and no one behind me. I hope Greg didn't put too much time into me today. I kind of figured I lost 1st overall and moved back into 2nd place and just tried to minimize the damages. This climb sucked. I couldn't gain any traction. I needed to stand up to pedal but my tire would spin out. I wound up walking the lower half and walking/riding the upper half.

Luckily I got back on the bike as I crested the top and Abe snapped this photo of me.

Over the top and across Sand Mountain Road. Home stretch!

Through the doubletrack/singletrack where Dicky spun out early in the race. Down the paved road to the campground. Couldn't catch anyone and no one caught me.

Finished the 45mile day in 2nd place singlespeed; 3hours and 49minutes.

Greg finished 1st singlespeed in 3hrs 34minutes. Ouch! 14minutes on me.

Dicky finished three minutes behind me.

Photo: Peter


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