30 miles. 30mph headwind. I thought it was going to be easy, it wasn’t.
I warned you about my babbling of the upcoming 24 hour race this coming weekend in Wilkesboro, NC. I have warned you it may not make sense and the babbling will help me prepare and go brain numb of the madness I’ll be putting myself through.
Ultimate Goals of the Burn 24 Hour
- Keep moving forward. Whatever that means, whenever it means, find the soul to move forward by pedaling or by foot. Keep moving.
- Stay hydrated. 90º on Saturday, humid, sticky and lots of climbing. Hydration, ice and maybe some ice pops!
- Don’t get hungry and then cranky. Whatever that means, do it. If I crave a latte in the middle of the night from the coffee guy setup, do it. Chicken nuggets from Wendy’s? Do it. Don’t go overboard and hurl, but stay fed and motivated to do laps. I plan on using food as motivation. “Two more laps and you can have that latte.”
- I don’t want to know where my competition is. It doesn’t matter. First, last, middle. The competition is with myself this year. Keep going around in circles.
- 15 laps seems doable. Average of hour and half laps. Last year I did 8 laps, one of my laps took like 9 hours. I slept, I sat and I didn’t keep going. Doubling last year is a goal but it is at the end of this list for a reason.
This Saturday was much of the same if you have an active family with kids, and you’re a cyclist wanting to get in a longer bike ride. I have a road bike to test out and review, a Raleigh Capri 4.0. There’s lacrosse games on the other end of the city. 50 miles by car, 48 miles by bike. The lacrosse game starts at 12pm, which means I need to leave around 8:30 in the morning to get there and changed in time.
Down 115 for about 19 miles.
Through Davidson and pass the Collier Lily ride.
Next is Cornelius, Huntersville.
Time trialing through the ghetto.
A quick photo of the skyline shot of uptown Charlotte.
Through Charlotte I roll.
Around 4th ward sending mental hello’s to Ben Wilson as I pass his flat.
A short cut down an alley with many memories.
The shock and amazement of all the parents that I RODE my BIKE there?
Just a side note, make sure to pack extra calories if you’re going to be there all day long pack more snacks! I got a bit cranky at the end of the day do to lack of food and a ton of sun.
Lately when I race and people ask how it was I simply can’t answer as I don’t feel like I am really racing. I feel like I’m riding around in circles, trying to find the next gear within my own. I’ve finished mostly last for the past year of my cycling life. I argue with myself that this place is better than not starting which I had been doing for the year prior. I struggle with the mental piece, knowing I am better than this, knowing that I am the puppet master and only allowing myself to fall.
Racing for the past year has been motivation. At the finish line when I knew I could have done better, that is motivation. I pay the race entry fee so that the other girl doesn’t come in last, and that I get a small kick in the ego…large enough to want more, but small enough not to do anything about it.
Doing Burn 24 Hour was this. There were moments on the trail I was questioning my sanity. Especially at 11:30pm when the roots were wet, my chamois was sweaty and my glasses were so fogged up from the humidity I was simply praying the whole 7 mile lap not to bust my face open.
I question why I slept for 5 hours. I question why I didn’t bring my full suspension bike with more “wet root friendly tires.” I question if I could have done 12 laps instead of 8. I question if my pit crew thought I was a pain in the ass and realize how much I appreciate them.
Looking back at this event I question myself, my strength and my will to do better in life.
Maybe that is the point of racing? To question yourself and everything that leads up to the moment. How else can you become better if you don’t question and change yourself?
As a human I try not to stress about the small things in life, only when I am highly intoxicated do I start to worry about all the things in life that I am juggling. A few days last week I started to stress out majorly about the upcoming 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
Worries are for Pussies
And I’m a pussy. Here’s a small list of things I stressed about over the course of the week prior to the race.
- Tire selection
- Gear selection
- Lack of riding in the mountains
- Lack of gears
- Lack of suspension
- Lack of pre-riding the course
- Girlfriend would be in the pit with a broken foot, could she make it to the bathroom…up the road..?
The car was packed, we were ready and in the car by 5:45am and at the gate (7th in line) waiting by 6:45am. 10 minutes from the course there was evidence of a rainstorm with puddles of rain on the road and limbs across the shoulders. Not good, not good at all.
Quickly, my trusty pit chief Kimberlee and I setup our spot that was to be shared with my team mate Melissa, her pit chief, Shelley, their dog Darby, a teammate racing solo, Stephanie, and Namrita/Eddie from Team Ergon Racing. Oh, you can’t forget Team Dicky who pit next to us but poached some grass from our pit area.
Stephanie and I pre-rode 2 miles of the course to see how much rain was left, and to contemplate switching tires or single speed gearing. I regrettbly forgot to do many things. 1. Put toe spikes on my shoes, 2. Switch tires, 3. Switch gears.
Actual Race Recap
This could be the hardest and stupidest thing I have done on a mountain bike in a long time. The first lap, which I happened to be doing for our team, was the hardest. The course is super fun and fast when dry. Tons of berms, switch backs and as long as you stay in front of your gear..it is great fun. For the 13 mile course I probably walked 4 miles. Most switch backs were so muddy and rutted by the time I got to them, my front tire would slip through and my gearing would cause rear tire slippage. I was simply left to walk up the short up hills.
My calves screamed.
My brain was frazzled.
It was not fun, at all.
By the time my lap was finished I was so mentally beat down that you couldn’t have paid me to get back on my bike that day. I’m not ready to be racing single speed or single speed fully rigid for multi lap racing. I’m also in better shape than this time last year, but that did not show up at the mud wrestling I dealt with.
I probably wouldn’t of done anything different. You learn from every race, and I can atleast say I didn’t quit. Yeah, I could have done another lap but I didn’t. I’m looking forward to having gears and some suspension in my future thanks to Airborne.
At the end of the day we came in 3rd place for our division at 6WC, not at all thanks to me. I owe that completely to Melissa my awesome partner in crime. A podium place, swag and a cool coffee mug. It could have always been worse… I didn’t crash or break anything!
The second race of my 2011 season was the NCCX #12 at the Wilkesboro Speedway right here in North Carolina. This race could be one of the coolest venue’s I’ve been to. Most of the course was found within the infield of the speedway and the rest was right out the back gate in a grassy field.
The Word of the Race : Mud
In North Carolina our weather is fairly mild and easy going, a few years ago in January I was racing cyclocross in short sleeves and 65º weather. The race earlier this month was the first time we had any type of weather. This race, we didn’t have any weather but instead we had thawing. Frozen ground gave way and by the time my CX4 race came around the “tractor pull” area became a slopfest. The pro’s made it look easier, but I walked slowly through the mud pit every time (maybe I should work on running in mud??)
Progress and Motivation
Dead last is better than not finishing or not starting, and ending last was atleast the motivation I needed for getting to the gym and active.
How’s your season going so far?
Photo credit : George Berger
This morning I attended my first cyclocross race of the year, and notably the first one in over a year and a half. There were two goals going into my women’s CX4 race, first was to finish and the second was not to be lapped. Going into the race I wasn’t too sure of the latter, I knew I could pedal around slowly for 30 minutes but to keep in front of all the other ladies is another story.
Prep Work and Bicycle Builds
Never build a bicycle days before a race without being able to ride it, never make major changes like gearing or tires with out being able to test ride. I tell this to every client and I’m telling this to you, are you listening? Well, I don’t listen to myself. I built my Raleigh singlespeed on Thursday, test rode on Friday. The gearing was way too tough, and so I changed the gearing on Friday night (the night before my race.)
Singlespeed Cyclocross am I Crazy?
This will be a follow up article, but you need to know the basics – I love riding single speed and very excited to expand on riding it in cyclocross races.
Go Time at the Races
I warmed up in a thick windstopper jacket and jeans over my bibs and knee warmers. It was cold, not as cold as Minneapolis but it was cold and I haven’t been riding outside to be broken in. When the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t blowing, it was bearable but when the wind blew and the sun went behind the clouds – it was HORRID. One jacket was dropped at the finish line, and my jeans with other jacket were stripped off at the start line. Then it was go time.
The race was basic, I started at the back, ended at the back and was passed by a great amount of the juniors then lapped by the guys in the single speed class. I didn’t want to do my last lap, I was within 45 seconds of being lapped at the finish line but thankfully a good friend was there to push me along.
Achieving what I set out to, not pulling off before the last lap, pounding on the pedals or walking up the hills. I’m proud. After the last three months and what has happened, I’m proud of myself and motivated. This is the perfect way to kick off the season and I can’t wait until the next race in 8 days!
It is easy to say that 2010 for me was one of changes, mental rearranging and finding my footing in the end. I have many hopes going into 2011 for life and more specific cycling. Some of my goals are more basic than others but by mid 2011 I hope to have my feet under me going forward quickly!
A Rough Sketch of 2011 Cycling Season
- Riding in the near year with the New Years Day Tarheel Trailblazers MTB ride
- NC Cyclocross Races in January – What better way to dip my toe back in to riding than race it out?
- 6 Hours of Warrior Creek MTB Race – April 2, 2011
- 6 Hours of Grind on the Greenway MTB Race – Sometime in May?
- Rivers Edge MTB Marathon - Sometime in late August?
- Cyclocross in the fall – lots of it. Hoping for the NC and parts of the MSG, Tennessee, series
There are other key notes for the 2011 season
#1 Losing Weight
Putting down the Krispe Kreme donutes, putting down the fork after a serving, drinking less “frappe-latte-caramel-whip” coffee’s. Drinking more water, packing more lunches and potentially tracking calories
#2 Hitting the Gym
Rising at 5am, getting in the car and off to the gym. Atleast 3 days a week, if not more
#3 Riding the Trainer
This will be the hardest, but I plan on riding the trainer during the week atleast 30 minutes to an hour a day
#4 Getting Back on the Road
Finding a couple slower group rides, or dragging out my girlfriend into the cold. I need to get back on the road, I need to for my soul.
Gulp. I need to get back on the horse, and now with a new announcement of being a “sponsored commuter” I’m going to have to get on that horse!!
There are other thoughts and feelings in the back of my mind. Goals that aren’t said. Maybe I’ll race on the road again. Maybe I’ll make that yoga class at lunch during the week. Maybe just maybe, 2011 will be a year of progress and reformation.