Just 99 miles to go

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

SM100 2011

3rd DNF at this dumb race.
2 days after the race and my legs are still killing me.
I might have quit at AS4, but by god, I gave it my all this time.
Starting to have a few doubts at the moment. I keep wondering if I had continued would the cramps have gotten better and went away or would all that damn food I was eating finally metabolize and give me some energy back.
Oh well.
Like I've heard the only things we really regret are the things we didn't try.

So the official report. I'm going to make it sound really sucky so I don't read this in a couple of months and think, "it wasn't so bad let me give it one more shot".

Leave work at 9am after being there 2 hours.  I go home and cut the grass so Judys not staring at it all weekend (she might think twice before issuing the next hall pass).  Maybe this attributed to my dnf? Any excuse at this point will be good.  Get all my stuff packed and ready to go for Saturday morning.

Randy calls me while I'm driving down, through a thunderstorm around Front Royal. He's there, and has our spot from last year.  Good, I can stop speeding and relax. Make it down and its hot and dry. Set up camp, register, fill up my 2 drop bags (lights at cp5,soda and powered gatorade for cp3) eat the spaghetti dinner and than back to camp.  It was kinda warm and humid. No need for the extra blankets I'd brought.

Sunday-Race day.
Woke up @ 5 with noise of the wake up gong.  Warm enough were I didn't need a jacket getting ready.
Sleeveless jersery was fine, unlike last year were it was freezing and I had to dig a sleeved jersery out of pile of crap from the truck.  Had a breakfast of iced cinnamon roll and coffee.  Walked up to the start line at 6:15. Just enough light say I could make out the road.  They had a bracketed start like last year. Instead of lining up all the way in the back I lined up with the 12 hour people although I think there was only 1 bracket behind us.  Chris Scott gave out last minute instructions which none of us in the 2nd to last bracket could hear.  And the race started.

Name of the game this year was 12.5 hours.  I was treating this as more of race than I had in years past.  I was passing quite a few people on the asphalt and fireroads to the first climb. Not pushing hard, just going a pace I felt comfortable with and not getting lazy and following someone cause I didn't feel like passing.
The 1st real climb started and it was so much nicer than last year.  It didn't seem as croweded.  I was still  passing people, not alot, but I was passing more than being passed. Right before the top you had one final steep pitch that 80% of the riders walked. I rode it with 3 other guys.
The entrance to the single track had 10 or so riders waiting to get in, about 1/2 of what there was last year.  While trying to weed my way in I had my 1st accident.  I did one of those falls to the side while your clipped in.  Nothing hurt, just embarrassed.
I was starting to get pissed on the ridgeline. I couldn't believe the shit that some people were walking. Come on dammit, get out of the way!  Finally the decent.  I bombed the hell outta it.  My bike is noisy. I can't figure it out. Might be a combo of chain slap and loose stuff saddle bag contents but it works to my advantage.  If someone was in front of me they always heard me coming and got out of the way fast. I saw 5 crashes on the way down, including 1 tandem.
Came up on CP1, I didn't need water so just blew by.

Took a minute on the road and sucked down some of gu they had given us, than I was back at it.  I kept thinking about last year when I got passed by all the people I had passed on the previous descent.  I kept a pretty good pace, a few people passed me, not many.  I make it to the 2nd climb and join in the conga line of other riders walking to the top.  You had a few riders who would try to ride, but they usually ended up walking a couple of hundred feet later.  It was on this climb I was starting to get tired.  I shouldn't be this tired this early. Not ragged out or anything just more tired than I should have been at this point in the race. 
I get to the top and I see my buddy Pat who took  me out a few weeks ago to Wolf Gap. Nice surprise.
While everyone else is taking a moment, I head down.  Bombed down it at my normal pace.  I must be getting better at descending, even tired I road well.
Hit the bottom and have a few miles of gravel and asphalt to cp2.  I roll into CP2 not wanting to waste time. A volunteer grabs my camelback and fills it halfway with water. I grab what amounts a whole PB&j sandwhich and some chips.  I pour some gatorade powder into the CB than take off. As I'm leaving I see Pat rolling in.  Its 10:15 am at this point. 30+ miles in 3:40. I'm doing ok.

Roll along the asphalt to the beginning of the 3 miles fireroad climb.  I figure out something is really happening on the fireroad.  Its hotter than shit and my head is throbbing.  I get off and walk 4 times before I make it to the single track. I rode this completely the last time I finished the race.  Make it to the singletrack and I'm hiking it all.  The tightness in the legs are now turning to cramps. Even got passed by some other folks who were hiking.  At this point I see my buddy Pat. That SOB is riding this damn thing.  He's making all us hikers look like shit.  I tell him how good he's doing but he makes a general remark back. What is he mad at me for not waiting for him at 2?  I finally make it to the top and he's still there.  I chat with him for a minute and he didn't even realize it was me who he had passed.  Must have been in the pain tunnel.
He takes off with a few other riders while I'm still resting and drinking.  I take off and end up passing him and some others on the descent.
Get to cp3. have them look for my drop bag and they can't find it. I didn't really need the soda but I kind of wanted that gatorade mix.  I see my buddy Sue there volunteering. I tell her I'm not doing so hot and she doles out some words of encourgement.  Pat get in and leaves while I'm resting.  With the way I'm feeling, I'm pretty sure I won't see him again.  On the bike and to the next climb. Its 12:20.

I'm riding the 5 miles of road till the next single track. The sun is really pounding down on me. My pace has slacked off, I'm doing at the most 9mph on the mostly climbing asphalt.  The cramping is starting to get worse. I try standing some and mashing. Nope, it doesn't help only sets off a different set of muscle cramps. Walk once to alleviate the cramps and now I'm getting a hotspot on my foot at the cleat. I'm not happy.
Get to the start of the single track.  Before crossing the mostly dry riverbed I stumble and fall on a slick rock. Christ, WTH is going on. I'm falling apart before my eyes.
Theres is a steep little ledge that you've got to pick you bike up onto before the real singletrack climb.  I'm bonking hard now and it takes me 3 trys to get the bike up.
I try to ride some of the single track up. I lower my seat remembering how it helped me on the pre ride. Nope not going to work.  That makes the cramps even worse.
I finally settle for knowing I'm walking (stumbling really) the 2 miles to the top.  I'd walk for 30 feet, stop and take a breather. Walk another 30, rest.  Anybody who came up behind me I'd let past.  Must have had 30 people pass me on that climb.  The cramping is getting worse, my hands evan start cramping.
Finally I make the top and I can't believe it.  Pat is there sitting on the ground??  From what he told me he must have bonked too and walked up the same way I did.
I try to lie on the ground for a few minutes but than my stomach muscles started cramping. All I could do was stand there and rest.  Pat starts the descent, I take off 2  minutes behind him.
I'm not sure what it is but I could still descend with no problem. Maybe its the adrenaline that offsets the cramps. I don't know but I'm bombing the trail down.  Caught up and passed about 6 riders, including Pat.
Make the bottom and I'm actually debating going on (still pumped full of adrenaline).  Pat catches up to me at the bottom I tell him go ahead. There are a few small hills, and I mean small, till the next AS.  As soon as the rush of descending wears off I'm back to walking and cramping.  I finally make it to the flat section the last 1/2 mile before the AS.  I can't evan stay on the bike and need to rest on that.
Thats it I'm done.
Finally make it to the AS.   Its 3:15 1st person I see is Randys wife, Becky.  She comes over to me and I tell her I'm bagging it.  Pat has been there a few minutes and is getting ready to leave. He says he's feeling a little better and is heading out to AS5.  I give him my baggy of endurolytes, I still have about 10 left. He ran out but has more in his drop bag at 5.   I hope they work better for him than they did for me.
Me and another rider get a lift with Becky back to the campground. 

Becky drops me off and walks up to the finish line  to wait for Randy to come in. I still felt like crap. I don't think I felt this bad when I finished 2 years ago.  I sit in my truck with the a/c going for 40 minutes before I got the energy up to evan change outta my riding gear.  Everytime I'd bend over to pull my socks off I'd get cramps in the legs and stomach.  I finally get changed and than pack my camp up.
Randy and Becky come back (I wanted to go up and see him come in but didn't have the energy to walk up the hill).  I talk with them a while. Becky packs up there camp and they leave.
I go up to the finish to get something to eat and get me and Randys drop bags from AS5.  Talk a little with Denis and Chris.  Drop bags finally get back about 8:30.
I get in my little pick up and leave.
SM100- 2011  is over for me.

Post thoughts.
I don't feel too bad about quitting.  I left it all out there.  You have good days on the bike and bad days.  This wasn't one of the better days.  Now that I think back, I'm not evan sure if I would have made the cut off for AS 5 if I had tried.   I  wonder what would have happened if I'd gone out slower.  I was making excellent time till 34 miles in.  I also wonder if I had left AS4 if I would have gotten one of those "2nd winds" and maybe the cramps would have finally subsided.   

There's always next year. Bullshit.
Thats it for me.
Maybe I'll be back in 4 years to celebrate my 50th birthday and go Masters instead of Clydesdale.
To my future self reading this:  DON'T YOU SIGN UP FOR THIS RACE AGAIN IN 2012. DUMBASS.



ChrisJ said...

Awww you'll be there again next year. I was cramping from Wolf to CP3. Shit sucks. Gotta push though it.

randyg said...

Don't let me sign up either!!!

ChrisJ said...

I'm doing XC racing and Cross next season.....no 12 hour/100 mile bs....maybe.

ChrisJ said...

You alive man?