I was really looking forward to this event, 6 hrs at Crabtree Park trails, with a 2-8 pm run time, meaning a few laps in the dark…but then I started throwing up Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and suddenly I was dreading it. Still, I figured it was better to race than to regret. After all, the race is only 6 hrs, but regret lasts much longer (hey, someone should coin that). The stomach was still bothering me race day and I felt a bit weak, but whatever. I think it was Nate who told me, "...just another opportunity to HTFU!"
I stuck to yogurt drink, crackers, a hard boiled egg and banana for breakfast (kinda spread out over the morning), then another banana, chocolate milk and ginger ale a couple hours before the race. Then right before the race, some more ginger ale and some salt n’ vinegar chips.
I tried to be careful with what I ate the day of the race as my stomach was still feeling crappy (the chips did not help). Luckily three trips to the port-a-jon helped clean me out and off I went
|Just before I crashed...don't I look happy?|
|Heading out for lap 4, you can see I am feeling good now.|
I knew there would be the long trail of riders going into the single track, so better too be to far up, than too far back. Then whoosh! Going around a turn, ~1.5 miles in to the race, my tires wash out and I hit the dirt. Luckily my buddy Jeremy was right behind me and just missed leaving a tire tread tattoo on my torso. So I stood up, dusted off my pride, and watched and waited for all the bikers to go by until I finally had time to jump in line and get back into the race. If I already felt crappy, crashing in the 1st lap did not help. Funny, I had the same kind of crash in lap three, but nobody saw it, so it did not bother me as much. Anyway, I continued to feel crappy the first three+ laps. It did not help that I knew I was likely in last place in SS and could not catch anybody, not even guys I have lapped on past races. I mean seriously, was I just having a bad day? Was I suddenly this bad & was everyone else that good? Orrr, did some guys just go out too fast? I hoped for the latter. I also wanted to stick to the #1 rule in endurance racing, which is: Just keep pedaling and good things may happen. Funny how ‘Niner’ summed it up on my frame with “Pedal Damn It!”, so I did. I even started to feel better around lap 4 and felt like I could keep my pace without irritating my stomach. Then it happened. I passed another SS’er, then another, then another. This went on for the next few laps until I got to what I knew would be my last lap. I knew Jeremy, Mark and Ahmet were ahead of me, and maybe someone I did not know??? Regardless, if I went hard, I might catch a couple of them, and finish in the top 5. I pushed it. Every rider I came up to, I was just hoping they were on a SS. The lap was now half way past, no SS’ers. Then ~3/4 through, I came upon Mark who decided not to attempt to stay with me. I thought for sure Jeremy would be nearby so I laid down the hammer and went as fast as I could knowing that there was maybe 1 to 1.5 miles left. By the time I neared the bridge before the last climb I could see no one and accepted that Ahmet and Jeremy were going to finish ahead of me. I was not surprised with Ahemt as he has really stepped up his riding and has been winning races. Jeremy on the other hand, while a solid racer and strong competitor, has not finished ahead of me in any event (usually due to crashing or mechanical) and we have been racing these local events together since 2009. Imagine my shock when I get to the finish line (9 laps, 60.3 miles in 5:42), to find out Jeremy and Ahmet are out for lap 10, then Jeremy comes in first!. What a race for him! Clearly all that working out and eating good is helping. Maybe I should try it, but unfortunately I like to eat too much. Anyway, I ended the event not feeling "Cursed at the Crab", but blessed to find out I snuck into 3rd place. I was also glad that the two guys above me did 10 laps. No way was I hittin’ that even if I was healthy, so I don’t need to feel bad about how much better I could have done. Sure, I could have ‘possibly’ raced a bit faster, but not that much. Now plenty of time to heal up for the final TORC Endurance Series event at Harris Lake in 2 weeks…or plenty of time to get sick again, but then I would be truly cursed. Always nice to have an excuse though. :)