stg 2 aApril 20, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Posted in exercise, hobbies | 2 Comments
Tags: biking, exercise, race, weekend
my first bike race ever and i survived! let’s start from the beginning of the craziness.
on saturday, we had to drive about an hour west to ancaster, the finish line of the race, to pick up our packets (timing chip, sample eload which is gross, and an eload gel) and drop off our friend’s car. then we drove another hour back to waterloo to the boy’s apartment to spend the night there because it is closer to our starting points. the boy requested some yoga for cyclists (!) and we went on an easy hour long ride (when we accidentally ended up at DQ and accidentally got some cones). the evening was hectic because we had to scramble around and get everything ready to go. i really had no idea what to expect and was probably being more difficult that jon needed to have to deal with at the time, but he was super awesome and patient anyway. he cleaned my bike for me and gave me some last minute pointers.
super bright and early sunday morning, we packed up the car, picked up our friend and headed to st. george. although my race from st george didn’t start till 11:45, the other two boys needed to be in paris by 9, so i had about 3 hours to kill outside the south dumfries community centre in teeny tiny little st george. i had very little on me (because everything i brought would have to go on the bike with me the whole race!) but i did have my ipod, the second breakfast jon packed for me and a camera (that i didn’t use enough!). i did some more yoga for cyclists on the grass (i took yoga anywhere! i’m sure people thought i was a little crazy but my muscles were way better stretched than theirs’ come the start!), watched some sex and the city on my nano and rode around, checking out the competition and their bikes. it was relaxing and nice to not feel rushed.
11:45 came pretty quickly and all of a sudden, there were 400 people at the starting line, waiting for the go gun. the start was one of the scarier moments for me. once we got out, we had a few kilometres of paved road, which was awesome. i got behind a bigger guy (bigger than me anyway) and drafted off of him until we hit the dirt roads. the rest of the race was insane! i managed to stick with some of the same few people throughout. most inspiring were the little kids – some riding their own bikes and some on those ride-along fake tandem things with their parents. seriously awesome.
we rode on rail trail, through some organic farms (that smelled like poo but had the best spectators), dirt roads, hiking paths, single track (jon says it is really double track but i have no idea) and paved road.
there were two gigantic mud pits, that ~1500 riders had gone through before me. it was soooooo sloppy and gross. obviously i couldn’t ride down or through, so i had to pull my bike. this resulted in a bit of a pileup/traffic jam. the amount of wet mud that collected at the tops of my wheels was ridiculous and there were times when even just walking was hard because my feet were sinking in the mud. sllllurp, i had to pull up hard. there was a significant amount of climbing which made my quads burn. i had to walk a couple times up some hills because i just couldn’t do it anymore. the singletrack was the most terrifying for me because i don’t ever mountainbike and i have very little in the way of good handling/technical riding skills. my arms and hands were really tense for a lot of the race because i was afraid i was going to crash.
i didn’t though! the headwind was MAD. i tried to stay close to people so i wouldn’t get knocked off my bike but that was quite difficult. i’m certain my time could have been at least 15 minutes faster without it. also, i unfortunately left my bike computer at home, so i had a very poor concept of distance. the event staff that kept telling us “you’re almost done! just over that hill and you’re there!” (all lies) didn’t help. i think this resulted in me not pacing myself very well. still, i managed to finish and gave it my all. i didn’t feel sick like i often do at the end of running races – the thought of eating was actually very appealing, and i was able to drink a 24 oz bottle of hammer heed. my camelbak was amazing because during most of the race, i couldn’t take my hands off the handlebars to pull out one of my bottles to drink from. i didn’t hydrate enough (my face was so salty at the end!) but it wasn’t terrible. my new tropical fruit flavoured hammer gel (i’ve been using espresso but decided it was time for a change) was awesome! so much better than espresso (i think because it doesn’t clash with the citrus flavoured heed). i didn’t manage to eat my shot bloks or sharkies while riding, but i did get at least a serving and a half of gel (stored in my devil bottles) which gave me good boosts of carbs + caffeine.
although my time was a bit slower than i wanted, i think i did really well (especially given the wind). i think my expectations were unreasonable anyway, given that this was not only my first race but my first time riding on single track, on soft wet grass, through mud pits, and in a pack as well. i finished in the middle of my category. i was in awe of all the people that did the 60km race because i thought my half was incredi-hard. a lot of them finished in the same time as i did 😉 (jon was actually 12 minutes faster than me and he was riding on a single speed bike – no gears!)
i’m experiencing some soreness today but it’s nothing too bad. nothing a little yoga with dawnelle can’t fix right up. i feel great about my accomplishment. if i’m around this area next year, i’ll definitely do it again! there’s only one way to go and that is up. i’ll be more prepared for the climbs and will know what to expect. this was kind of the perfect race for me because although it needed some handling skills, it wasn’t overly technical. it was long enough to be long (took me 2:30 to finish) but not crazy long like a 200km race. plus it wasn’t as scary as a road race (where people crash into each other left and right) or like an mtb race (where there are big rocks and trees in the way).
for once the rain didn’t make me sad. a) it’s turning all the grass etc green and b) it makes me feel less guilty that i am not riding my bike to work. thursday should be sunny. i left my cute helmet in jon’s car, but luckily i have a spare somewhere in the basement. i’ll have to suck it up and not be stylish, for the sake of my brain, i *guess*.
last week my running kind of took a back seat to time on the bike, so i’m hoping that this week i can get in at least 2 of my 3 scheduled runs plus a swim. we’ll see!