Saturday I rode the Tree Shaker 6 hr in Old Ft SC. After spending the night with my parents, fueling up on delicious homemade spaghetti sauce, and sleeping well, we headed out to the venue at 7am.
I got checked in , and ready to go. I was barely nervous and plenty excited. I had decided not to race, only to ride my pace. My goal was to finish 6 laps in the 6 hr race, and to monitor and work on my nutrition.
I started at the front, after warming up for about 15 minutes. I stayed at the front over the first gravel rise, then coasted the next mile to the single track. I got passed by a lot of people but that did not matter to me. the lap felt like it went forever, not knowing what was coming next. I finally came out on the gravel road to the pits.
This one seemed to go faster, although I was all alone. I held a steady pace.
Lap Three and Four:
Things start to get fuzzy here. But I realized that even on single track, it is good to grab someone 's wheel and go their pace. Time goes by a lot faster if I don't have to look at the trail and figure out where I am. Instead, I concentrated on their lines and improving my skill.
I started all alone, but around the middle of the lap I caught a competitor. We chatted, I told him I was pretty tired and didn't know if I had another lap in me, he told me he was probably going to stop. We both knew that we were not going to stop. So, I stayed on his wheel. He ended up doing what I do when someone is on my wheel: He picked up the pace. It was a good pace, but it wore him down. About 2 miles out he pulled over and let me pass. I took off to get out of line of sight.
I stopped briefly to get fresh bottles. Took of and realized quickly that I needed to slow down. So I did. That last lap had taken a lot out of me. Feeling very fatigued, and not really sweating anymore, I am starting to get concerned about finishing. I take an easy pace, and little ringed all the climbs. I keep sipping then realize I am bonking, I eat a GU, and keep sipping my drinks. I get passed, lapped actually, by the first place male six hour winner. But I don't know it at the time, and either way it does not matter to me. I get back to the gravel road that leads to the finish. About 1 mile of gradual uphill. I kick it up a notch, glancing back every hundred yards to make sure no one is contesting. I race around the pits to the finish line, every one is watching, no one cheers. Since this is also a twelve hr race, no one realizes that I am finishing my race. I ride through and raise my hands in victory!!! Victory for finishing a race without an ER visit!!!!
Rhonda and Jubal are at the finish. I tell them I lost but hey, I finished. As I go back to the pits to cool down and change, I am pleased with my finish. I did well, I controlled my speed. I learned where I need to tweak my nutrition, and I feel decent. Success.
I get changed and go back to see the results. I see my name in 4th place!!!! I get very giddy. 4th place out of 15 riders. Yeah!!!!!
( no pictures now, I'll get some up later)
Have a great day.