Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stage 2: Farlow Creek

  The day dawned bright and clear.  I know because I was at the bus stop, getting the kid to school.  We had a late start today, 11am, so I had time to waste.  Feeling a little stiff, I took a hot bath with some Eucalyptis/Peppermint bath salts.   It was very relaxing.  Then I loaded up and got some food.  I decided to take the parkway to the Cradle of Forestry, for a change of scenery and less traffic.  It took about the same amount of time. 
 The views on the drive up were incredible, the air cool and I took the time to think about life.  It was good.  I got to the Cradle and suited up, then got hungry and remembered that I had stopped for some apple pies.  I ate one and it was tasty.
 We lined up, the gun went off and we sprinted out to the pavement and down the hill.  I got in line about 10 back and drafted.  We hit the first gravel climb and I dropped off the leaders pace and pushed a little bit to stay ahead of traffic before Cove Creek.  The plan worked and there was no traffic jam on the first single track.  I kept my pace steady.   We got to the campground and I passed several people on the steep climb up to Daniel's Ridge before dropping back down to the bridge.   Up and over on doubletrack to Longbranch, left on the gravel to Gloucester Gap the the slog up to Farlow.

At this point I put it in a little gear and went a pace that I knew I could sustain the entire way.  The only people who passed me were fast dudes who had taken a wrong turn...bummed for them.  I rode down most of Farlow until it turned into a creek.  The water flowing down was incredible.  I walked and was ok with that.  In fact, after the race someone commented that I had good hike a bike technique,  cool.

The ride down Farlow was a blast,  I didn't get passed until the bottom and was able to pass 2 people.  I hit the rest stop, got a pb and j and a coke, filled up on water and rolled out.  It was starting to warm up and I didn't want to run out of water.  Up Davidson River Trail with about 8 miles to go, I was feeling good.  Once the climb started, I could feel fatigue and twinges of cramps setting in.  I put my heartrate on autopilot and spun gears that would keep my body temps in check,  pushing a little when I could but mostly maintaining a steady pace.  I didn't see anyone until near the top of the climb,  someone was slowly reeling me in.  I tried to pick up the pace a little bit, but considering how I was feeling, and that we have 3 days left to race, I figured I should not push it.

We had about 1.5 miles left,  a quick downhill onto Hwy 276, then a steep grunt climb that gradually leveled out.  The guy caught me and sprinted past as we hit the pavement ( I found out later he thought that was the finish) but then kept drilling it.  I figured that if he had what it took to keep that pace to the finish, then it was all his.   I kept my pace then noticed that he was slowing.  I picked up my pace a little bit, and he slowed some more.  I reeled him in and he stopped and got off the bike.  I didn't stop, I was racin'...... to the finish.

I found out that I had place 4th in my category, and was elated.  I don't break the top ten very often, much less the top five.   

After hanging out for a little while I took the parkway route to get home.
On the way, I decided to buy a 20lb bag of ice and take an ice bath.  That was freaking cold.....

Click here for my Cycling Dirt Interview
Tomorrow: Stage 3

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