Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stage 5: Heating Up

I analyzed the results from Stage 4 and found that 4th place was 32 minutes up on me.  This is the guy that I had just beat by 9 minutes on Stage 4.  The wheels started turning and from the way he was talking, I might, just might be able to work my way into 4th.  

The day started with  6 miles of pavement before we hit the dirt.  I overheard a couple of conversations about taking it easy for the 6 miles so I took it upon myself to go to the front at the start and ride my pace,  attempting to control 75 mountain bikers.   The plan worked and for the first time since we have done this route,  I was able to ride within my limits. 

We hit the gravel climb at Turkey Pen,  Vineyard, Riverside to Bradley Creek rd.  At this point, Mark, the guy in 4th was with me, but talking about the 9 stitches in his ankle and feeling tired, I thought I should try to pick up the pace and make a go of it.  At one of the creek crossings there was a bottleneck and I took off alone.  I made it about 1/2 mile to Yellow Gap and the rest stop before Mark and friends reeled me back in.  I knew then it was not going to happen.

I was tired, and didn't want to push the pace, but at the same time, I didn't want to lose my 5th place standing.  So, the day was spent at the upper limits of my comfort level.  Temps were rising, causing me to have to slow down, or blow up.  I was walking things that I could have ridden, had it been 10 degrees cooler.  But that's how it goes.

There are so many variables in racing.

Up Laurel, and down Pilot, I didn't ride the whole thing, but I did clean the humvee section with the crowd roaring in my ears!

1206,  a quick stop at the aid station where I picked up a passenger, and on to Club Gap and Avery Creek.   It was getting hotter, and I was keeping a steady pace.  Battling nausea, but forcing myself to eat and drink.  My legs felt surprisingly good and responsive,  this is what I had trained for and I powered on.  Into checkpoint 3 with the family again waiting, I was there less than 20 seconds before I was rolling again,  chasing whoever might be just ahead, around the next bend and running from whoever might be just behind about to pass.

For the first time in this race,  in all 4 years,  I didn't see anyone from rest stop 3 to the finish.  I had it all to myself and I didn't think about anything except maintain a pace, just below overheating.  I hit the hike a bike and kept moving forward.  Over the top, and down the other side,  reminding myself where I was on the mountain and what was left to overcome.  Sometimes that last mile can feel as long as the last 20. 

I pushed it past the finish line, know that seconds count.   Good enough for 5th in my category. 

Pisgah MTB Stage Race # 4 in the books!! 

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Awesome job my friend!