Monday, January 11, 2016

The Snake 2016

9 days into 2016 and I rode my first race of the season.

I left Asheville and headed down to Georgia.  Switching between country music and classic rock for the 4 hr drive and cruising with traffic.   I had considered trying to carpool with some other folks headed down for the race, but sometimes a guy just needs to be alone.  Its good to clear the head and not have to worry about anyone else for just a little while. 

I got to Dalton, checked in at the hotel.  This time, I brought some pre made spaghetti and salad with me, and I went ahead and ate that before heading up to check in.    I picked up my number and my shirt and met up with Ron Marcus who was providing shuttle for me.  We made plans to meet at 6:30am and head out to the start.  Daryl would also be joining us for the ride out.

Back to the hotel room and lights out by 8pm.

I managed to get some sleep until around 2 am, then it was dozing and waking until my wake up time of 5am.    I wish I was better at early mornings but I suffer.  As long as I can remember, I have struggled with early morning.  Hungry, but nauseous.  Can't eat, so I nibble and try to get some food down, because if I don't,  I get car sick on the way to the venue.   Ugh. I need to figure out what to do here.....

I met up with Ron and Daryl and we headed out to the start.  I focused on relaxing and sipped water.  I was really glad 30 minutes later and I was intact when we pulled into the gravel lot.  Ron is a smooth driver and I was grateful.

I rode around the lot warming up and then lined up to start around 10th.   I took off and got into a rythym ready to ride my pace.  I really love the GA mountains and planned to ride my own pace and enjoy the views.

For the first hour, I was feeling pretty rough.  Still nibbling and sipping liquids.  I felt so rough that I contemplated quitting.  I knew that if I did not start feeling better, this would turn into an epic hike a bike.  I kept eating and sipping and after around 2 hrs, I arrived at the midway point.  I felt slightly better so swapped bottles and moved on.  I might have been able to save 1-2 minutes here but as first I could not find my bag that was covered up with a sign, and then I fumbled with getting the bag open and bottles swapped.  A volunteer finally came over to help out.  I was grateful for that.

The temperature was between 40-50 with some wind up on the ridges.  Perfect for me.   The course was mostly dry too.  Today would be the day for a PR.... I only lacked the fitness.   Not a big deal.

Up and down, along the ridge, soaking it in and having fun.  I maintained my pace and managed my nutrition and I started feeling better.

Up the last gravel climb and a left onto the last 8 mile section.  It is a really fun ridge line ride with lots of techiness mixed with some smooth fast single track.  I maintained my pace until I passed the fire ring.  Sweet,  1 mile to go, I told myself in my head.  I picked up the pace and started to hammer.  After a mile, I was still a couple of climbs from the towers that mark the final decent to the finish.  Crap,  that fire ring marks 5 to go, not one.  I slowed down again and resumed my pace.

Finally I rounded the bend and headed up the last climb past the towers.  I took it easy on the gravel decent, lots of fresh loose gravel there and hit the pavement.  I took up the whole lane and got up over 39mph.  Rounding the last bend, and crossing the finish line, I wasn't sure if I had broken 4 hrs.  It was really close.

I felt great and I was pleased with the ride.  I felt more confident on the technical sections and was able to climb at a steady pace.

After hanging out for a while at the finish,  I turned the van north and headed home.  It turned out that Jamie Bookwalter needed a ride up to East Ridge, so I dropped her off on the way by,  grabbed a double tall mocha from Starbucks,  cranked up the country music, and put the pedal to the metal.

I found out on Sunday, that I got second place in the single speed category!

Edit:  34 miler, 4hrs 3 mins

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ON ON!!!