Monday, May 19, 2008

The Traverse

So yesterday I did my first race of the season and my first race in California. When I first signed up I didn't think it was such a big deal but I didn't really look at the stats. 8000 feet in 40 miles. I think the Wilderness 101 has about that much in 100 miles.

I line up at the start line and i look around. I see about 6 of us on singlespeeds. One other guy on a rigid bike. I hear the usual comments about how I'm crazy etc... . I'm carrying a bunch of extra water because it is supposed to be hot. 90 to 100 degrees with almost no shade.

We start off in the shadow of the mountain it is actully a bit cool. that ends when we round the corner and start the first major climb, 8 miles. I'm having trouble getting my heartrate and breathing under control. Lots of guys are struggling and the checkpoint is 21 miles into the race. Lots of up and down and I'm walking lots of it already. I'm actually thinking about bailing. It's so hot that my head feels like it is going to pop and several times i have to get off the bike just to let myself cool off.

About a mile from the checkpoint I run out of water and I start getting chills. Not good. I roll into the checkpoint and slam a bunch of cold water and eat an orange. I start feeling better and decide to roll on. i've never quit during a race and I'm not going to start now.

The 2nd half of the ride goes better. The terrain is more interesting and the hills are a nice grade. The next 10 miles go by pretty quick and I roll up to the last checkpoint to begin the descent down to the finish. It's a nice bit of technical singletrack and it feels good to be riding rock gardens again.

Anyway, I roll in around 6 hours later and there is nobady around except the race officals. I figured I was coming in at the bottom of mid pack. Turns out that half the field is still out with lots of people succumbing to the heat. Very brutal race but the 100k at Michaux still stands as the hardest single day race i've ever done.

Me heading back to the pain machine er.. my rigid singlespeed

118 Degrees at the one of the checkpoints. Brutal!

Still Alive

Yep, I'm still alive. I've had some pretty amazing things happen to my life in the last few months. The biggest is that I met a great girl and I'm now living in Southern California. More updates in a bit.