This may be two installments, or not, but as for the title the irritation I feel with myself seems to grow every time I think about the race. The short of it is as follows, I rode really well and well within my limits for 39ish mile, totally blew up, ate nearly all my food, crashed on my head (literally) woke up at mile 42 (or so) rode the Aid 3 refueled had a awesome ride until mile 89 and then just gave up, no excuses, no reasons, no real idea why…. finished, moaned about how much the last climb sucked and got into my car drove home and thought, “why the hell and what the hell happened to me? Why did I stop trying….” I finished, but I am really not happy with myself and not sure if I want to go back. Oh, I finished in 11:02 not sure of placing as I left earlier than I should have….
So for a bit more detail, but above really sums up what happened and I took no pictures.
Alright, I will skip all the pre-race stuff and start with Mile 0. Upon hearing Chris Scott talking about getting ready to leave the realization that my front wheel was behind my car, my chain not lubed, and I was nowhere near my starting block. So I quickly got ready, rolled to the start line and got into my “start time” block and in hindsight picked the wrong one entirely. More on that later. Moments later, and that is literally, I hear, GO! and off we don’t move at all. Two minutes pass and the unruly cluster of lycra clad fools beginning a ride of foolish proportions finally roll for ten feet…. stops…. then this happens again…. and again…. and again…. and then off we actually start rolling. And I pass people.
We, as a loosely defined group, kept moving with little hold up for about ten miles. During this I passed people, nicely mind you, and tried to get around people who are already worrying about finishing the race… we were not even ten miles in and I was already hearing, “I have my lights at Aid 5, I will finish!”. Thinking to myself came this, if you are already that worried get off your bike, go home, ride that bike, come back next year with some fitness. How they got ahead of me is simple to explain. They all lied about the finish time they hope to achieve. I lined up in the 12 hour group, where I belonged, these folks lined up in the 8 hour group… what they thought that at 8 hours they would be getting their lights….
So onto the next 15 or so miles, I passed people, I passed people, I passed people, as nicely as possible until we hit Lynn’s trail (or whatever it is called) and walked and walked and walked and them finally got to the top of the climb and descended down what I think was Wolf’s something which was fun and passed people, and passed people and passed people…. into Aid 2. Where I have my only complaint about the help at the race. The volunteers are always great, alway kind and always helpful, except one guy. I went into the Aid station believing I could fill up at least one gu flask with gu… I asked the Aid station helpers for gu and am told go “over there”, I get there and ask if I can fill up my flasks and am told sure, them this dude walks over, literally tells the volunteers to stop filling my flasks as the are not a “hammer gel” station and tells me to literally get moving. I can’t have any gel here….. Why The Face? So off I go from Aid 2 to Aid 3 with no gel for eating, not food because I don’t eat fruits and I pass people and I pass people and I pass people and I pass people knowing trouble is coming as I am positive I will be bonking (or run out of energy) very, very soon.
Soon came as we began a climb called Smokehouse or something like that… I believe it was called kick the hell out of Ed and watch him suffer and laugh as bonks and has to walk up this terrible climb while he bonks and gets passed by people gets passed by people gets passed by people. It is at this point every last bit of gel in my pockets was consumed, every drop of water and HEED was drunk and I searched the bushes for berries…. okay that last part is made up, berries cause cancer, blisters, warts, and several other diseases. (At least that is my take on them, damn berries)
Pulling it together was difficult and I took a moment and thought that this might be where I pull the plug on the race, except that I don’t pull plugs on events, I push on until I get pulled or ….. well I don’t actually know. I have a couple DNFs but one is because the race director refused to believe I finished the race even with proof from my GPS files, and one because I had a slight breathing problem, AKA a real life asthma attack, so unless the folks pull me from the race I am moving on, one foot in front of the other, walk fool walk. It took a bit of time for the gel to actually enter my system and my brain finally began to wake up, my legs felt better and I saw one guy turn his bike around and begin to head off the trail for a DNF. At this point I pointed out his bike was pointed the wrong way, urged him to follow the fat guy up the hill, reminded him the descent couldn’t be too far off and Aid 3 was very, very close. Aside from the fat guy bit, it was all not true, I had no clue where the peak of this climb was, I had no idea where Aid 3 was and maybe he needed to stop, but he turned around and followed me up the climb. At the top, it felt like hours, I jumped on my bike and promptly crashed and landed on my head. That woke me up quick fast. That crash got my body back in gear and I ripped down the descent into Aid 3 and felt almost brand new, almost as if I hadn’t ridden 45 miles.
At Aid 3 I had three little bitty cups of cokes, grabbed my personal gel flasks thanked everyone and jumped on the bike and off I went quickly. Lets not waste time talking, lets ride. Now I will let you guys (yeah nobody has read all of this) take a break and finish off 4-finish tomorrow.