Tuesday, February 05, 2008

playing catch up

Sooo.... Snake Creek Gap Time Trial - Part Deux was this past weekend. I was starting to feel a bit of a sore throat last week and of course upon returning from Dalton, I've lost my voice and have a nagging cough. I'm fighting it with everything I have, or want to spend money on....meaning vitamins, cough drops, herbal tea and lots of water. I still feel drained and just overly unmotivated. I say this because this will not be a very detailed or long account of the race or the last week.

I decided to join Thad and the boys to camp this go around to save some dough. We arrived almost in time to get our tents up in the daylight. Quickly changed into appropriate cold weather attire and enjoyed beers by the campfire. Stories were told, people were introduced and then pizza arrived courtesy of Thad. I called it a night around 12:30am and settled into what would be a restless night.

Cold cold morning with frost on the bikes, tent and cars. Everyone got up early and meandered around getting things done at a leisurely pace. I enjoyed having more time on site to get prepared than last trip when we were in the hotel. Got the bikes loaded up and piled in Jeanie's orange box (Honda Element) to have a safe journey to the starting line.

I felt pretty good at the start and was just anxious to get going and hopefully beat my time from Jan. Once I started into the singletrack though I immediately lost all my steam and started to feel my right hamstring tighten up. This scared me into walking more than I wanted. I didn't want to start the cramp drama this early on. I let a bunch of riders pass and rode a bit with Grant. He stopped and helped Jeffrey with a flat and I just mustered on, trying to get in a groove. I feel like I tend to get overly aware of how my body is feeling, so I was trying to just space out and pedal. I turned my ipod on and tried my best to just ride. I played leap frog with a few riders up until the gravel downhill. Took this as fast as I could and started to get some confidence back.

I drudged along up to the halfway point, through all the mud and thick clay. Overall the trail wasn't as terribly muddy as it could of been. I didn't know what to except and there were some real nasty spots, but they were far apart and were really only in the first 17 miles. I stopped at the halfway point and got refueled by the Yazoo crew. Thad aired my tire up for me while Grant offered up a myriad of energy supplements and Jeanie refilled my water. I wanted to get going and just press on. I still wasn't sure if I could make the entire 34. I'd already about given up 3 times or so in the first 17, just feeling crappy and non-energetic. I stopped just long enough to get cold so the climb starting the second 17 was rough and I walked a lot of it.

I started cramping back on the gravel road climb to the 8mile check point. I stopped there for a bit and got some more gels and HEED and some of those electrolite strips. I was happy to see Jason Glover roll up to the check point. He was feeling rough as well, but I knew he could finish. I didn't want to wait here too long and get cold again so I started on. After about 2-3 miles Jason and Matt caught up to me. We walked together for a while and I tried to pedal on. They caught up again and then Jason and I pretty much rode the rest together. Matt was with us for some and then pushed up ahead as he was feeling stronger than we were. It was fun to go through the tough 3 mile section with someone who'd never ridden it. You are so tired at this point that it's great to have someone to suffer with and to complain to or just talk to. Keeps your mind from getting too frustrated with your struggle for forward momentum. We finally saw the tower and got out and headed down the mtn to the finish.

I ended up 5 minutes slower than my January time. I'm disappointed that I didn't feel better and wasn't able to push it harder. Given the trail conditions, how I felt at the start and the length of the race, I'm still happy I finished and didn't quit, and also 5 min really isn't a big deal in a race like this. Granted I would of loved to of been even 5 minutes faster than my Jan time. Oh well. There is one more to do this year and I need to put my efforts towards that goal.

Looking at the next Snake, I'd like to be able to ride more of it before I have to get off and walk. I know there will be sections that I'll have to walk, but I know I have a lot of cardio improvement that I can do to allow me to be able to pedal farther before my heart rate pegs and I wanna walk.

Sunday, Beth and I just rested and hung at home until it was Super Bowl time. We watched the game at her parent's house and enjoyed some awesome 9 layer dip and burgers. It was a good game and fun to watch. It was literally the one football game I've watched all year. Beth was getting into it which was really making me smile. She is such a non-sports lover (at least on TV) and to see her get excited with a big Giants play or bummed when they screwed up was fun.

This week might end up being a wash. I have a mental list of things I want to do but I feel like grud and it's hard to be productive. I'm planning on riding to the SORBA meeting tomorrow night, and hopefully riding to the tap room thurs night. If I can get my voice back soon, I'd like to make some phone calls to try to drum up some engineering work. There is talk of a couple training rides before the next Snake. I'm hoping to get my saddle issues worked out soon so I can not worry about putting long miles on my crosscheck and on my butt.

Ok, so this turned into a long post with lots of details...oh well. That's what happens when you write a blog in bed, sick with no one else home.

(you can view my Flickr set of the race weekend HERE. )

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