Monday, April 21, 2008

sea udderly outclassic, part 1, the race

Alright enough procrastinating, it's time to write this. This is part 1, the race. I will post later with accounts of the sea otter expo, bikes I demoed, pictures, and movies.

On April 19, 2008, I woke up early to a cold morning in Monterey, California, and raced my mountain bike. The adventure did not go as well as I'd hoped. In the end, I finished the 20 mile cross country race in 2 hours 53 minutes. I was far behind the next person ahead of me, who finished in 2:16. First place in my group finished in 1:26. I was ahead of only one person, by two minutes. 45th out of 46 in 25-29 men's xc sport.

[Link] Race Results

The day started off slightly wrong, my alarm didn't go off at 6:30 which I had set it for. I woke up at 6:50am, cursed my temporary phone (my last one took a dunk), and started boiling water. I had my coffee, but didn't make oatmeal as planned, it was a little late to be eating something so heavy, so instead I ate half a banana and a clif bar, not much lighter, I think I would've been better off not eating, digestion takes it's toll. My energy should have been supplied by energy powder in my water, like the cytomax I drank the day before. I was hoping to find another pack of cytomax to add to my camelbak on my way to the track, but I didn't, so I was drinking straight water, not a good idea on such a long trek, my energy supply was a critical error in this race.

I reached the starting line for my age group about 10 minutes before the race and did a bit of stretching. I felt good, I was wearing my synthetic long gel padded pants, a new long sleeve racing jersey, and a cotton jacket. I wasn't too cold resting among people and it would be even colder out on those windy hills.

Started at 7:55am around the racetrack. It was about a mile mostly uphill to get to the trail. By the time I reached the trail I was in last. I was really outclassed by these guys. I'm past beginner and well into intermediate for my trail riding skills, but racing is another level of strength and endurance, so I am a beginner class racer, not sport class. Beginner and sport race on the same loop, but beginner was at 3pm the previous afternoon, which would have a much easier time to ride, being warmed up and having all day to prepare. I checked the beginner times and would have placed slightly higher, but I think my time would have been much better riding at that time of day.

I rode on, it became obvious when I was passed by the next age group about 20 minutes into it that I wasn't going to catch up, but I wasn't going to give up. This was my baseline run. Besides, I paid about 80$ to take part in this race =P Ride on, I started taking breaks after a half hour. Getting passed by progressively older groups of riders. I got some visual pulsing from overexertion and went slow for the rest of the course. Towards the end I laid out in a field by the track for a bit, got some chuckles from riders. Women's groups passing me now, a nice change in scenery ;]

The track is 20 miles long with a cumulative ~6,800 feet of elevation gain. 20 miles flat I can do in 1.5 hours, but this track is mostly climbing. Fireroads up, winding tricky rollercoaster singletrack, and some fast white knuckle fireroad descents. The ground wasn't muddy at all, quite sandy in some sections, alot of dry loose dirt like San Diego. It's a really fun track, I enjoyed the race when I wasn't getting nauseated from all the climbing. I made it through so despite what went wrong, I've gained from the experience. And next year I'll try again.

That's not all, there are other races coming up, and I'll be continuing my regular riding to keep in shape if something else comes around. There's a 24-hour race in temecula in a few weeks, but I'll join a casual team if anything for that. Anyways, racing isn't why I ride, it's just a different way of experiencing my love of biking around trees.

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