For the ADHD crowd. I got 5th in Solo sport out of 46 racers. Got a trophy, won a giftcard...
I had actually decided to skip this race due to family scheduling issues, but when Lonnie was unable to use the ticket he'd already purchased I decided I had to go. I did some fancy scheduling with my mother to watch my daughter and it was off to the race.
I left the house at 4:20 am to register. When I arrived, all the event staff were in place but I was the first racer to show up for registration. I got a really sweet spot to park my truck - directly across from the start/finish line. Antonio happened to park next to me (pure coincidence) so I had someone to talk to to help with the nerves.
My plan was to turn ~2 hour laps since last year only 1 sport guy finished in under 8 hours (Matt Barkley - Texas Cycle Werks/Orange Seal). I've ridden with Matt around Austin and he's much, much faster than I am. I was guessing that an 8 hour race would be an accomplishment. I was factoring in last year's 106 degree day, but it's pretty obvious that I didn't weight the effect of that kind of heat heavily enough. Hell, this year the top 11 sport guys beat Matt's time from last year (and I can tell you with 100% certainty that 5th place back are slower than he is).
The race started off at a really quick pace and after the initial shake up I was with the chase group. The leaders had pretty much separated themselves by the start of the 2nd bit of singletrack. I was still under the delusion that a 2 hour lap would be tough so I wasn't into the chase at all. Since I'd never ridden the course I only had mile markers (6.5, 10) to go by. Considering the wide variation of terrain judging progress solely by miles was a pretty poor benchmark.I felt really good on my first lap and had to force myself to finish my Infinit.
After pitting to grab some more food and water and heading out I realized I'd turned a 1:30 including my pit time and felt great. Encouraged I turned up the pace a bit (mistake) and started to get some cramping in my quads. It was at that point I realized I'd forgotten my electrolytes in pit and knew that I'd be regretting that oversight for the rest of the day. Finished out that lap in 1:40, doubled down on the electrolytes and chased it with a supplemental 12oz of water. It helped kill the cramping for the 1st half of the 3rd lap but, once you've knotted a muscle you're gonna be dealing with it for the rest of the day. I slit my tire down the center about 1/2 through this lap as well. The Orange Seal took it's sweet time sealing this first (of 3) cut. I actually had to dismount, roll the cut to the bottom of the tire, grab the front brake to hold it there and jog with my front tire off the ground for ~50 yards. At that point I'd heard no hissing for a while and I mounted back up and rode very gingerly with my front at ~10lbs for a few miles. After I felt the cut had sealed I hit it with a CO2 and got back to race pace. I did lose some time with that incident. However, the next 2 cuts sealed up within 1 rotation so Orange Seal is 2/3 in my book. If the race was hotter in the chase group it could have been a bit disastrous but as it was the slow seal on the first cut wasn't a big deal.
The 4th lap was hard. Both quads and my hamstrings were cramping bad. At one point, it felt like I had pulled my groin, my hamstrings were pulling so hard. I just kept spinning my legs and drinking Infinit because I knew if I stopped my legs would pretzel and I'd be stuck wherever I fell for 10 minutes. I rode it out, only stopping to grab a cup of water at the aid station and pour it down my back. At the finish line, Scott took one look at me and said "he's cramping", I smiled and turned to walk to my truck. The med tech followed me, asking if she could help. I said I was fine but thanks, yet she still hovered asking if she could help. I realized I must look bad if she wasn't going back to her tent so I asked her "Do I really look that bad?". "Yes, you really do" she replied. Since I didn't really feel that bad but she wanted to help, I asked her if there was any cold water (I knew there was just behind her pavilion) and gave her a bottle with my recovery portion of Infinit to fill for me. Then I went to the showers (RPR has awesome facilities), cleaned up my truck and headed over to the results screen I was shocked to learn that not only had I finished in 6:46 but that I was 5th overall with lap times of 1:24, 1:41, 1:47 and 1:52.
Thanks mom for watching Ellie. Thanks Lonnie for hooking me up with the ticket. Thanks to Terra Firma Racing for (always) putting on such a great event. Thanks to Reveille Peak Ranch for maintaining such unique trails and keeping them in such great condition. Thanks to all the sponsors for taking the time to care about endurance racing. Thanks to all the other racers for being so chill. Everyone was super cool to me on the course and afterwards. Any call outs to anyone in front resulted in an immediate pull over so I could get by; that said I really didn't have to call out much. Most guys just hopped over so I could squeeze by. Pretty great experience - can't wait till next year