Woof. That’s over with.

This year, against logic, Rebecca and I hung our training on a single race.

For her, it worked out. She had a good time, put in a nice constant effort, felt fine, and finished with a smile on her face. This was her first ever bike race and she slayed it. I’m officially calling her a cyclist now; running after 40 and/or kids just doesn’t work. I’m incredibly proud of her.

For me, it didn’t work out. My training was solid, I’m putting up my best power numbers in five years, I’m about 10lbs heavier than I’d like for peak performance, but the power almost accounts for it putting me in what should be right around the best shape of my life.

But there are race day logistics… and I failed one. With toddlers, breakfast is at 6am. The race didn’t start until 10am. Between those times I didn’t eat or drink much. In pre-kid days I’d eat later and races typically start earlier. I began the race at an energy and hydration deficit, which reared its head at only 1.5 hours into the race.

Leg cramps. Kiss of death. Knowing the only solution was hydration, I began crushing my water supply. It ended up running out at 3 hours, when it should have been enough for 5 (my goal was a finish time around 4). While cramping, my stomach also went to shit, and I began to crawl up every climb. I visited some very dark places and even considered seeking medical attention because things were bad. Instead I just kept on pedaling and ticking the miles off.

It took 2 hours of the most painful riding of my life before that overdose of liquid had effect. Around 3.5 hours I began to feel strong again and from then on I was able to actually power up hills. I took note of the folks I was riding with at 3.5 hours and some of them I put over 15 minutes into by the finish; I felt that good to close out the day.

Total time was 4:45. 57 miles, 7100ft climbed, 4000+ calories burned. Note that this was a gravel ride and my pace was actually slower than my best Leadville time. This ride was HARD, Leadville is relatively easy, and I had an extra crappy day.

I don’t particularly want to do the race again as it is a little more dangerous than I’d like (the event did a great job, but it’s more about certain individuals thinking they’ll win the race in sketchy spots) and the riding around home is simply better, but it’s a local event, and I really need to see how much time I left out there. I am absolutely signing up again next year. I will also be focusing on more than one race for the year as having a bad day on the only day that matters is a tough pill to swallow.

The gear:

  • 2017 Norco Threshold SL (cyclocross bike)
  • 40/42 gearing
  • Continental Terraspeed 700×40 tubeless at 39f/41r
  • USWE Highlander 4 hydration pack w/ 6 scoops of Skratch
  • Single water bottle w/ 16oz maple syrup

A little more tire and a little more gearing couldn’t hurt. The climbs were all fine pre-riding, but some were a different story when gassed. My waxed chain went to shit around 35 miles. It was wet and muddy. Probably should have carried a bottle to relube it.

Next up? Might try to get to some weekly Wednesday night CX about an hour north, and then it is Zwift racing until the spring.