Setting my Kona Big Unit on the floor I gave him a quick once over. Tires need air, clean and lube chain, check which gear is on (32x20), needs a quick scrub and tighten some things down. Yup, it's now 9pm, race in 12 hours, LOL. Either way, I will be ready to pedal for 3 hours, once I locate the rest of my stuff.
You never want to miss a Mark Grumke production. He puts his heart and soul into the course, making it as shreddly perfect as possible. Having followed his many FB updates I knew this years trail would be just as awesome as last years. I had gotten in four laps so that was my goal this year. The course was 7.7 miles of twisty, rocky goodness. Mark had been working on a small rocky culvert for weeks, I didn't think it would be an issue.
|Love our new 1UP!!!|
Sunday morning we were running late and made a wrong turn, it was a rough start kind of morning. We all kept our cool because we were going to ride bikes, being late wasn't going to ruin it. Fortunately, I was able to change into my kit at a nearby gas station. We rolled into the park in true Trail Monster time at 8:50am There was no time for socializing or warm-up, just enough time to sign up for the Marathon category and head to the start line. I looked around for my EE teammate Nathan, he said he could spare a couple of scoops of CarboRocket since I had only two scoops, 222 calories, for the entire race. I stopped worrying about calories as I got in line and hoped my skillz would make an appearance.
Holy Crap! It was hot and humid, just as you would expect in the Midwest in July. The trail being beautifully manicured had helped to take away from it's jungle-like feel. Even if you were standing still sweat was rolling off. Midway through the 1st lap it felt like I was breathing in someone's armpit, not that I have ever done that. Stopping to catch my breath and hyperventilate was not something I had envisioned doing today, but I was going to have to deal with. Sweat was burning in my eyes adding to my misery. I seriously I felt like I was falling apart, one piece at a time.. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Was I failing already? Geez, I just got started.
|Thanks Jeff Henderson!|
Negativity crept into my mind and gripped my brain and I said some awful things to myself. Moments later I remembered that negative self talk never works and stopped. I gave myself consent to walk and catch my breath and permission to melt later if necessary. Then I hopped on my bike and pedaled. Damn, lap 1 was difficult.
|photo by Jeff Henderson|
Heading out on Lap#2 I felt much better. Having cold water and a new attitude helped tremendously. In the middle of my mind was the fact that pedaling was going to be a challenge soon, those 222 calories were long gone. I didn't see Nathan yet and reminded myself that I was not racing, I was just surviving. I can survive on very limited calories. Either way, I wasn't going to add worry to the day, I was riding my bike in the woods and all was good. The Cat 1, 2, and 3 racers started to zip by me about half way through this lap. It's very disconcerting to be passed by soooo many riders. This is when I remind myself to "chill out" and just pedal. Four laps is still the goal. I did not bring my Garmin and had no idea what time it was. (I didn't even look at the time clock when I passed each lap) Having not been mountain biking much this year I did not want to beat myself up any further by looking at slow times. Pedal and smile, four laps.
Sliding out on Lap#3 scored me a huge bruise, damn rocks! Luckily, no one was around to see it. I picked myself up and dusted myself off and hopped back on. As I rode I thought maybe, just maybe, my Kona tossed me there, you know, as a payback for all the non-riding.... I patted the handlebars and asked not to be thrown again. I've been riding just over 2 hours, legs burning, stomach churning, and sweating like a man, absolutely dreading another lap. I know I should probably ingest some calories but the thought of food nauseates me. Damn, I still don't see Nathan.
|Thank goodness for muscles or that might hurt|
The last mile of Lap 3 all I can think of is stopping and pouring an adult beverage down my gullet. In about 4 minutes it will all be over. As I roll up to the Finish I hear Mark say, "It's only 2:47 on the clock, you got another one in ya" ? I mumble loudly, "Shit"! and I know I will keep pushing on. Dan Bressler hooks me up with some ice cold water and I am out on Lap 4. I know I need to hurry so I don't miss the kids race. I'm running on empty but know that food would be a bad thing to introduce. I feel drained but weightless as I pedal, it's hard to explain. Lap 1 was ridiculously hard yet somehow I made it to Lap 4. Pedaling through the rocky, wet culvert for the fourth time I pat myself on the back. Unscathed! Save for the slide out in the rocks.
Finishing Lap 4 was awesome! As I pedaled in I hear riders yelling my name and cheering for me. All their noise made me feel like I had won, which couldn't be further from the truth. I was DFL, dead freaking last. The results page would not show my victories.... I knew. Not quitting, being able to calm myself to continue, staying upright, riding each lap smoother than the last and completing four laps were my victories. For not being prepared, I am quite happy with my efforts.
The Kona set up at 32x20 ran flawlessly. Tubeless tire pressure was roughly 25psi. Calorie intake was about 300 calories for the day, not recommended.
|On yer mark, get set....|
I finished just in time to see the Kids Race. I love seeing their "game faces" and pushing them selves to their limits. This year I have two kiddos in the race and they are riding brand new Trek's, thanks Momentum! The kids trail was separate from the race course. It was 1/3 mile long and was open all day for the kiddos to ride. Their race would be 5 laps.
The race started at 1:15pm, the hottest, muggiest time of the day. The boys and girls lined up did not let it phase them. They had been waiting for this All day.
Leading out the first lap is my 9yr old daughter, followed closely by my 9yr old nephew. The next lap I see my nephew out in front, grinning from ear to ear. The kids are having a great time pedaling in circles. I heard it wasn't all fun when one of the girls slid out coming around a turn. It turns out that one of the older boys, in a different race, stopped to help her get up and back on her bike. He may have lost 1st place due to his chivalry.....
|Isaiah (in red) in the lead|
The race comes to it's last lap and the kids are pulling out everything they have. Sydney crosses the line first and my nephew, Isaiah, is right behind her. They are covered in sweat and laughing. Yay for bikes!
Out of earshot, my daughter tells me that she let Isaiah pass her on one of the laps. I asked her why and she said "because I wanted him to see what it felt like to be in 1st place". Awwww. What a sweet kid!
What an awesome way to spend a Sunday! Thanks Mark and volunteers! The Davis' will be back in 2016!