Friday, June 11, 2010

So I got tagged in FB...

Someone was kind enough to tag me on FB!   Here is the picture of me going OTB and about to hit the tree and the rest of the story is below.  I thought a visual would be appropriate!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 Domnarski Farm Race

Urgh, where to start 'bout this race?  There were two races I really dreaded as a new Cat 1 racer in the Root 66 Race Series. This one and the up coming Bike for Bovines.  Both of these races were single 10+ miles laps w/ some serious climbing and challenging terrain.  Both of these hurt last year when doing just one lap, and hence the dread of doubling that distance w/out having doubled my fitness!  I knew both of these races were going to kick my ass.   Sadly enough, for the Domnarski Farm Race, it was not an "enjoyable" ass kicking.  Some races hurt quite a bit, some hurt like hell,  and some hurt even more.  Always though, once the race is done, you can feel proud you pushed through the pain, survived the whole thing and maybe even moved up a couple of places on the scoreboard.  That's a good ass kicking!

The course was a 10 mile lap that started at the bottom of wooded hill and worked you up to the top through three major climbs, and back down to the start for a total of about 1600 ft of elevation gain per lap.  The first climb began right after the start area on a rain slicked double track that was rideable but required some careful lines.  This was followed by a short fast fire road section and some twisty single track in the woods.  Half way through the course, there was a short section of pavement bringing you to another section of dirt and rocky fire road  which started the second major climb. Since the fire road was steep and the rocks were slick and loose this was the most difficult section to keep your traction on.  The third climb came shortly thereafter and followed the power lines.  This climb was steep but if you stayed on the left there was enough traction to granny it to the top of the two really steep sections.  The course then shot back into the woods for a couple of short tricky descents, some bog crossings on sections of shingled 2x8 strung together and some fast fire road descents back into the finish area.  The course was basically 3/4 going up, and the last 1/4 dropping down back to the bottom.

The start did not go very well for me as not even 100 feet into the race,  I went over the handle bars trying to remount my bike right before a water/mud crossing.  I was able to catch myself but somehow ended up with both feet in the mud, the bike vertical to the ground behind me but with the right side of my handle bars in front of my right leg, the stem in my crotch, and the saddle digging into my back, and all this while I was desperately hugging the tree I smacked into so I would not fall over.  It took me a little while to figure out how to get out of this position w/out falling or dropping my bike on the rocks.  By the time I was "untangled" from my bike and the tree, everyone in my group was gone.  There were of course quite a few spectators right there. Most were kind enough to agree that they never saw this happen.  I also lost some confidence and spent the next section loosing even more ground as I was dabbing over everything w/ wet rocks.  I eventually settle into the first climb and soon started to see a few racers in the distance.  I concentrated on finding a good spin that would allow me to not burn through everything while still trying to play catch up. By the end of the first climb I had passed three riders and by the time we got the second climb I had passed a couple more on the single track section.  As I was starting the second climb I spotted one I knew was in my group .  By the end of the climb I had pulled him in a bit but as soon as we hit the flats, he pulled away again.  I still had him in my sight at the start of the third climb and when we got to the top I was on his wheel.  On the way back down the start area we traded places a couple of times.  Hitting the long first climb for the second lap, I hit the wall though and could not stay on his wheel.  I was starting to really overheat and was even feeling like I was going to throw up. I tried to find a comfortable climbing zone but just could not find anything that was fast enough to not get dropped completely.  By the end of this climb I could tell I had nothing left in the tank.  I was running on empty and now my goal was just to finish w/out getting caught by the other riders I had passed.  I had no Gu on me and was also almost out of water.  Good planning right there: very cat 1 of me! By the end of the second climb I had been caught and passed by another guy but was able to stick with him. My shifting at the time had become problematic and I could no longer use my middle ring w/out terrible ghost shifting.  I had access to most gears in my granny though and since I did not have the time to stop and figure out why, I just used the granny.  I wished I had stopped and checked because at the start of the third climb I heard a lot grinding and suddenly my rear wheel seized while my pedaling had no longer any resistance.  Somehow my chain snapped and had gotten completely entangled into my rear cassette and wheel.  I took me at least 5 minutes to get the chain untangled (and I had to stop several times just so that I could swear and find more words to add the word "fuck" to)and since (of course) I did not have chain tool, I was off to run the rest of the course.  I thought ridding the power line climb was hard, but it was nothing compared to having to run up it and then have to run the flats.  By force of habits I jumped back on the bike several times to realize I was not going anywhere. Even the downhill sections were painfully slow w/out being able to pedal. Running the last 1/3 of the course just sucked and was just physically painful, especially since I had run out of water right after snapping the chain.  Slowly everyone I had passed caught up and passed me.  The only guy I was able to pass had a flat and was walking his bike but he was not in my age group.   I am pretty sure I ended up DFL.  It sucked putting in so much work to loose it all. I did do the first lap in 1h 3 min, 28 seconds, but my overall time ended up being 2h 28 mins.  Lesson learned and I will now race w/ a chain tool....