So the first race of the year has come and gone. I had a good, conservative plan that panned out in the end. I could write another zillion word essay on another race and even started to do so, but other events have transpired to take the wind out of my sails for such a literary effort.
You see, my crack buddy LyndaW had a freak accident in the race, falling into some sort of hole at low speed allowing another rider to go by and broke her collarbone, hand, finger, and knuckle. The collarbone isn't just a little break - it's like mine was. Shattered. She's going in for surgery next week so please send her your wishes for a speedy recovery. She's tough as nails and has big plans for the rest of the year and I have no doubt she'll get it all done, but I can say for sure that it helps to know you have friends out there, even if you haven't met face to face. I received an enormous number of emails after my accident and it became a big part of my recovery day to respond to them.
So...the race did go down and here is the top 10 list of highlights, lessons, observations....
Speaking of LW, did anyone get to ride with her at OP? She was tearing that OP house down. She came in with a super aggressive plan, and I'll be damned if she wasn't pulling it off.
Tinker was stronger than ever this year. In '04 I think he pretty much struggled to get 18 laps done. He had 18 done by 9:30 am this time. Jeesh. I guess a 24 is nuthing compared to RAAM, eh Tink? Nice job man.
As I've been training all of 2 months post surgery, I had no expectations for the event. I did want to experiment with a more even pacing plan, starting easier and finishing stronger. I paced by a combo of PE and HR and was suprised to be ticking of 1:08s at the planned pace. I figured it'd be more like 1:15 given current threshold power and weight. It turned out to be a good plan for where I was and allowed me to pull in a 2nd place finish.
I did have issues...the legs never tired, but man I just couldn't stay awake to save my life after about 4am. I ended up napping on the side of the trail for about 10 min, then again in the pits. By then I figured oh hell, I've blown 2nd so might as well change the chammy too. That's what the 3 hour lap was all about. Then I got the intel that 2nd place was 17 min in front of me and it was before 9am. Then I got to work. Lap 17 was the only lap where I felt like I was drilling it and it felt great. My watch told me 1:10 but the splits say 1:15. It all comes out in the wash anyway I guess. So 2nd place with 18 laps is how I finished up.
Narcolepsy is a new one for me...I haven't had that issue before. The week leading to the start was also about as stressful as ever, and to top it off I left home without my cycling shoes, doh! So I ended up taking an unplanned detour through Mesa to hit DNA cycles for some specialized shoes (I'm fussy), picked up a table from Home Depot since I forgot the one from home...and finally got to the venue late Friday afternoon. It was a mad rush to get everything setup before go time, and the howling wind that started the night before the event didn't help sleep any. So big lesson for me. Minimize stress in the week prior or pay the price at 4am!!!
Support. Andy (from Desert Cyclery) and Anna were in fine form, and I can't say enough good things about them. Andy was so on top of everything I threw at him (and that was plenty), and he also found time for 4 other cyclists. Anna was great too. Around 2am I was sick of the same ole gruel and recalled there was pie in the camp somewhere...I just couldn't get to the pits fast enough. PIE, GIVE ME PIE! That's the sort of stuff Anna puts up with, filling my pie hole at 2am with a smile. Brad Mullen was there supporting Epic Adam. Brad turned out to be a great help too. Thanks Brad!
Lights. Simply put, they are an unfair advantage. My lap times don't even change after the sun goes down. I think I have the holy grail. Eyes were happy the entire event, lights were blazing good. One of the lights had a mount failure (bar mount) and I used a NiteRider HID for a few laps. Wow, what a dissappointment. It was so much dimmer than my LED lazers...so I figured a way (with Andy's help, of course!) to use the LEDs for all laps.
Todd Sadow and the entire epic rides crew do an awesome job with this event. I'm impressed every year and this was yet another great run event.
A solid OP has been a long time coming for me. 3 years running I've met some sort of misfortune at this event, but I'm persistent if nothing else. 2nd isn't so bad, and given that it was 2nd to Tinker it's really 1st human now isn't it?