I love the sensation hair-free legs impart. Gasp if you must but try as I might, there is no way to honestly deny the simple fact that hairy legs slow me down. It’s a proven fact, and I’ll supply the power meter analysis as evidence to those in disbelief. On the flip side, shaving is a pain in the ass, and I rarely take the time to do it. This year it happened 3 times since I found the perfect place & time to do it: cruising I-40 at 80 mph between Crescent Jct and US 6. It’s all about cruise control and the electric razor. It really does seem to blow the mind of passing truckers though and I gotta get a CB radio to hear the chatter…
The thing I’ll likely remember most about the ’06 season, other than TransRockies, is the revelation of highway shaving. It sure helps pass the time on the long haul to Park City from Durango, a route I’ve done 6 times in 2 seasons.
One of my season objectives was to repeat the E100 series overall win. Once again, the 12 hour race was a great event for me – and the competition was a lot tougher this year. The 50 miler went pretty well too, so coming into the 100 miler it looked like I just needed to have a respectable ride to cinch the series. Well, I was looking for more than a respectable ride. In the same vein as the final day at TransRockies, I didn’t want to end the ’06 series with a wimper – I wanted to end it on a strong note. Given that Lynda & I put down huge efforts at TR, our power training analysis tools told us we could be in for some impressive riding. In the short opener ride the day before the race, I couldn’t even feel my legs, PE was that low. It was going to be a good day.
Then the rains came. It rained hard at the pre-race meeting, then it rained most of the night. Loading my bike on the truck at 5:15 am to head to the start, I see that my front brake pads are getting thin – much too thin for a mud race. Decision time: change the pads or leave’em? I chose to change them, and it’s all downhill from there…
From this point forward, an endless cascade of stupidity proceeded, the full details of which would sound more like whining – and nobody likes a whiner. The reader’s digest version is this: I missed the start (changing brake pads), made it up to the top 20, had a major mechanical (related to my poor decision to change the brake pads, and the “repair” was impossible leaving me with screeching rubbing pads the rest of the day) that put me at least 5 min behind DFL, then worked back up to the top 20 in the singletrack sections of stage 1. Just to make sure I didn’t get cocky, the powers that be put a hole in my rear tire on stage 2.
My plan was a moderate start, like most folks had in mind I’m sure…but that plan went out the window and the new plan became “go till ya blow”. TransRockies fitness would carry me through, right? To a point, yes…in stage 1 I learned how many matches I have and what it feels like to race another 80 miles of tech singletrack after burning them all up. 3 days later I’m still sore – that’s a longer recovery than I need after a 24 hour event!
So…that’s the hard part. There were some highlights:
– Riding with Lynda for part of stage 2, ripping some sections and passing several riders.
– Riding with Marko a bit on stage 1.
– Having an MP3 player to mask the screeching brake noise (although the battery died on stage 4).
– The views from stage 4. The bowhunter trail was very “rustic” with sweeping views 3-4k feet below. It snowed up there too!
– Seeing Kenny Jones rip his 29er SS on stage 5. Wow. He’s a different rider this year. His power at the 10 hour mark left a big impression. Maybe my screeching brakes were too much for him to bear?
– Seeing how strong an on-form Monique Sawicki can be!!! Impressive.
– Spending time with Epic Adam & Team Dicky, aka Mr. “meat and sugar.”
– Not getting lost
So there you have it. It isn’t pretty, it wasn’t the result I was looking for and I made more mistakes than when I raced beginner. Often times being that on-form is too hot to handle for me, for whatever reason, but where sound reason is lacking I make up for it in dogged determination. In the grand scheme of things, the finish (5th overall, 4th guy, 1st dipshit) was good enough to cinch the series by a decent margin. However mousy it appears in the results, at the end of that day I felt like a lion.