Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Cowbell 12hr

As much as I love racing it seems I will need to limit it. As most know, I’ve not raced in over a year, and not seriously since 2005. There was also an issue with my kidneys a couple years ago. That issue was never root-caused or cured. Instead, it just sort-of went away. After a 6hr race in central NY, I returned home that night and noticed I had blood in my urine. It freaked me out! Not only that, but it seemed that my body was reacting to my deodorant and excessive intake of sports drinks resulting in soreness in the nodes of my underarms. I didn’t know what to think. Well, I got in to a so-called specialist who ordered an ultra-sound. They read it and claimed I had stones. They wanted to “explore” and I told them “No-way, I want better than that. I want a Cats-can!” The following day I had the Cat-scan, and following the review of that they said there were no stones. My blood work came back normal, but the urine sample still showed traces of blood 3 days after the event. Well, it seems that the issue is still here!

The race started at 10AM, for me it was some light spinning in the parking lot at 9:30AM to stretch. It was 75 degrees. The start went as planned and I was the first SS into the woods with little effort. My 1st gear was 32/15. I came to the 1st of 2 hills that I had told myself I would walk, Carpet Loop climb, and 2 SS riders behind me passed by. I let them go as I knew I wasn’t in shape and haven’t been “training”, but instead just riding for only 2-1/2 months since I came to NC for my new job. I stayed with my pace and had a blast. It was getting increasingly hot now and upon exiting onto a dirt 2-track climb I decided I would add it to the walk list to save energy and power. I then came to the next walking climb which was the start of the Goat Loop. Just 1 mile prior to returning to the transition area I started to hear a rattle coming from the rear of the bike. I swung into the pit, at 53mins, and hoisted the bike into the stand. I discovered that the rear brake caliper had come loose as I probably didn’t torque it down enough after I changed out the pads and adjusted it. It remained tight for the remainder of the race. I refilled my bottle and grabbed a handful of grapes and hit the trail after just 3mins in the pit. The 2nd lap went pretty much the same, but I added 1 more climb to the walk. This helped me relax and gave me time to take in fluids as it was another 2-track climb. Most of the lap, about 85%, was good single track allowing little to no bottle grabbing opportunities. After the 2nd lap, another 53mins, I switched my wheel to lower my gearing slightly. I had a 2nd wheel with a 16 ready to go. I again grabbed some grapes, refilled my bottle, and ate ½ a PB&J. By the midway point of the 3rd lap the heat was getting unreal! It had jumped to 97 degrees! I felt myself getting overheated and twice felt a little uneasy on a couple of harder efforts. Upon returning to the pit, 1hr lap, I told my parents I was taking a break to cool my temp down. My dad wrapped ice in a towel and I chilled-out for a bit drinking some cold fluids and eating grapes and pasta. I also changed my gear again once more skipping over the planned 17 to the 18 as there really wasn’t much of an advantage using a larger gear. In my mind it would actually be a disadvantage due to the heat and my advantage was clearly still there in the speed that I took to the technical down hills and single-track, as I was still the rider doing the passing, even passing team riders. Hind-sight I should’ve refueled and went back out on the trail as the gravel lot hit 111 degrees!!! Holy $#!@! The trail actually ran up along a river at 1 point, and this is where I should’ve taken a pit and removed my shoes and jersey to submerge myself. That would’ve cooled the body very well and I would’ve been back on the saddle pretty quick. However, all things aside, nothing prepared me for my final lap when I stopped for a nature break on the trail and discovered what appeared to be the recurrence of the “issue”. Upon returning, 1hr3min lap, I rode past the pit to the restroom where I verified it in the white urinal. As I came out my dad was walking over to see what I was doing and I told him it was time that I stop.

I did have fun, but I was bummed about not getting to ride/race in the dark, but as stubborn as most think I am I chose not to push the issue as it is not worth it if it is something serious. I feel I could’ve easily hit my planned 10 laps as the 1hr lap on a 18 gear was more than a slow comfortable pace, along with the walking of some climbs. I felt strong and the bike was running awesome! I can’t wait to get this issue/mystery solved, but until then I probably will not be racing… just riding. Also, I really didn’t expect the heat to be such a factor, as I have been riding 2-3x’s a week after work in weather that has been in the mid-upper 90’s at the start and low 90’s upper 80’s at the finish. However, part is probably due to the increased effort of mountain rather than road, and again, I have only been riding not training. Another lesson for the book…

I'll be looking over my riding data in Polar and posting my year-to-date info as well as the course profiles of the rides down here. There's some good stuff here similar to Michigan's trails, but most are a bit tamer. I'll squeeze it in between races on the PS2 while playing GranTurismo! :)

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