Sunday, February 10, 2013

Getting a taste of the Pain Cave again

I was all pumped up to get racing this past Sunday for the Winter Short Track. I had missed a couple races as I was sick and was anxious to get back to putting myself really deep in the pain cave. I guess most of us bike racers are kinda sick and demented that way. I mean, I really like suffering on the bike - that just doesn't seem right, does it? For me, the more it hurts the more pissed off I get. Sounds strange, but it helps me dig really hard. I had gotten some good training rides in lately, maybe too good actually. I did hill intervals Friday and a fairly long endurance ride Saturday. Actually had a pretty full week on the bike in general with tempo rides and such. I kinda figured that fresh legs were gonna be out the window on Sunday. I was partly right.

I get to the race nice and early. Get my race number, get geared up, and start my warm up routine. I'm fairly anxious to see how it goes today as I've lost 5 pounds since my last short track race 4 weeks ago, and I felt like I'm in slightly better shape. I also decided to race with the big boys today. By big boys I mean Clydesdales (200+). Don't laugh, these guys are all in shape. If your envisioning guys with beer bellies in tights you'd be sorely mistaken. Think tall, muscular, and able to straight up stand on the gas pedal. Most have been racing for many years and most of them do good in the Cat 2 races as well.

Think this for a typical Clydesdale

Not this:

I seem to always start my comeback race seasons in the Clydes class as I let my weight slip over 200 pounds. Last year thanks to not racing and only riding sporadically, I let myself get up to 218 lbs. Yikes, that's heavy for me. I've managed to lose 8 pounds since before the 2012 holidays, and I'm pretty much losing a pound or more a week now. Guess my blog name is a little off at the moment - maybe it should say 210 pounds of dough boy. Fear not though, I'm on track to be back at 190 late spring and shooting for a goal of 175 by the end of the year.

It's finally race time! I ditch my warm gloves, arm warmers, shoe covers, and Iphone (music) that I was using during my warm up. Get over to the start and get lined up. I reset my Garmin and boom, the race is started. Funny thing happened. My mind was telling my body to sprint, but my body wasn't having it. I thought I was pinning it, but I watched as the entire field went by me and I go into the woods last.

Photo cred: Mrs. Jonnynails

You can barely see only a part of me at the back in this photo. I was like WTF just happened? Now I'm at the back of a long congo line thru the woods. I'd have to wait until the hill to start to pass people. We all finally get to the end of the single track and start to climb the hill. The good part of this 3 minute climb is that there is plenty of room to pass. The bad news is the grass section of death. The grass is super soft and it feels like your riding through glue with your brakes on. On one section of it I'm standing up working my ass and going like 5 mph. The leaders were gone and any hopes of even trying to keep up with them was now officially over. I started picking people off here and there and always made sure to jump the jumps and give the crowd something to yell about. I gotta say it was fun hearing them get all excited when everyone in front of me was rolling the jumps and I was throwing some mini whips and cross ups all Old School BMX Style!

Thanks for the pic Pamela

I finally caught the guy in the blue/black jersey in front of me in the above pic. I passed him, he passed me, we caught up to another guy in our class. All three of us passed each other back and forth for about two laps. I noticed that I could keep up on the hill and that I was way faster going down it. 

Thanks for the pic and the cheering Brock and Amie

So now I started thinking race strategy. First I made sure to pretty much coast behind these two guys down the hill. Letting my heart rate and legs recover and rest. Then I drafted them all the way up the hill. Guy #1 had guy #2 right on his wheel and I was right on guy #2's wheel. I shifted into the big ring and waited until the very top of the hill. This is gonna suck, really bad, but I gotta do it - will I survive this attack? I stand up and hammer as hard as I can. I mange to get by both of them before the corner in one move and nobody seems real interested in matching my attack. I can't blame them - it was a short effort, but way above my threshold. When I finally let off I feel like I'm gonna throw up or pass out. I manage to hold it together and get into the woods for the downhill. See ya, bye bye. I'm gone now. Officially dropped them. The blue/black jersey guy tried to come after me on the next lap, but I had a gap and I made sure I gave it full gas every time up the hill.

Neal announced that the race was over, but I did another lap for good measure. I mean if I was gonna go deep in the pain cave today then why not. Garmin said 7 laps in 32:49. My last lap officially didn't count obviously, but I ended up in 5th which was mid-pack. I was fairly happy with my performance as I finished right behind the fast guys in this class. Maybe with a better start I could have kept them in sight and gotten more motivated, or maybe not? There is one more Short Track race left this winter, which is next week, and you can bet I'll be giving it full gas trying to get a podium spot! I'm just stoked to be back riding my bike a lot, training, losing weight, and most of all super motivated to kill it this year. With me all it takes is the motivation part and the rest is just a matter of time.