WOW, had a super fun ride/race Saturday. Made up for any negative feelings I held onto from the previous race for sure.
The week leading up to the race had me very weary of weather conditions as they were calling for 15-20mm of rain. I had also spent the week prior to that relaxing at the cottage and let my training slide completely except for canoeing, swimming and 1 measly 8k ride. Back at the office last week I did my best to get in at least 21K per day except for Friday when I only rode 6k to wind back down. I was feeling pretty good about my return to conditioning by Friday except for maybe mild lack of sleep. All week my wife and I had things going on and did not get settled in until late. Friday night my daughter did Jr. Cheer for the Toronto Argonauts which was great but again left us up until 12:30am.
Saturday morning I woke up in a quiet house at 6:30am. Careful to be quiet and not wake my wife, in-laws, kids, or niece I made and ate some breakfast and began mixing Perpetuem and gathering other foods which would not be used. Grabbed 2 Gatorade bottles on the way out the door for morning beverage needs.
I was off, put the Hardwood Hills co-ords in the garmin and headed for the fun. Part way there I stopped for water and found Red Rain on for 74cents a can so decided to get 4 for post-race wake up. A little further on and got a text that Mike had forgotten his water, stopped in Barrie at an everything store that was equipped with a Water depot and got him 4 gallons of water. Again, I was off...
A short drive further and I was at Hardwood Hills unpacking my bike and daily needs into Mike's tent. Headed in and got my plates and race schwag and got into my racing garb. Day was shaping up well. It was hot and humid but not raining. Mike and I headed down and got in line at the race start. I positioned myself behind a few people I knew were in my category. I also met a couple guys at the start. Always great meeting people in person at these events that you have talked to online. Almost time to go and then time stands still for a bit.
Go!! And we are off. Up the first hill and playing early pole position with one of my competitors. Got ahead and set my sites on the rear tire of another pair of riders led by Peter. I loosly held the tire in question for the next 1.5 laps but they snuck away in traffic after that. My plan was to do 3 laps between first pit and 2 there on out. I had been feeling great early and was not drinking my Perpetuem and started to notice lack of calories. Drank back quite a bit and was right back. Ended up doing 4 laps before first pit and was feeling great. Went in for my first pit stop and refilled my Camelback and grabbed a new bottle of Perpetuem.
Lap 5-6 went well except for my new bottle was a little too fast pour. I decided I was going to do 3 laps but did not have any left in the bottle after 2. Quick pit and back out. Not sure what happened the next lap but it was a game changer. Was pounding through feeling great until I got in the midst of a bunch of other riders and got sloppy. Literally fell off the bike at the crest of a hill between two large trees and hung there from my cleats for a sec. "You alright??" Yup back up and going. Over the same sections that I have already hit 6 times and things are just sloppy this time. Just before the end of the lap within the last 1K i go over a familiar rock that I have found a great line to cross successfully at high speed and... Bang, twist, flop, smash... Head - meet fallen log, hey that guy just asked me if I was ok back there too. Take inventory, head check, neck, check, bike, check, helmet, well sorta check it is not sitting anywhere near right. Ride the few hundred meters to transition and repair the helmet. Great encouragement from the sidelines continue and a how was that lap? I just shook my head and headed for my pit.
Plans change. Time to ease off a bit and stop for fuel and cool-down a bit more. I dumped 2 bottles over my head and took an advil for that new pain in the back of my head. 8th lap was great and the water bottles over the head and Heed at the campsite really brought my temp back to normal. I decided to do so for remaining laps. At the end of lap 8 I was given info that the rear wheel I had chased early in the race had dropped out as well as my early pole position which put me around 4th place. Still feeling too far from the podeum I decided pacing myself was best. If I had realised that I had just been passed coming into transition and was close within fighting distance of 3rd I think I would have played the late game differently. Lap 9-10 were very much the same as 8 and had no bails or anything and energy bursts were good. Nothing to report about bails etc and my hand eye had came back after the cool down sessions. Lap 11 was a slow start. Could not muster my normal attack the first couple climbs and get into it. Pulled away later on the lap than usual. Ended up about midway standing for a little breather atop the hardest climb of the race pounding some heed and ran into Mike. "What are you doing?" I'm dead. "No you are not" and with that it was back I felt like I sprinted the second half of my last lap leaving everything on the course. It was a super fun race and I want to do the fall Epic 8 now. I am very happy with a 5th place finish in Solo SingleSpeed at my first 8 hour solo.
Late in the race I was greeted with a bellowing of egggman, egggman, Mike how you feeling from behind. I said I was hurting and called a pass for the guy in front of me. I wnt out to the right and was passing when he swirved or at least that is my story. My bar end cought in his brake lever and we went down. At this point Mark Somers of Joyride 150 rode by with a little laugh/smirk/you ok kind of thing. Another last lap mini bail came from missing my water bottle cage and doing a little butt over teakettle kinda roll. Ah the comic relief of it all.
It was great to ride with all the people around you giving you props for doing it solo and a few minor heckles about sanity and doing it Singlespeed Solo. I have always had an appreciation for Solo racers but that increased 10 fold over the day. The weather held out other than a couple minor sprinkles late in the day and my wife showed up on my second last lap which put a smile on my face. The picture below is me on the final turn of the final lap taken by my wife. I did not feel like I had as much energy left as the picture shows.
I think I learned a few things about Solo racing Saturday, mostly regarding keeping the fuel coming at the same rate and don't let up or you will get weak. Also make sure to do whatever it takes to cool down when possible. Next time I hope to need less breaks as if I am able to schedule it it will be early fall and much better temps. I think that's all I have to say for now... I'm out...