Cycle race 7:17:31  74.39 km (5:53 / km) +1524m 5:20 / km
shoes: Pearl Izumi X-Alp Seek
Race: Paul's Dirty Enduro
Av speed: 10.2 k/hr
Max: 37.3 (whoot!)
I have been traumatized by sand. Deep snowbank-like sand on flats, on climbs, on decents. Sand. I may never go to a beach again.
Ok it wasn't that bad. It was a hellish section though which was about 10-15k of technical riding with very deep momentum-sucking sand. Outside of that I think I did really well for the longest trail ride I've ever done and for being someone who really isn't great at technical trail riding.
I started at the back not knowing what to expect of myself, the terrain or the riders. I chatted with a couple of women who were hoping just to finish the 100k. I realized in about 30mins that I wanted to go a bit faster so I passed then and worked on getting some speed in. I wasn't terribly fast but prior to hitting the sand section I had an average speed of 12.3 km/hr. After hitting the sand and walking more than I'd like my average dropped to 9.9.
I picked up another rider just towards the end of the dunes. He hung behind me saying my pace was about right for him. I was glad for the company. He talked constantly which was actually a good thing since my biggest problem with technical riding is that I think too much. Talking distracts me just enough to let my reflexes do what they need to. Paul (the other rider) had been riding all sorts of bike events for about 10 years. He did make a comment that I rode very well technically which makes me pretty happy. I'm pretty strong at the downhills. I'm nervous about log hopping and I can get nervous about tight turns. My climbs could defnintely be better. The less nervous I am when riding the more momentum I have for a proper climb.
Reducing my nervousness is a big part of why I did this and I think it worked.
Where things fell apart:
When we hit the 40k food station we lingered FAR too long. He was chatting with other folks at the station and I just sat there listening waiting for him. It was ridiculous of me. Eventually as a hint I said I was running to the car (first 40k was a loop back to the start) to get a boost since I needed something better on the course. They had Cliff Bars at the food station but I'm allergic to those so I had to get something more to bring with me.
Then we got tangled up with a bunch of 15k family riders. Gad! I think it's brilliant to take your kids to this kind of thing but oh my gosh I was feeling frustrated with myself for have tarried so long then getting stuck behind folks who are just out for pleasure ride but aren't interested in pulling over to let you pass.
We left behind the 15k trail around our 50k mark.
When we hit a food station at km 59 we were told we missed the cut off by 15mins and had to be short cut. I was pretty heart broken actually.
Then a few riders came up behind (one couple on a tandem mountain bike!!!) and said they'd ride through anyway. So I jumped at that and said I would continue as well. I would be DQ'd but darned if I wasn't going to finish yet another race and I was feeling fine.
I raced ahead of the other riders because I was terribly worried about holding them up.
The ride was mostly great! No sand at all. Lots of descents and not much climbing (that had been earlier and I was at a high point). Since the sand my average speed had climbed back up to 10.2 and was up to 10.3 by km 70. I figured I had another 2 1/2 hrs and I'd be at the finish.
Then I hit another food station at about 72k (that's no counting elevation) and the marshalls there said I wasn't going any further. Full stop. No arguments. No discussion. They were taking my bike and I was to be driven back.
The other riders caught up and the marshalls agreed to let them ride on. I didn't realize this but they were the race organizers and lived in these woods so there was no concern about them getting lost.
The ride back was fun. The guys were actually really nice and I had ridden really well on my longest trail ride to date so I was feeling ok. Disappointed. But ok.
One of the guys is a bike mechanic at a shop in Picton. He said if I wanted to upgrade my bike he could build me something out of good components for about $1500. I won't be doing that this season but I'm getting close to upgrade time. I will however look at getting a better saddle for the race next weekend.
One last thing. The poison ivy really was as bad as they said. I was astonished. There really was NO way to ride there without coming into contact with it. At all the food stations there was poison ivy neutralizer. At the finish there was a wash station with more neutralizer, soap and hose. They say to wash down the bikes too since handling them after will also transfer the oils to your skin. I think I'm free but we'll see in a few days.
Summary of the trail:
Good - amazing rolling bits. I've never ridden on rolls like these it was SO MUCH FUN!!!! I actually laughed out loud while riding them. I wanted to turn around and do them again!
Bad - way too much sand. Lots of poison ivy.