Thursday, June 18, 2009

Light and Dark

After Bump-n-Grind, I kind of floated on a wave of disappointment, more like post partem depression.

There was so much hype and build up, as we got ready for this race. Marcus was trying to make a serious shot at his move up to expert. The first couple of races produced doubt in his mind. Truth be told, he did really well, it's just tough when you've been competitive in Sport for so long. Unfortunately, the fickle hand of fate dealt him an evil series of blows that culminated with him backing out of the trip the night before we left. It had to be frustrating to put in all those months of work, and not even get to participate in the race the whole season was planned around.

The trip was still fun. The ride up had everyone in tears, as did the trip home, but maybe for slightly different reasons. We had a huge crew riding together again, on Saturday. The trail was in great shape, but I do think the downhill after Blood Rock is getting rougher every year. I'm riding a 5" travel bike, and I swear it beats me up, now, more than when I rode hardtails here, years ago. Maybe I'm just going faster, and the smoother ride is negated. Maybe it's just getting rockier.

My preride went well. I felt great, and for the 1st time ever, I didn't go too hard on Saturday. The race rolled around, and all was good. I started in the middle of the group. I was in sight of the leaders, but rolling more my own pace. I kept a close eye on my heart rate numbers, so I didn't let the adrenaline kick me into overdrive too soon. That's really become a big deal as I've gotten older. About 4 miles in, I had the dreadful feeling that my rear tire was low. A second or two later, I felt the rim bottom out on a rock, and my worst fears were confirmed. I stopped at the beginning of the road to the climb, pulled my wheel, pulled out my flat gear, and made a snap decision to give it a shot of co2 and roll. I was down to about 20psi, but it had been that way for 10 minutes. Maybe the Stan's sealant would seal the problem, and I wouldn't need a full fledged tube install.

The increased tire pressure felt great. It felt like I was flying again. The climb gave me less trouble that it ever has. Ice Berg passed me right before the top, and JC caught me just as we crested. I went straight to the big ring, to carry some steam over the next few rollers. In past years, I wasn't even close to rolling the big gear, I would be so blown from going way too hard by now. JC and I caught Berg on top of the 1st roller. I asked if he was alright, and he almost puked a gel all over me. Apparently he REALLY doesn't like that flavor. We started to roll out, and I felt the rim bottom again. DAMN, this is so frustrating. I stopped and gassed it again, and struck out on a wing and a prayer. She held pretty well until about the last 3 miles. By then, I was really protecting the back wheel. I couldn't corner very hard, or the tire would try to roll off the rim. Don caught me in the last few miles, and I tried to ride with him, but the bike just wouldn't cooperate. My finish time was less than stellar.

I'm happy about the fact that I stuck to my plan for maintaining a reasonable effort at the beginning. I felt great on the climb, for the 1st time ever. I rode the majority of the singletrack after the descent off of Blood Rock in the big ring. In the past, I'd hit those rollers and wind up in the granny gear, fighting off cramps. None of that this year. Despite these positives, I feel like it was a missed opportunity. Looking at my numbers later, I realized my average HR was 155. It should have been closer to 161-163. I think that going slow, trying to protect my back wheel, for so much of the course, kept me from achieving my potential. I feel let down. Like I let myself down? Not sure. Like fate was dicking with me. Maybe. Either way, it was very anticlimactic.

After returning home, I just didn't really want to talk about it, and I have not had much else to say, so it's been nothing but crickets around here. I decided to skip the Farmington, GA race, so I could get a little done around the house. Dauset is this weekend. I know, it's Father's Day, but the Ol' Man's got other responsibilities on Sunday, so we're taking him to breakfast Saturday, and leaving for the race around lunch time. My little brother has been wanting to go see one of these races, so he's coming up this weekend, as is Mrs. Worm. I'm really looking forward to it. I like it when my wife comes to the races. A few of the other guys are bringing spouses, so they'll have each other to talk to, while we race. I love this course, the climbs are tough, but nothing as sustained as Birmingham or Thomaston. Plenty of fast flowing singletrack, with just enough rock thrown in to keep you on your toes. It's honestly the course that most caters to my strengths, of the entire GA series. Hopefully there is still enough juice in the tank, left over from that infernal Plan that trained me to perfectly protect a flat tire while maintaining a low HR.

Around home, things are always the same, but a few things are bubbling up here and there. I rode with Juancho and Cupcake at Munson. That was a blast. It really is nice to see some other faces, and mix up the your riding crew vocabulary. I'm a little worried abut my buddy, Wrecking Ball. He really does seem to be having a hard time with his physicalities. He rides with us, and rides way stronger than he has any right to. Yet, he feels like he's crawling. I don't know how much pain he has after the ride, but if his depression is based on his performance during the ride, he's got nothing to be worried about. But when you get home, the endorphins wear off, and things start to ache. If that's the problem, that's a little tougher. Regardless, I think the crew just needs to try to hang out without the bikes a little. That would help the injured avoid some of the left out feeling. We've all been on the injured/reserve list, and it does get a little lonely, when the only time you see your friends, is on the bike. Hell, during Marcus' longest bout with the broken body, he was driven to take up RC cars, and we just can't let that sort of thing happen again.


BIG JIM said...

Nice one

bikediet said...

Hey Terry, wanna by a Revo???

juancho said...

I hate to say it, but it seems like Oak Mt. rattled all of you guys pretty bad. some because they went, some because they didn't.

Nothing a late night campus cruise with friends wouldn't solve- or an expedition to find the fabled Pinhook river.

BIGWORM said...

J - It all falls in an area I've been trying to improve upon; living my life in experience versus expectation. Sometimes we get so caught up in expectations, we get let down and miss the experience.

Along those lines, I'm down for the experiences you've mentioned. Mingo's always good for a "get us lost" adventure, too.

bikechain said...

I could use a west side ride. Ride up San Louis and others...