Monday, January 30, 2012
Do Or Die
I’m getting ahead of myself…sorry.
I was pretty worried about race number three in the 2012 Winter Short Track Series, since I had no idea how my knee would hold up under race conditions. Since I had knee issues, I couldn’t really ride very much during the week either. I wondered if I could even compete at all. Turns out this race was better than I expected.
I felt great before the start, and decided that I would push it as hard as I could. For the first time ever in a race, I wore my heart rate monitor. I was always afraid of what I would see, but this time I figured why not. Turns out I would be surprised.
When we took off, I fought hard to get up front. I entered the single track in second place, and pushed hard to stay with the leader. The pack was pretty close together, and I would have to keep this fast pace to remain competitive. When I hit the climb out, I was feeling the effects of riding so hard. A couple of guys went by me on the fire road, and for the first time I glanced down at the display on the heart rate monitor. It read 191. Holy shit, I’m gonna die (I’ve never seen it that high before.)
As I crossed the line and headed out for lap two I was still moving fast. I couldn’t afford to take it easy to slow down my heart rate, so I pushed it even harder and tried to recover a little bit on the downhill.
Photo credit: Lunchbox
I was fighting to keep from getting dropped, and I knew that some guys were gunning for me. Mr. Ryde caught up to me on the fire road, and went right on by. I tried my best to stay with him, and I told myself I wasn’t about to let him out of my sight. I yelled to him that my heart rate was 191 (still), and I wondered how the hell I could keep this up. I stayed with him on the next lap, and decided I would catch him again on the fireroad even if it killed me. Meanwhile Lunchbox was still snapping photos.
When I hit the fireroad I made my move. I pushed as hard as I could possibly push, and I looked down again to check my heart rate. This time it read 193. Looks like I found my new max heart rate. I mashed by Mr. Ryde and left him way back somehow.
I crossed the start/finish line, rounded the corner in the parking lot, and saw that I was being hunted down. Mr. Ryde, Rodney B., Big John, and local bike shop owner Mark were making their move to catch me, so I made the decision to put it all out there. I took off as fast as I could, hoping to put a big gap between us.
My heart rate never got higher than 193, but it also never went below 180 the whole race. Eventually I saw no one in my class behind me, and I had just passed another guy in my group. When it was announced that we had one lap to go, I gave it everything I had left. I was having fun, even while maxing out my heart rate again.
I climbed up the fire road as fast as I could, constantly checking behind me to see if anyone had caught back up. I was all alone as I crossed the finish line, and I felt like my heart was gonna explode. Later when I checked the results, I found out that I had finished in a respectable 4th place. In fact, I had surpassed my personal best for a lap time out there, turning a 3:40 on one of my laps. I almost died to get it, but it was worth it.
I gave it my best effort, and ran my fastest time. I had no issues at all with my knee, and my fitness seemed to be just fine. Hopefully I can do the same thing next week.
It was a good day for racing. Little Miss Sunshine raced, and so did Lunchbox. I even decided to go back out on the single speed to wear out whatever legs I had left. More on that stuff tomorrow.