Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Escape The Cold

Although I’d already signed up for the 12 Hours of Santos well in advance, it quickly turned into an escape from the lovely weather we’ve had here in Charlotte

Lots of other folks had the same idea, so when I finally got down near Ocala, FL I ran into some of the Charlotte FasterMustache crew, Dicky, Jordan from The Hub, Niner Mike, and a whole bunch of other familiar faces.  I got everything setup in a hurry since I was camping out of my truck, and we hung around for a while discussing what we were in for.

It felt good to be back “home” in the place I grew up with people from my current home.  And it was good to be warm too until the next morning.

I can’t recall ever having to scrape ice off of any vehicles I’ve owned, but I do remember it getting cold enough to freeze.  It was 32 when I woke up Saturday morning, but once the sun came up over the trees we started to get warm again.  I was ready to see what I could do this year.

Last year, I came in with a horrible attitude and bailed after three laps (and wondering if I’d ever race again.)  This year, I planned to race, or at least give it everything I had.  After a quick rider meeting, I dropped my bike at the neutral zone and headed down in the Vortex pit to get ready to “run” for the start.  I don’t run anymore, and I thought for sure I would just casually stroll to get my bike.  When the race started though, I took off running just like most everyone else.  I grabbed my bike and ended up somewhere in the middle I guess.  I was supposed to take it easy, but I found myself “racing” and riding hard to pass people.

I felt fine, so why not?

After the “parade” lap (which was quite long and for some reason still didn’t spread everyone out) I started to settle in.  I still passed a few people here and there, and some of the faster riders started passing me.  I found a good pace that wouldn’t kill me and I was feeling mighty fine.  The short, yet technical and steep climbs were hammered, and I sailed through the flat stuff spinning at a comfortable pace.

Photo credit:  GoneRiding.com

There was no quitting this time I figured.  I paid attention to my fluid intake and made sure to eat whenever I could.  After three laps my bottles were empty (as planned), so I stopped for a refill.  Niner Mike was more than helpful, especially since I mentioned to him that my front tire probably had too much air in it.

“This place is beating the shit outta me.”

Mike: “How much air do you normally run in the front?”

“I dunno.  25 p.s.i. I guess?”

You see, I’d refilled my tire sealant a few days before and pumped up my tires ridiculously high to help it seal and forgot to check the pressure before I started the race.  During the first couple of laps I stopped real quick (a few times actually) to let some air out when traffic on the trail caused me to have to dismount.  I thought maybe I was close to the ideal pressure up front after so many attempts.  When Mike checked my tire and told me it had 30 p.s.i. in it I was shocked.

No wonder the rocky stuff hurt so much.  He dropped it down to 25, which I realized later was still too much for running a rigid fork, even at my weight.  It was noticeably better though, so the next two laps were a little more comfortable.  I never did check the rear…


Anyway, five laps in I was out of water again (all according to plan.)  This time, Mike refilled my bottles and I told him that I was gonna take a little bit longer break this time to make sure I could last the entire race.  I texted the little lady really quick to let her know I wasn’t dead, ate some food, and walked back over towards the pit area so I could stretch.  I got a lot of encouragement from the TotalCyclist team, as well as the rest of the crew in our area to keep pushing.  It was definitely appreciated.

I wasn’t about to stop riding, even though I’d already beaten my lap total from last year.  I had a horrible headache, my back and neck were killing me, and my left wrist was in pain (FROM A RIGID FORK AND TOO MUCH STUPID AIR PRESSURE.)  My legs (and my mind) felt good though, so I hopped back on my bike to finish it out. 

More tomorrow…

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