well....this isn't exactly what i wanted to be writing but it is what it is...
the build up for this race, even though the race was not a priority in any way, was still pretty solid. i knew what kinda of terrain to expect having raced here for Fools Gold 50 mtb race and seeing other racers ride profiles, i knew climbing would be on the agenda in a major way. so for the last few weekends, i spent some time climbing on the cx bike hoping it would help. and overall i felt like it did and that i was coming into this event with some ok fitness...being late February.
the travel over Friday night was fine, no issue what so ever. However,the pre-race dinner was not...while it was tasty, the hibachi stir fry was not only a tad bit on the salty side, it also stuck with me all night and into the next morning, it made me feel extremely bloated. So much so that on Saturday morning, when i should have been eating a large and in charge breakfast, i wasn't really hungry at all! i maybe ate one egg and a one piece of bread...not ideal for a 50+miles in the mountains of GA. Mistake #1...take away....never eat hibachi the night before a big race
my race day warm up....well, there wasn't a race day warm up...more like I tooled around for 10min before the start...not ideal and obviously not what i had planned on...mistake #2
i showed up to the start with plenty of time to get a good position in the front of the 300 strong group. And actually did ok through the cross course in the beginning of the race. It wasn't as tuff as i expected and found myself out on the roads much faster than i anticipated. Unfortunately, my heart rate was up much higher than i wanted it to be...even though the legs felt good...so what to do? i tried to settle down quickly and find a pace that was comfy, and i did. we hit the first dirt section and i could still see the lead group up in front...great! i was feeling good and we were flying. As we dropped down one of the first rutted up sections of dirt road i had both my bottle ejected out of their bottle carriers...nice! what to do? a few seconds went by and i decided to stop and go back and get them...mistake #3!!!! for so many reasons...fist, i should have just gone on and figured a way out with out them. Not having anything to drink for the first several miles wouldn't have been the worse thing. Second, as i ran back to find the bottles, a cyclist crashed hard right in where i was, and i knew her, Elizabeth from TN. I had to stop...I just wouldn't have felt right, picking my bottles up and leaving her alone. so i stood by her and waived other racers around. finally i helped pick her up and slide her out of the way...made sure she was ok, and waited for he husband to get there before i left her side. (karma i hope pays me back) i kinda figured that my race was over at that point. BUT...i decided like an idiot to chase back as best i could. i hammered up the climb...catching tons of riders and burring all my matches at the same time. as i crested the climb and got to the first ad station, i was hot and pulled my knee warmers off and grabbed my other bottle that i had sent up...mistake #4...as i continued to climb, i immediately knew that i was going to be cold and shouldn't have taken the knee warmers off. i tried to settle down some and find a high but sustainable pace...didn't really work out...i would continued to burn matches for no reason. then, stop number 2(mistake #5...karma please)...as i went around a corner, i noticed Jerry was pulled off because of a mechanical issue. i tried to help...i wasn't thinking clearly nor provided any help to him...basically just wasted more time and allowed myself to get cold by standing on top of the mtn. after several minutes of trying to figure things out, i told him to go back to the aid station and get a ride back. sucked for him big time as he was obviously riding really strong. i got back on my bike and continued to push on...but by this time, i had mentally given up. Really one of the first times i really ever have giving up mid race. so i settled into a pretty laid back z2 pace and just was riding. then...mistake #6 and #7...flat...fix it, get back on ride for like 10min and flat again...thank goodness i had two spare tubes and co2's with me, or else i might have cried like Adam Myerson. (even though it wasnt a good day for me and there was no "making the group")so after two tube changes, my mood was somber and low...and by this time, i was watching people pass me who, no offence, had zero chance of even keeping up with me during a race. it was heart breaking and a cruel slap of reality that when the shit hits the fan, it really stinks all over. after the last grunt of a climb it was nice to hit the long, fast descend back home. i passed lots of folks coming off the mtn and just rode back in with not much effort.
after the race, i wasn't in the mood for much more than eating and getting back home. i decided not to stay for the after party mainly because i didn't feel like reliving my horrid race experience to a bunch of guys who didn't really care about how shitty my day was. Southern Cross 2012 was the most odd day i have ever had while racing. i guess the only semi/sorta positive thing to take away from this is my actual ride time of 3:45(not that special in itself, i know)...ya see, i keep the auto pause feature on my garmin, which means the timer only records while I'm actually moving. and even though my goal time was 3:30 or less, i wasn't too far off...after basically quiting mid way through the race, i still had an ok ride time for 50miles and 6k of climbing.
the event was great! all the racers were cool and very strong! the weather was perfect for the most part. the course was epic. the results blew chunks for me...dont care what they are!