SWE 6 Hours of Cathedral Pines '17
Something Wicked Events 6 Hours of Cathedral Pines 2017 Race
I'm going to admin that I have very few memories of things that I would deem "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life". I'm not one of those go-getting always pushing the limits, making you feel lazy kind of person. Since I started riding again about 3.5 years ago though, I've had a few times where I've had to push myself physically, unsure of the outcome.
Getting back into riding was hard, really I was getting back into working out as well, I had almost a full 10 years of not doing all that much, I had stopped playing hockey, rarely went skiing, and only occasionally went on walks. The first time I went to ride the 2.5 blue loop at glacier ridge on my 13 year old trek, I felt like I was going to die, I needed a break after 100 yards, we stopped at the top of every hill, it probably took an hour. Fast forward to today, and I get to feel satisfied riding 70 miles in 7 hours with less than 5 minutes of stopping to swap bottles and clothes, I would have told myself 3 years ago that was impossible.
Recap: Got there a little late, it was 28dg, I was freezing just getting the bike ready, and it was taking a lot longer than I though, also the registration line was long! I ended up with 1.5 minutes of warmup, I rode through the field/maze section once, then got my number plate. The said the race was starting in 15 and I rode down to the start expecting to find a ton of people in line for the front row, but I was amazingly the first one there. I didn't want to be on the front row, I would have been run over. Saw some friends, but ended up moving way to the outside to say out of the pack, which worked, I got around a crash and settled in, getting swamped by at least 50 riders pushing to the front. Around the field and the traffic jam was bad getting into the trail, but we worked through it, and my friend ended up right in front.
First lap was 54 mins pushing a bit harder than I wanted too, but necessary to keep up with the "pack". I did pulled off a wicked save, I hit a root sideways and the front end slid out, I managed to unclip and yank the bars back into shape without crashing.
Lap 2: We landed right in the zone of the relay teams, and let a number of riders through on the first 1/3 of this lap, they were all fresh and most were only doing one lap a clip, so they were going for it. My friend Dave came through and told us less talking, more pedaling, easy to say for someone looking a cozy chair in 40 minutes :)
Lap 3: I didn't need to pit yet, my friend did, so I told him I was going to run the lap solo, I wanted to see if I could get my HR lower, it was 15bpm over what I thought was ideal, I expected it to be, every race I've done has been this way. I really only got it down 2-3, and the lap was a bit slower than 1/2, and I needed to pit now.
Lap 4: After you get into the singletrack the first 1/4 of the trail includes a section called the three sisters, this is 3 punchy hills that always tap me out, even in 30/42, this was the first lap I started to feel the cramps. Having not ridden 70 miles ever, I did know that around 40 miles I have had cramps in the past, and looky there, I was at 41.2 miles again. I backed down a bit, but I think I was still riding the hills, once past them I could manage the effort to keep the cramps at bay. Lap was the first one over an hour, at 1:01 (with the pit stop).
Lap 5: This is where it unravelled, I don't remember if I walked any or all of the 3 sisters, I think I rode the first hill, then walked the second two because the cramps were locking up hard. My ass hurt, I was cold because I took off my head beanie, a mistake, I didn't want to ride anymore. At some point I told my friend I was hanging back to deal with the cramps. I slowed down to under 9mph average, which finally started showing my HR dropping into the zone I wanted it. I also took a break from eating, too many gu's and mix, and everything I was sick of it, I wanted salt, so I planned to grab the pretzels I had for the next stop. My back was realy sore at this point, neck was stiff, I just wanted to stop. 1:04.30
Lap 6: I stopped for a long time, got the beanie (weatherneck,com awesome hat) and it wasn't frozen, got the pretzels, grabbed a gu with caffeine and berry flavor to mix it up, dropped the pack, and grabbed a plain water bottle. I knew I had less than 10 minute buffer to make it the 7-lap goal, and that my friend wasn't that far up the road, but was sure he was doing the 7th lap. I walked all 3 of the "sisters" and was able to keep the rest of the pace back up with 9.5. 1:03 lap with the long stop.
Lap7: By the time I came through there was 5:55ish on the clock, and having chatted with a nice lady on the trail I was starting to feel better, and lap 7 was faster than 6 by a minute, I say I almost enjoyed that last lap. I have listened to accounts of the mid ride bonk on these kind of endurance rides, but never experienced it until today, and its a very interesting feeling, if I hadn't heard of others recounts, I surely would have given up thinking that was it.
Am I ready to do it again? I'm not sure yet, we'll see next year :)