In trying something new with crash cycles I perhaps took it a bit too far.... I have been sick the last couple of days and my race at Big Bear this weekend proved my overloaded training was a success in nuking myself. Good times!
The Big Bear Shootout #1 on Sunday was my first cross country race and I did have a great time seeing so many friends out in the hills and hanging out to celebrate Karen 21st BDay after the race. Monique and I were competing in the race as part of the Conquer the Bear series and this is just one of the reasons why I am so stoked about this "multi-event challenge". By the time we are done I will have done my 1st snowshoe race, 1st cross country race, 1st paddle race and 1st marathon...all at elevation no less! I doubt that I would seek out these events if I was not doing the series and it keeps you on your toes as I learned this weekend.
Cross country racing is hard. Harder than I thought and I learned some major lessons that I am very stoked about and will be taking with me on the next attempt at this ABOVE threshold effort. I decided to keep my "race simulation" training going after I got back from Alabama and have trained non-stop since the day after the race. The highest intensity block that I have ever completed and I am stoked I made it without injury...even if I am sick now I think a few days of rest should swing me back around. I thought ending this training block with a race would provide the perfect motivation to finish strong...I just had no idea it would be so intense!
I got bumped up to Cat1 even though it was my first race by providing results from VQ and the 12hrs of Temecula. This way I got to do 24 miles instead of just 16. Bring on the fun. I knew I would have a hard time keeping up with the mtn bike guys in my division but I had no idea I would get dropped and have the complete meltdown that I did. It was awesome!
We started with about a 2 mile climb and the guys in my group took off SO FAST!!! Less than a mile into the race and I was dead last! I started working my way from my middle ring to the small ring up front and before long was in my granny gear just trying to keep my legs going. Ahhgg... My mind was surging and I knew it was going to be a long 24 miles in the hills.
I should have listened to Justin and completed his warm up with him. Just riding up to the start was hurting my legs so I decided to "take it easy" before the race because I was too sore. HA!
As we worked our way through the course I started to feel better and my legs started to come around but I was hurting and noticed that I could not even bring my heart rate up. I usually race at about 170bpm and this above threshold should have been over that but I was hardly pushing past 165bpm at the peaks. I started passing guys in my division and working my way back up but it would be short lived. I decided to enjoy it as much as I could and just get r done.
I saw Vu and Alison out on the course and it was inspiring to see these two in their element. The pain factory... ha!
At about an hour and a half into the race my body had enough. I found myself pushing my bike and standing on the side of the trail in "zombie mode". I was on the side of the trail letting riders by when I saw Alison again making her way up the single track chasing down the first place pro womens spot. She looked good and said the magic words to snap me out of it...."keep moving slater". Yes, that was what I needed! That is the old Adventure Racing spirit! Forward progress. I got back on and started making progress.
I ended up chatting with a few guys in my division on the fire road back in who were doing the series so I told them I would just follow them in... This was not my race to score points and I was happy to finish and get my @ss kicked in the elevation. Mission accomplished! These guys are for real and this type of racing is very challenging.... Love it but makes me think I may not have what it takes to succeed at this pain factory ;-)
I never saw Justin after the start but he placed 3rd in our division which had some of the fastest guys...what a stud! Alison took 2nd place Pro Women and Mike once again won his division in about 1:45min. I have a ton of respect for these folks and didnt realize how hard they were pushing in these races. Monique also got moved up to Cat2 and scored a 4th place finish. She even joined me on the hour trail run and ocean swim the day before...so stoked for her!
Time to rest up . . . hope for some super compensation in fitness and get ready for my biggest effort of the year this weekend at the first California Multisport race at Vail lake!