This past Sunday was the make-up date for the Squiggy Classic. My goal for the day was to complete 5 laps and to not die. I can tell you, I reached my goals. Both of them. Unfortunately, I am still left feeling disappointed.
I got to Morris Bridge park quite early. It only took about an hour and twenty minutes to get there from my house. Amazingly, there were a ton of people already there, and I had to park quite far away. Getting signed up was no problem, I just told them my name and I got my 'race packet'
My 'Race packet' contained very little. I got a hammer gel and some clif and larabar samples. No t-shirt. Really? No t-shirt? After getting the packet, I had to walk my cooler down to the staging area. My cooler has no wheels. That means, I would have had to struggle with my cooler from my car - which was a million miles away - had it not been for Tony. He helped me with the cooler when he saw me struggling with it
The Squiggy Classic has a LeMans type of start, meaning, I had to run a good 100 meters to get to my bike - in carbon shoes. That was a comfy way to start off the day. haha. Here's me just after getting on my bike and making my way through the crowd.
Ahh how fresh I look. This 'freshness' would only last about 3 laps. The course was nice, but had alot of sand. There were some really nice fast sections of singletrack a few ups and downs and a few rooty sections. Right at about mile 8 started a section called 'heartbreak ridge'. This section sucked. At least, it sucked for a guy on an aluminum hardtail. I run around 30psi front and back with 29 inch wheels - usually roots dont bother me that much. These roots were okay for the first couple of laps, however, after that they lived up to their name.
I rode 2 laps straight through without stopping. I felt great after the 2nd lap, stopped and refilled my camelbak bladder, got another bottle of accellerade (I had prepared 3 bottles with the plan of drinking one bottle and one camelbak full every two hours or so) I was in the 'pit area' for only a couple of minutes. My first laps were good, I averaged under 50 for the first and just over 50 for the second and third. However, something weird happened on my fourth lap. I started feeling bonktastic. I was on my second bottle of accellerade and second camelbak bladder. I had been hitting the gel or clif bloks every 30 or so minutes. I tried to eat a clifbar, but it tasted like eating crackers in the desert. I was actually feeling a bit cold, even though it was in the 80s and I started to feel nauseous. I was guessing I was getting dehydrated, or electrolyte depleted. I stopped for a second and ate half a package of the margarita clif bloks and had a few swigs of water. Was not feeling much better. I struggled back to finish this lap.
Luckily, most mountain bikers are cool. I got back and was feeling a little terrible. The guys who were sitting next to me were riding as a team. They had an extra folding chair that they let me use. Thanks guys! I laid there for about 40 minutes trying to recover. Since I did pretty well for my first few laps, I had plenty of time to get out and finish up a 5th lap. I gutted it out and finished a 5th lap with 40 minutes to spare.
Here I am after my 5th lap looking not so fresh.
Looking back, I should have had more electrolytes. I had almost a full bottle of acellerade left after the race, and a good amount of water in my second camelbak bladder. While riding, it really felt like I was keeping up on my drinking/eating. However, now looking back - I wasnt drinking enough after the 3rd lap. After the race, I went to the bathroom and my urine came out brown. Thats a good sign that you didnt drink enough liquid. The first 3 laps I seemed to be keeping up really well with the drinking, and must have just lost focus and paid the price. That wont happen again, I hope. If I would have kept up with my hydration and feeding I would have finished 6 laps with relative ease. The garmin says - even with the last two laps of over an hour - that I had a riding time of 4 hours and 20 minutes. The next day I weight myself, and came out 10 lbs under my every day weight. Thats a hell of alot of water loss. I gained it all back by 9pm.
All in all, I am very happy with my performance. I did what I set out to do, and then some. 50 miles in the woods at 4:20 is nothing to sneeze at. I have been mountain biking for five months and have come a long way. Next year I will get 6 laps without a problem. Tomorrow is Santos for the prep for the Hammerhead 100.