Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dash for Cash

Approximately a 14 mile race completed in maybe 2:40

This race made Henry Clay seem like it was paved. Oh, but I get ahead of myself. The course was not too far from home, which was a nice change. Arrived early enough to see the runners take off. They would run the same course as the mountain bikers. I can't imagine running 14-18 miles over rocks.

Met up with Rob, Brad, Tim, Lynn, and some others. The temperature was in the high 80's, the race began at 2:00, but at least the humidity was high. Most of this course would run through private land that is opened only once a year for this event. Some of the course even goes through a local golf course.

The experts head out for 18 miles and then they start the sport class. Two of us are released every 30 seconds. Tom and I are paired off. We start the race and immediately don't know where to go. We have to wait for the team behind us, and then we're off. Luckily the rest of the course was marked really well.

Even though I knew better, I started off too quickly. The first two miles is rolling single track in fields and woods. Cross some rock gardens, but not too bad - yet. Start going through more rocky sections, now it's starting to get serious.

I hear a rider behind me coming quickly, so I move over to let him pass. Luckily. He tells me right around the next sharp turn is a really steep descent. And he was right. I got way behind the seat and rode it down perfectly. Until I got to the bottom where I promptly flipped over the handle bars. How embarrassing.

Supposedly it was 4 miles to the paved road where the beginners were to turn left and the sport turn right. Find out later it was really 5 miles, but felt like 10. I definitely went out too fast for the heat and humidity, and seriously considered heading back with the beginners.

But I continued on. Down the paved road and up some fire roads and on to the single track again. I started feeling better and for the next several miles seemed to do well. Though I did find myself walking a lot of the steep hills to save some energy.

Well this course sees a little bit of everything. Through pine forest, across knee high creeks, over a variety of bridges, through a golf course, and a tunnel! I think I had vertigo or something in the tunnel. Maybe a 100 yards long, and the only light you could see was at the other end. The term "the light at the end of the tunnel" had a new meaning. It felt as if you were riding on a conveyor that you couldn't see. Very odd, but very cool.

When I made it to the golf course, I grudgingly rode up the paved trail. I made it up! At this point I had about 3-4 miles to go, but really thought I might not make it. All of my energy was gone, I was walking up most hills, and walking my bike through many of the 3,234 rock gardens. I was getting sloppy and didn't want to get hurt - knowing I had a 24 hour race upcoming.

Caught up to a pair of runners. They had started an hour before us. I guess I shouldn't complain much. Met Tim on the golf course. He had bonked earlier and was waiting for his wife and Rob to meet him. One last hill he told me.

I finally get out of the woods and into some farm land and see the tents where that finish line is. I finish the ride in what felt like 5 hours, but was only 2:40.00. That was definitely the longest 15 miles I have ever ridden.

Felt light headed on the trail, and in the parking lot. Took the hose and sprayed myself down. Wow, that felt great. Collapsed in my van and talked to one of the other racers, hoping my energy would return. They had a great bbq cooking, and I was so worn out I had absolutely no appetite.

Chugged down a bunch of water, went down and listened to the live bluegrass. These guys know how to throw an after party. Finally get my appetite back, and have some local raised and cooked barbecue. Great stuff!

Got home a few hours later. Hadn't had to use a bathroom since 2:00, and didn't need to until about 8:00. And this was after hydrating all morning, drinking water bottle of energy drink, finished a full camelback, and all the water after the ride. Wow, was I dehydrated. Slept great that night. Whew.

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