Sunday, April 20, 2008

WVMBA #3 - Big Bear

Big Bear - 1:39.57 - 7th place master's sport - 13 miles

My favorite race of the year. Arrived at Big Bear and registered, ran into a new racer Bob. We jumped on the bikes to warm up a bit, and ran into Dave from last year's Month of Mud on his new Hi Fi. Left them to do a few all out efforts as a warm up and got to the riders' meeting late. This would prove to be a problem.

We lined up and off we went for the first one mile road sprint before entering the woods. I know myself, and was certain I would not do well here. Even though I warmed up a bit, it's never enough or worthwhile for me to blow out my legs at the beginning. So we ride up the road, me towards the back half and we ride by the normal right turn into the woods. Uh oh. We continue up the road and turn left into single track, the place where last year's beginners turned in. The good news, we wouldn't be doing the rock gardens or steep climb. The bad news, I wasn't quite sure how many miles we would be doing.

I felt pretty good and started picking up the pace, memories of last year's 24 hour race coursing through my head. I slowly started picking off riders as we would enter a roller or a technical section. Knowing the course was paying off.

Then I hit the wall. Every hill felt steep, I started wondering why I pay for the privledge of this torture. Then it hit me, I needed some gel. We were given free Hammer gel, so tried that. Wow, after about five minutes I could feel it. I picked up the pace and flew down the long descent that leads to the creekbed. It's probably the fastest I had ever taken it, and almost lost it going over one of the rock drop offs, but held it together. This year the arms felt fine during the descent, but my hands were cramping from being on the brakes so much. Cleaned the creekbed with no problem.

Up on to the fire road and realized two things. If the course was going to head back up toward the airfield, I had some good energy left, but if the course was heading back to the finish line, I didn't pace myself well. Unfortunately, it was the latter. I flew through sections that in past years troubled me. Continued to pass people in the last miles. Rode it hard, like I should have been doing all along. Made it to the finish line, and I think the course was only 13 miles rather than the 17 I was expecting. Legs were tired, but not trashed like they should have been. Oh well, learned a hard lesson there.

Dave ended up getting first place in sport masters! His winter training really paid off for sure. I got seventh place, but realistically could've gotten fifth had I paced it right. Ah well. Currently I'm in fifth place in the overall point standings. Henry Clay race is next on the agenda.

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