Sunday, May 25, 2008

WVMBA #5 - White Oak

The Perfect Storm
A Dummies Guide to a DNF

The White Oak race was the culmination of every little thing that could go wrong. Any one of the events, when taken separately, was a minor inconvenience. Together, they created the perfect storm of misery.

Let me list my many mistakes:
not quite over my chest congestion
rode the day before the race - was an easy ride but my recovery time is not good
stayed up late to watch the Pens lose
ate a bunch of junk food rather than the normal routine
not enough water in the days leading up to the race

So then Dave and I arrive at the at White Oak. We hook up with Don and Aarron and a couple of other guys. Pre-rode the course a bit (another mistakes as my legs already didn't have any power and any preride was a bad thing).

The race started up a long, steep hill. I just kept a steady pace, knowing a fast pace would blow my legs out. The first lap (approx. 8 miles ) went pretty well. Not quite as fast as I'd like, but I felt okay. Made it up all of the hills, passed quite a few people.

Finished the first lap, and realized that this was going to be a loooong 17 miles and that I was a bit short on liquids. Second lap began with a huge hike a bike. This was the beginning of the end for me. Legs started shutting down. Ride down this hill was rocky but fun, that is until a root directed me into a tree. Ouch. And felt really bad for the guy behind me that had to ride off into the woods to keep from running over me.

Got more into the second lap when it hit. I had to ride up an incline that on the first lap was no problem. All of a sudden I had no energy in my legs. I had to get off and push. Usually I mentally give up on a hill before I physically have to. But this time my legs were done. People started passing me, even the tandem.

Cross the road and head back some long trails. Started getting light headed. Not good. Pushed for what seemed like miles, tried to ride when I could. Oh, and it was hot!

Cross back over the road and head toward the finish line. All I wanted to do was finish the race, even if it took me three hours. The experts were starting to pass me, asking me how I was doing as I guess I looked horrible.

Then when an expert gave me the double take, stopped, and asked if I was sure I was okay, this is when I started to think about things a little more seriously. At this point I was light headed, no legs, nauseous, thirsty, and hungry. Was I sweating? Not really sure. I was going slowly, so maybe I shouldn't have been sweating.

Or was I in the first (or later) stages of heat exhaustion? I felt mentally not too bad, or was I losing it a bit? Yes, it's embarrassing to not finish a race, but more embarrassing to collapse, go into convulsions and be taken out by ambulance. So I did the smart thing (though I hated to do it) I returned to the road and road back to the parking lot.

I was wiped out. Had Dave drive us home. In about an hour I started feeling better. Another hour later I finally had an appetite.

Learned some really hard lessons, but ones that I will never forget. Which may be good timing as I have the Big Bear 24 hour race upcoming in two weeks. Note to self: avoid the perfect storm.

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