Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Mile Run MTB Race

Bike the Wilds point series - 18.5 miles - 3:22 (you read that right)9th place masters

Two Mile Run marked the fourth race in the Bike the Wilds point series. The training I did for this one? Went on vacation for two weeks, came back home got in two lack-luster rides in the ridiculous humidity we've been having, and ate a lot. Not a training regimen I would recommend to the timid. Oh yeah, and add to my lack of recent training: 90 degree temperatures with an even higher humidity level.

I arrived at Two Mile Run park, and got settled in. Things seemed well-organized, and sooner than I was ready for, we were lined up for a 100 yard dash to retrieve our bikes. As we started running, I kept it at an easy jog. I've been to too many 24 hour races where the first racer blows up their legs in these kinds of starts.

My strategy worked out fine, I passed a lot of people on the first hill. I'm sure their heart rates were skyrocketing, as cyclists aren't usually know for their running prowess.

The double track hill finally turned into the woods for some nice singletrack. I continued to pass people here, thought not much room for passing. Soon, while pushing my bike up a hill in some serious racer congestion, I heard a bunch of yells of, "rider back!" I glanced back and saw a bunch of racers I knew to be the normal race leaders come flying up to us. Asked one of the guys if they had gotten lost, and he answered in the affirmative.

Seeing racers lost brought back to memory my last race where I was riding strong, got lost, and received a DNF (even though I put in more miles than most participants).

You see once you've been lost in a race, it messes with your head a bit. In any race thereafter, you find yourself looking constantly for markers. And if you don't see one every ten feet, you start to panic. Even when you do see all the racer markers, you start wondering if somehow you've taken a wrong turn and are going on the course in reverse, or just riding in big circles.

All of this was in my head while I continued to race. The course was good and bad. A lot of good single track, and tons of course markings. On the other hand, the course marking were overdone in certain areas, and much too infrequent, or just plain confusing in other areas. More on that later.

I was racing surprsingly well for the first eight or so miles. Then my legs started feeling the two and a half weeks off the bike. Kept up my hydration, popped enurolyte tablets like they were candy, and put down shots of gel as I could. Mentally I felt good, but my legs were heavy. I found myself walking a lot of hills that I would normally ride.

The good news though was, even though I had heavy legs and the heat and humidity were ruthless, I was able to just keep riding. I figured I would finish the race in about 2:30 - 2:45. Unfortunately, I couldn't locate my Garmin GPS, so I wasn't sure how many miles I had put in, but I knew according to my watch that I was not going to make my normal time.

This is where the getting lost at other races comes in. After I put in over two hours, I started doubting myself a lot, wondering if I was still riding the course in the right direction. Luckily I ran into a couple of riders occasionally, which helped me quite a bit.

It's funny how in a race, after the initial furied start, you just seem to see the same people for most of the race. And this race was no different. It seemed that I passed and was passed by three other riders for mile after mile. Two of the guys seemed that they could've been in my class, but I wasn't really sure. In fact, I believe one of the guys short-cutted the course. I remember clearly passing him, having chased him down for quite a while, and then miles later there he was in front of me. Did he cheat? Did he get confused at an intersection? Was he just trying to survive? I'm going with option three. I really hope he wasn't cheating, and for as slow as I was going, I passed him easily.

Towards the end of the race, there were three specific spots where the flagging was really confusing. Oh yeah, this is where I also located the ground bees nest. A lot of us were stung, and my sting was still hurting three days later.

Anyway, I figured out my way to the finish line with a horribly bad time. Wish I had had my gps to see really how many miles I put in. They either really underestimated the mileage, or maybe I got off track for a while, or maybe my legs were just made of cement.

Regardless, a bunch of people cheered as I finished. I really appreciated that. I made it back to the van, grabbed ice water and cold oranges and collapsed in my camp chair till the nausea passed.

Went on the race site the other day to see how my finish compared to everyone's (and to see if there were a lot of dnf's) only to see there was some type of controversy and they're thinking things through before the post results. I'm kind of in the dark as to the specific incident, but it will be interesting to see the fallout.

One more race left to the point series. Not sure if I'll be going, it will mostly come down to whether I'm in the top ten or not.


  1. A race course through a bees nest. Now that's hardcore. Awesome! Maybe next year they'll throw in some quicksand and a volcanic mud pit.

    I hear you on getting lost. Ever since my 1st place 'win' at Big Bear two seasons ago I get super skitzed out over signage and being on course.

  2. Yeah, I'd never been lost in a race before, and now I'm very paranoid about every turn I make. But truly I can't wait to do a race that's not in the 90s with high humidity.