So, I know my race reports are a little different than the detailed training reports that a lot of authors post here, but isn't the result of PowerCrank training worth mentioning too?
As has become my custom, I trained nearly exclusively on PowerCranks two weeks prior to the race and tapered off and re-integrated my normal bike on the week of the race. Training on the cranks includes hills... lots and lots of hills. This is fantastic training because it gives me the opportunity to spin a fast cadence up the climbs and to push a big gear with a slow cadence going back down.
Here's the race report from another Blog. For those of you not interested in the details, here are the important points: 8 hour mountain bike race, 9-10 lap, 90% singletrack, 1300ft elevation per lap, I rode 11 laps, I won the Pro class and set a course record. For more details, read on...
Last week was a whirlwind of road trips, familiar faces, beuatiful weather, and dang good mountain bike racing! I loaded the car up on tuesday night with bikes, food, tons of clothing, extra helmets, shoes, lights, this, that, the other thing, blah blah blah… You all know the routine. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it when it comes to bike racing.
So, after my ride on Wednesday, Alicia (my girlfriend) and I started on our voyage toward Sacramento. The War Wagon (my 1993 Subaru Legacy Wagon) flew up I-5 for the next 8 hours and brought us safely to Fair Oaks for some Adalberto’s burritos and a good night’s sleep at my mom’s new house. Thursday was all about getting the bikes set up and ready for Saturday’s race. New bikes are wonderful, but they always need some tweaking before the first race. It was super cool to go ride the road bike in the stomping grounds around Folsom for a few hours on Thursday, made me miss Norcal something terrible!
After hanging out Friday morning we contemplated staying in Nevada City that night and driving to the race first thing on Saturday morning. However, after realizing that it was roughly a 3 hour drive we decided camping at the race Friday night was the best bet and we left for the race around 6:30pm. Nothing like setting up camp in the dark! Thankfully my tent is so simple that a trained monkey could put it together… So I only had a little trouble with it. Ha ha ha.
Race morning came too fast and the start came even quikcer. I was runnin late putting all of my ducks in a row and I rolled up to the start line about 25 seconds before Carlos said “GO!”. Who needs a warm up at an 8 hour race? I kept the leaders in my sights for the first few miles, I had told myself that I didn’t want to go out too quickly and blow up. Without a warm up of any kind, I didn’t want to push too hard to keep at the very front of the pack this early on, but by the end of the first lap, I found myself in the lead group of 4 with fellow Sobe/Cannondale (now Cannondale Factory) rider Kevin Smallman, and two very fast (like, really very fast) riders from Content Works, Matt Chaney and Jim Hewitt. I’ve raced against Matt a bunch of times, usually in the single speed class at various events. I don’t think I’ve ever raced head to head with Jim before this, he’s usually winning a different class (gears) while I’m pushing my SS around the course. The same goes for Kevin, I’ve been at events with him before, but never really raced with him. I knew that all three of them were extremely good riders and with 8 hours to race, other fast guys could certainly emerge from the pack of riders behind us. It’s tough to tell how things will turn out after only 45 minutes of racing!
For the next 3 or 4 laps I was unable to really get a gap on the other three riders, though I wasn’t trying to sprint away. I would pick up a little time on the climbs and they’d pick me back up on the descents… Gotta put more time in on the MTB! At the start of the third lap, Kevin took a spill and had some technical problems as a result which is a darn shame because he was riding really well and I think it may have turned into a friendly slug fest towards the end of the race. Then, not too long after that; maybe lap 4 or 5, Matt and Jim just sort of weren’t there anymore. I fully expected them to come back on some descending sections and by the end of the lap, I was still alone.
I didn’t see this as an opportunity to ease up on the pace, I just kept pushing. I actually wasn’t feeling that great at some point in the race. I can’t remember which lap it was, but it was relatively early and I felt as though I was starting to lose my rhythm. A nice PB&J burritio took care of that though and I was racing with a purpose once more. I was getting the gap times as I came through the pits and I wasn’t putting substantial time into my opponents which was understandable as my opponents are super fast and experienced racers. I’ll admit that I was a little worried at points that if I got to the end of the race with only a few minutes on the next guy, he still might be able to pull me back on the last lap or two…
Then, I asked for the gap on what must have been lap eight or so and suddenly my advantage was 20 minutes! I was suprised to hear such good news, and I didn’t trust it. Once again, I didn’t see this as an opportunity to slow up at all, I just kept pushing in case there had been a mistake and my opponents were really nipping at my heals. Everything was beginning to hurt now, but this was the point in the race where I could start counting down laps and reminding myself that I only had to grunt up this or that climb 3 more times, then two more times, and so on.
I kept grunting up those climbs and eating PB&J burritos until I could finally say to myself, “this is the last time you have to go up this hill!” My pit had confirmed the gap at half an hour as I started out on my last lap. I wasn’t quite sure how to approach the lap. Sure, now I could probably relax a little and take some time to enjoy the lap, but I still didn’t feel comfortable in letting my gaurd down just in case one of the other guys got some sort of second wind. I also wasn’t completely sure how the grace period worked at this race. There’s nearly always a grace period after the actual 8 hr (or 12, or 24) for you to complete your last lap and I’d heard that this race gave us a full hour to finish up. That meant that laps had to be completed by 5:30 instead of 4:30. This worried me because I was probably going to finish up not too long after the eight hour mark, but if one of the other guys picked up the pace, they might come in soon enough after that they still had time to go out for another lap before the 5:30 cutoff….
What I failed to realize was that final laps had to be started before 4:30 and finished by 5:30 at the latest. So, since I was going to come in after 4:30, this was absolutely my last lap, and it was certainly everyone else’s last lap as well. I didn’t realize any of this while riding my final lap though, so I kept moving at a decent clip. I wasn’t pushing quite as hard as other laps, but I didn’t want to slack off too much either. I also caught up to Kevin on my final lap and we got to ride together for a few miles once more.
I came down the final descent unsure of whether I’d need to complete another lap. I was relieved to find that I was done and my win was certain. I was super stoked to hear that I had set the course record too! After chatting it up for a few with some Mad Catz and Breakouts, it was time for some civilian clothing and some hot food. There was a huge Sacto/Gold Country showing at this race, I almost felt like we were hanging out after a Prarie City race while we were waiting for awards to go down.
The day was a huge success. Thank you Jim and Alicia for being an awesome pit crew, I didn’t even need to get off my bike the whole race! You guys rock!
11 laps, eight hours and seven minutes. 9 or 10 miles per lap?