rode a mountain bike in a race for 6 hrs and 16 minutes today.
data:gear- 32x17 (good, but maybe could have gone a bit higher...34x17 or 32x16?)
tires- bontrager 29-3 TLR in back and conti mountain king in front. (perfect)
avg HR: 158 (shit, that's high...too much coffee?)
altitude gained: 4000ft
laps: 10 on a 7-ish mile course
calories taken in while on bike: 1038 (i think i have a high metabolism)
My race was divided into three time frames:1. laps 1-3--> going pretty fast, thought I was the first solo for awhile then got caught by 2 dudes on geared bikes. At first, they were both faster than me on the downhills, we were even on the flat single track, and I had the advantage on the climbs. At this point, I was feeling great: legs were good and I was just trying to take things step by step...focusing on my breathing and not on the number of hours I had left
2. laps 4-8--> Myself and this guy Mike, me holding his wheel for 95% of the lap then me taking off at the last climb, so as to get to the pit before him (he had pit help, handing him bottles, I had to stop). Over time the downhills got more smooth and much faster. Those laps weren't too bad physically (except for standard back and shoulder pain that basically I just tried to shut out of my mind). We were going pretty slowly, my heart rate settled down quite a bit and I continued just focusing on my breathing and trying not to think too much. I began to realize that if I made a mistake or if I took to long at the pit, Mike would attack. This was important for the end of lap 8.
3. Laps 9-10--> At the end of lap 8, I told Mike I was doing what I had been doing...attacking the last climb so that I could stop at the pit (so he wouldn't leave me). Anyway, I grabbed my water then waited at the woods for him...only for my wife to tell me he was walking, so I thought I'd just start riding. After a few minutes, I realized that the pace laps 4-8 really set me up well for the last two. I still had a lot in the tank and started using my single speed to its full advantage (which I hadn't been able to do holding someone's wheel who had gears). I kept my momentum, attacked the hills, ran a few rocky sections (which if I didn't, caused my hamstrings to cramp pretty bad), and generally felt like I was just out for a nice ride.
After 10 laps I came across the line thinking I may have won little did I know there was someone ahead of me who I didn't know about, who had done 11 laps. Oh well, second place in a race that I just wanted to finish is fantastic with me.
Endurance racing seems to be at least 50% mental and 50% divided between nutrition, equipment, fitness, and skill...with nutrition probably compromising the majority of that side of the pie. It was a really cool, almost out-of body experience in this race; an awesome culmination to a year of riding and racing. My story is that I raced when I was 18-20; switched to other things with the intention of picking bike racing up again at some point. Then in my mid-twenties, got diagnosed with thyroid cancer that had spread to my lungs and from ages 25-28 I was too worried about mountain bike racing because of my lungs. Last summer, my doctor told me that my lungs were probably clear so I started racing again about a year ago.
Anyway, cross starts next weekend then there's a trip to durango planned...can't wait for more racing!