Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Well- the Cowbell melted on Saturday. It was so hot- truthfully the most suffering I've ever put myself through on a bike. Hands down. I went into this race with no expectations as I've only been training for two weeks after being off for two and a half months. I was feeling good but you really never know how you're gonna hold up until you get that trial by fire known as racing.

Got up at 4 AM on Saturday and drove to Charlotte for the 10 AM start. Facing 60 ish miles and 97-98 degree forecast I made sure my cooler was well stocked with fluids and ice. Got there in time to get my number on, get suited up, get my pit set up, and say hi to a few people. I decided to skip the shuttle and ride to the start- good call as my legs needed some loosening up from the drive.

The start was chaos like I expected as we flew down the road for the 6.5 mile trip out to the course. I was fine for the most part but got dropped from the lead group while spinning at 300rpm to keep up on a downhill. Managed to pick off quite a few people whenever the road went up and by the time we reached the course I was in decent position. Fought through some traffic and was finally clear and with the leaders by the end of the first lap. Closing on DJ and Shane I was starting to figure on a good day. Wrong!

I got a bottle handup from Mike on the 2nd lap. I think it was too cold and I drank it too fast. A few minutes later I hurled it all over. The whole bottle- and whatever else was in my stomach. Not good went to worse quickly as I had to drop my bike and hold onto a tree to keep from falling over with dizziness. After a few minutes I kinda got it together and limped on feeling like my head was going to explode any second. The rest of the lap was terrible- no power and I was getting passed by everybody! Finally got back to the pits and told Mike I had to rest a bit and get my head together. Loaded up on water, drank a coke and decided to roll out slowly for the next lap- I hate DNF ing but this wasn't looking good- I'd already dropped back to ninth or tenth place.

After a slow lap I started feeling better. Laps 4-6 went as follows- Grab one bottle for drinking, one with ice to pour on me, and one gallon of water poured on me while pitting. Seemed to work. The heat was unreal- 115 degree heat index I heard- but i was managing to keep cool. My competitors were dropping left and right but my lap times were steadily decreasing as I continued on. Staying soaking wet the whole lap was working- barely. I'd roll into the pit at the end of each lap absolutely spent. Stop- mike would switch my bottles and douse me with water- then push me back out for another.

The last lap was of course the worst as I was still trying to make up lost time and pushing as hard as I could. The field sections were the worst- out in the baking sun for extended periods of time, then followed with a steep climb where cooling down was impossible. With 5 climbs in the last couple of miles I thought the end would never come. I charged hard up the last climb to the finish exhausted but elated to be finished. I ended up 3rd place, missed catching 2nd by 29 seconds. He had an eight minute lead at the start of the lap. I'll take it after all that went wrong. I've got a couple of weeks left of training, then it's time to taper for Nationals.
It's hot out there- stay hydrated-


Galula said...

That opening lap reminds me of the time I dropped a deuce in somebody's front yard during French Broad RR.

spokejunky said...

Good job on that course. Toilet bowl is a good finish section. Did they include the Goat Hill climb?

David Hall said...

You are thinking of Catawba. 2008 and 09 Cowbell moved to Fisher Park Farm up in Davidson. It's even hotter there- closer to the sun I think.