Monday, May 7, 2012

Fort Custer Stampede 2012

I have said all along that this year would be different. It was....I managed to get warmed up and line up at the start line with no issues. But....lets start at the beginning.

We left the house late because I was waffling (mmmm waffles) about whether to go or just stay home. It was a hectic week but Chelle talked me into going knowing the whole family would have fun. We loaded up the Suburban and our sweet new rack with bikes...off we went. We got there about 10:45 but thankfully the kids race was postponed by 30 minutes so we managed to get the girls registered and to the start free of issues. I pushed Zoe around for her lap and then helped Izzy for her lap. Can't wait for these two to get real mountain bikes so I don't have to push!

The team was lingering around and we were talking about how nice the weather was. I ran into some of my other friends and eventually headed out to warm up with Eric from TMI. We did about a 15 minute easy spin and then headed to the start where the waves were lining up. Nerves of steel....I was shaking like a leaf for some reason. I had Dan to my left and Dave was on the other side of him. Knowing the start would be intense I held back and let the group go, dropping in behind Dave and Dan was right behind me. He was going to pace me for a while and then take off on his own.
The only time I ever lead against Dan...and it was the start!
 The start was quicker than I thought it would be but I had Dave (my main rival) right in my sights. A guy slowed on a hill and I attacked it with Dan right behind me. We kept going with a few guys behind us until the first climb. A short loose gravel climb. Just tough enough to separate the group. I made it to the top and let Dan take off. Knowing Dave was behind me kept me going hard....too hard in fact. I reached Granny's Garden and had to get off and walk up a hill.....legs were feeling blown because my heart rate was sky high. Dave caught me, asked if I was okay and continued on. I got settled back down and worked my way through the garden. I managed to catch a wheel coming out of that section after sipping some water from the Boy Scouts. It was Dave leading, another Clyde, and myself. The pace was good for me because I was able to get my HR balanced and draft some to regain my legs. We came into a corner hot and Dave went down. I asked if he was okay, he was, and I told him he better grab back on, but we were not waiting. Once I got the 2 track I passed the other guy and never saw them again. The rest of the lap went pretty well, I was pacing myself so I could still turn out a decent second lap. I crossed the line in 51:12, only 12 seconds slower than my fastest Stampede lap ever in Beginner Clyde. On track I thought as I passed the lake.


Lap 1....1 to go!
Feeling confident about my first lap I held the pace I was at, knowing full well where I would start to burn the matches. The groups were very spread out and I never really found anyone to ride with. I would get passed, pass a few people, get passed some more. Back into Granny's Garden we go, made the initial climb this time, made the second climb (which has been a while) and was on my way up the third with the right speed and gear when the guy in front of me went down. About 10 people passed before I was able to get back on and go, but no sign of Dave or the other guy I passed so I was comfortable. Once I passed the boy scouts again I opened it up a little. Flats are my savior. I pushed the pace until I reached the technical section again and the paced slowed some. Then I reached the cutoff to back to the Red course and I flew up the hill only getting passed once. On the first lap I had seen Brian and yelled that I was going to catch him....but never did. ha. I made to where the red opens up back towards the trail head and took a minute to catch my breath and get a solid drink before the final section. Glad I did too.....because it was enough to get me past the last climb on the blue before I had to grab the bottle again.

I pushed up the last climb faster than expected. When I reached the top I pushed hard again knowing I had about a mile to go. Surprisingly, I caught a few people on this last stretch, but I was pushing as hard as I could. I still felt slow, but was holding a pretty fast speed. Last stretch.....matches burned out. I pushed across the finish line in 1:43:01. My laps were within 30 seconds of each other and my strategy had paid off. I put down two consitent and solid laps for myself. It was a fun day and a fun race, as usual. My team had a pretty good showing. A bunch of them on the podium!

So, we move on to the next race, event, whatever. I was proud of what I did in my first Sport XC race. The funny thing was I felt pretty good. We stopped at my in-laws on the way home. They have 3 steps from their kitchen into the living room. I nearly collapsed in a pile of Sean when I walked down them. My legs gave me the firm reminder that I did indeed do some work Sunday!

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