Monday, October 19, 2009

Pain and glory

I can't possibly do justice to describing Penny's race. She ran awesome, and narrowly missed beating the 2 hour mark. She finished at 2:00:42, placing 120th out of 528 runners in her class. I know she is disappointed at not beating 2 hours, but she was awfully close and set a personal record by some 6 minutes. That's like taking 30 seconds off of ever mile, pretty crazy. I honestly wasn't sure how she was going to do this race, because it was so cold, and we hit rain on the way up to the race. But when she was almost 20 seconds ahead of the 2:00 pacer at mile 7 when we saw her, I was very impressed. And I'm not easily impressed. Go Penny go! We are all very proud of her.

Now, I can more aptly describe the suffering that went into my cross race having firsthand knowledge. But I would be terribly in remiss if I didn't warmly thank my supporters and family that came out to see a fat old man suck wind around a grass track. My deepest thanks to Megan, Charlie, Marlee, Ryan, Himani, Penny, AB and little K-man. It really meant a lot to have you guys out there, and wish I could have hung out more and visited, but Sunday was a day for suffering.

So I rode around the course a bit, and only saw two dismount opportunities per 2 mile lap. First was a set of barriers, and then a set of stairs. What made them tricky was that the section where you would typically remount were off-camber, and your bike would be a lot higher than what you would normally practice with. So instead of futzing with a wild remount, I just switched the bike to my other side and remounted with the bike below me. Seemed to work well, at least until I become a cross pro.

So let's get on to the race. There were 55 guys in my class, probably the largest class of the day. We all lined up on a 400-yard section of pavement, and then the whistle blew. A mass sprint ensued, and at the end of the pavement you dove off into the grass. There were lots of power hills (short steep pitches), off-camber sections, and lots of playing around in the gullies. There were a few crashes, and I managed to stay clear of those. I had my heart rate monitor on, and it instantaneously exploded. I finally shut it off after about eight minutes, and it showed an average of 185, max 196. Which is about 8 beats higher than what it should be (220 - your age). Cool.

I just kept chugging along, although my seat post broke about 10 minutes into the race, causing the nose of my saddle to go sky ward. I had my nose down about one degree, but it was a solid ten degrees up plus it had fallen way out of position. Not only was it uncomfortable, but it forced by back into a way sharper "C" position than I was used to, so I'll be visiting the Chiro today. I tried to pound the saddle back into position, but it just didn't work.

All in all, I consider the race a success. I didn't take last place, and I learned a lot. Once I get some more training in, I'll anxious to do another, maybe in a month or so. I sure didn't enjoy the race while I was doing it, but once I was done, I had that notion that I could do better and I think I should go for it. I'll post some videos once I get them from Megan.

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