Battle the Bear – Race Report!
Mountain bike race #2! This race was originally scheduled for May 19th, but the torrential downpour just after the start of the morning marathon race, forced cancellation. Bikes + Trails + Deep Mud is not good. The organizers of the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series were able to get the race rescheduled a couple weeks later on June 3rd. Since that date was open on my calendar, I decided to go for it. It would also give me a preview (and on a more challenging course) of the Beti Bike Bash race, which is scheduled for June 10th.
As with my previous race, I’m still strength training, but I’m a bit more adapted and not as beat up. My training program has also backed off some of the high intensity to ease me slower into it (I think I jumped into high intensity too fast and it was a little too much.) Apart from running a slight fever earlier in the week, most likely due to lack of sleep the prior weekend (Van Halen concert, getting up early to support an athlete at a race), I was feeling recovered and pretty good to race!
My morning routine was to get up after plenty of sleep, get a bit of work done around the house and head up to Lakewood around 11am. A little after noon I arrived at Bear Creek Lake Park, and it was a bit of a warm day at 85 degrees. Fortunately the expo area was in some trees and the afternoon clouds were coming in. Today a little rain would be welcome to keep things cool, but it managed to stay dry this time.
My race started at 1:42pm – the Cross Country Sport category. We had two 10-mile laps ahead of us. It started with a short but steep climb up a road, where I quickly fell a bit to the back. I think my heavy bike doesn’t do me any favors here. Then it turned to sections of double and single track, with a few more hills. Two of the next climbs were straight up the side of a hill, and that’s a little intimidating to see the riders ahead. There was a traffic jam on the second long climb with people stopping in front of me, and once I stopped there was no restarting on that hill, so I pushed the last 20 yards or so to the top. Bummer, because I could have made it. My heart was pounding and I was gasping as I hopped back on at the top. A short and steep descent and then I realized why they said it was a fast course. I could shift into the big ring! Two more steepish climbs, one being a long one with the “lone switchback” of the course and I made it up it – both times! I also got stuck behind a few people on the climbs. But that’s OK since I wasn’t “racing” well, not until the end, but I’ll get to that. During this time I had to strategically figure out when to drink (see nutrition report below). But I managed to take in fluids to keep me going. Being so hot out, as the course was 80% exposed, my throat and mouth got really dry. After descending down into the trees, we got to cross a creek that snuck up on us, and of course they put the race photographer there. Then we wound through fast sandy trails in the trees to get back to the starting area. Those few miles a couple ladies passed me, as I wasn’t feeling super fast. I guess I was still figuring out the trail.
Crossing the start line for the second lap, I actually remember to hit my lap button on my Garmin, and saw 54 and change. OK, not too bad for 10 miles. For me. The field had spread out quite a bit so there was a bit more room on the climbs. And I caught those ladies who had passed me. On the last long climb, I ended up behind a gal with XCS, 31 on her leg. That meant she was in the same class as I was. It was a bit sketchy to pass, and come the descent she took off a bit faster than me. I slowed a bit to take a drink, knew I had about 4 miles left and felt good, so I decided to have some fun. Game on! The trail was not technical at this point so I was able to catch up to my competition and just blast ahead in the big ring. So I just pedaled as hard as I could until the finish line. Definitely a much “happier” ending than my last race. I still ended up 5th out of 6th (thank goodness I decided to pass that gal!) but only 30s behind 4th place. 6th place was only 21s behind me. Places 1-3 were another world away. Maybe next year.
I hung out until the awards to see some of our WMBA ladies get their awards (Kerri W took 1st in the division again!) and then was a very tired athlete for the rest of the evening.
OK – since I forgot to post about the Ridgeline Rampage nutrition plan, here’s what I did for Battle the Bear:
~7am: bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, whey protein, and peanut butter
~10am: Generation UCAN smoothie – chocolate with banana and peanut putter.
~1:15pm: Generation UCAN cran razz
I also made sure to drink plenty of water on the drive up.
On my bike was two bottles, one with nuun for electrolytes and one with plain water. I ended up going through the whole nuun bottle, and maybe about a third of the water. Without a hydration pack, it’s harder to drink from a bottle on a mountain bike, so I had to slow down and drink in “safe” spots.
At the start of the 2nd lap, after the first short climb I took in a gel (Clif Shot mocha).
Post race: Water, a can of Oskar Blues pils, a sample of NudeFood mocha bar and a Kate’s Real Food chocolate peanut butter bar. All delicious!
Next up….the Beti Bike Bash!