To paraphrase Ryan Feagan, if its a Psycowpath race at Tranquility Park (in Omaha) its going to be hot. With searing sun and a heat index of 107 degrees, it was warm.
After the Ponca race on the 18th, I strung together three solid weeks of good training, and I came into this race feeling really good about my chances. My class, Category 2 45+, was one of the larger ones of the day with some very tough competition. I had no aspirations of coming out on top but was hoping for a good solid finish.
I got a good warm-up in and forced myself to follow a new pre-race regimen that I came up with after some experimenting. it was tough doing things considerably different than in the past but it worked out very well. The huge dump of adrenaline I usually experience was gone, and my energy (with an exception I’ll explain later) was consistent throughout. For a change, I felt good all the way through and was relatively consistent.
Off the line I was conservative, maybe a little too much so. Regardless, I was exactly where I wanted to be in with a group that I wanted to pace. Through the first twisty section and out into the new north area I was exactly where I wanted to be. I made a line mistake in some rutted double track that cost me a bit of time but I was still inside the group, and comfortable. I know I lost some time trying to pass some slower riders, and got stuck behind a couple of folks in some tight sections that slowed me up, but I am not complaining.
Going up to the big south hill, teammate Duane Blair caught up to me. There were three of us going into a set of camel humps together, I was in the middle going in and in the lead coming out. After a long swoopy downhill (where I dropped my Gatorade bottle) and a meandering up hill it was into a section referred to as “The Spine” but the racers. It was a narrow ridge of dirt rising around 8 feet up from the general terrain that was a a series of sharp rises and drops. I had cleaned this section in practice but I wasn’t so lucky this time. Abut halfway through, I went over the bars, rolled and finally came to rest to see Duane go by.
Back up, a little disoriented, but ok. My seat was twisted so I pounded it back to something that looked sort of right and took off. It took me a bit to get my rhythm back but I rolled though for the end of my first nine mile lap feeling ok. I decided to skip stopping for a new bottle, which was a giant mistake.
After the start/finish I took a gel pack which was what I had planned. I waited to get through the first twisty section again and reached down to get some water and – what the heck – no water bottles. My only remaining bottle mush have abandoned ship when I piled it up on the spine. Damn. I was too far to go back to fetch a water bottle so I dialed it back and soldiered on. I cold tell that I needed water but I kept moving but getting slower all the time. I was determined to not cramp or blow up so I just kept moving.
As I got back into the big tree section I started to feel better and picked up some speed in the tight areas until a tree jumped out and hooked by right shoulder. Boom, I was on the ground again. Crap. Onward and upward.
The water station near the top of the big south hill was getting closer all the time so I just kept moving as fast as I could without over reaching and cramping. At the water station I stopped, poured a couple bottles in and on me, and got moving again. After the hump section I spied my Gatorade bottle and hopped off to get it. That turned out to be a good move because shortly after that I started to cramp. I squeezed the whole thing down and never felt a cramp again.
This time I just ran the spiny section to avoid a second endo and finished feeling strong.
Seventh place, between Duane and Jerry Hoff. I’ll take it.
Mistakes? Well, crashing for one. Not checking for my missing bottle was another and not stopping when I had a chance to grab fresh bottles was just plain stupid. Live and learn I guess.
Good things? My preparation was spot on. My training and my fitness level was a good as I can expect.
All in all I am very happy with my race.