Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Monday damnit!

Living in Boston I totally forgot today was Monday (and thus necessitating an entry here).  How does living in Boston in an way = forgetting that today is Monday???  Because it's Patriot's day.  Because the Boston Marathon is today.  And that, my friends, means that no one works in Boston today.  So there you have it.  No one is going to work makes it feel like it's a second Sunday here in Southie.

To add to that feeling Annie's best friend from Morgantown came in yesterday as her sister is running the marathon.  So we all went out last night to Barlow's to eat and generally be merry.  Oh yeah, and yesterday I completed my first race!!  We are heading down to Charlotte Tuesday (via Morgantown WV - so arriving in Charlotte Wednesday) so entries probably will be non-existant until next week, and then there will be a flood of updates (perhaps).

To the main attraction - Winding Trails Fat Tire Classic.
I took two pieces of advice with me going into this race.
1st - (from CB2)just wear the camelbak, don't worry about trying to switch things up and just carry a bottle.
2nd - warm-up.  Saturday I talked to my buddy Sean (from WV) regarding pre-race warmup.  Not sure why it's important that he's from WV - but he is.  So yeah, he gave me the low down on the warmup routine... which I followed and felt good going into the race.

My parents and my wife came to watch, which was really nice.  I entered in the First Timers category and as we lined up I was surprisingly not nervous, which made me... (a little) nervous.  Chatted with a couple guys as we stood waiting.  This, I determined, was one of the best parts of racing.  The people.  Seriously, everyone was just laid back and friendly.  Conversations were easy, people were helpful.  Even out on the course people were looking out for each other, we were all racing but still friendly/courteous.  LOVED IT!

Ok ok, so lined up and not nervous.  I ran track in high school and before EVERY start I thought I was going to puke.  Dry heaves and all at some events.  Nothing on Sunday.  Although as we stood and waited for our wave I felt a slight twinge in my left calf - am I really going to cramp waiting??

Waiting for the start - safe from hunters in my blaze orange!
I lined up in the second line because I didn't want to push too hard off the start - and initial climb.  But I soon realized I didn't want to be behind as the pace was easy and I found myself "stuck" behind the rider in front of me.    I was feeling real good, no one was pulling away and I felt that I could lead this.  The start is sandy and as the sand gave way to rocks I moved to the center to pass, as I started taking him a rider came up on my right and as we neared the first turn the rider on my left came into me, my bars clipping into his arm and BAM we go down.  He lands on my front wheel with a "click."

Waiting for a spot to make a move
- tangled with the rider in front

Is my race over?? Did he just bust spokes on my wheel??  We both pop up as the pack leaves.  I apologize profusely as I inspect my bike and check to make sure he's ok.  Wheel looks fine and I hope that the sound I heard was just his cleat coming off his pedal... so we both jump back and get back to racing.  The wheel was good - but due to the crash my handlebars were faced just slightly to the right so as I entered the first decent I adjusted to the new stance.  I was mindful to keep to my pace as best I could and not try to just take everyone down right away now that I had a stumble off the blocks.  As things opened back up to fire roads I took down a couple riders.  With each climb I kept gaining places.

Trail conditions.

Ride wise - I wasn't too happy with my performance.  I was pleased with my climbing, but in total I went down three time.  I ate it twice going over logs.  It had rained all night Saturday so things were a little slick.  I thought the trail was pretty decent, but for our run the logs were slick - and they got me.  The first was a large one, and I went over taking the log across the ribs.  I didn't even stop to think about it before I was back on the bike and trying to catch up.  No one overtook me on that mistake, but I felt I lost a spot anyway as I was preparing to overtake a rider before that fall.  The next (and last) fall did allow two riders to pass me.  I had just overtaken them, so I felt I could get it back.  On this spill I took the handlebar into the ribs/chest.  That stopped me for a second before I got back on the bike and continued.  For the rest of the ride I had a feeling that I was going to puke - a combo of lungs burning and injury to the ribs.

I ended up not being able to get back the guy from my class who took me on my last fall and ended up officially in 5th.  Annie swears I was the 4th to cross the line, but it is what it is.  I'm happy that I finished as well as I did with 3 falls in there!  And my time was pretty decent - even with the trail conditions I was about a minute faster than on my preride.  Of course I wasn't riding at race pace on the preride, but still I was happy to have gotten through quicker.  It was a great experience to be out there with other riders.  To negotiate when/where to pass, when to hold back.

Bottom line, it was fun!!  My legs weren't nearly as tired as they should have been though - my lungs held me back and I need to work on that.  With roughly a month before my next race I'm going to have to be on the bike a lot more in preparation.  Hopefully the weather cooperates with that plan.  But I'm psyched.  It will be different entering the next race in the larger Cat 3 field, but I look forward to the challenge.

Goals accomplished - competed in my first race, did not come in last, and finished!
Didn't podium but still representing!


  1. Eastwood- it sounds like you are more than ready for Cat3, good luck with your training & future races. Cool blog.

  2. TJ - Thanks for the vote of confidence and compliment on the blog!! I'm enjoying following your adventures in Cat 1, sounds like you are holding your own up there, keep it up!