Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Voodoo Fire MTB Race Report

It's been quite a while since I've raced my bicycle, October 16th of last year to be exact, so I came into this race with absolutely no expectations. I have been riding since February but have only done 3 'real' workouts prior to coming down to Pueblo so finishing was honestly on the top of my list!

The race unfolded a little bit more spastic-ally than I would have hoped. The women's field started behind the 50+/60+/Singlespeed/Clydesdale men's classes so the first lap was absolute chaos. All the women struggled to get around the various packs and because it was extremely difficult to pass, we got very split up right off the bat.

The race was two 22 mile laps on very rocky/desert like terrain. I attempted this race last year but wasn't informed we would be riding on trails resembling broken dinner plates so I ran lightweight tires with minimal tire pressure - I triple flatted and walked my butt in for almost 2 hours! Luckily I learned from my mistake and ran heavy duty tires with sidewall protection and inflated my tires almost 4 psi more than I normally run. It took a while to get used to the rock hard tires (I did have a few stellar front wheel wash outs), but unlike many others, I didn't flat!!!

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the fitness I had during the race. My average heart rate of 177 for 3hrs45min is definitely a sign that I have a lot more work to be be done before I hit any sort of peak, but compared to my competition, I wasn't too far off. The new Timex Cycle Trainer worked like a charm and gave me all the info I needed to get through the race - this is my all time favorite Timex product EVER! As with all races, I had lots of random hiccups - in a really bumpy section my seat slipped on the rails and went nose up so I had to stop, I didn't eat or drink nearly as much as I should have resulting in a massive bonk 7 miles from the finish and I forgot to take off my base layer before the start...it was in the mid 80s with zero shade the entire race :)

This was also my first true mountain bike ride on my new Litespeed Cohutta 29er. It was an extremely rough course which was probably more suited for a dual suspension bike, however, I couldn't have been happier with how the bike handled. The titanium frame and carbon seat post gave me a little relief on the bumpy terrain but what made the day was the stability and pop the bike gave me to accelerated out of the hundreds of corners and up the short/steep little climbs. I'm still tweaking a few things with the handlebars and wheel-sets but I'm really excited to be riding this bike in 2012.

I was battling for 2nd and 3rd with Annie (age 51) almost the entire race, but really lost a lot of time on the last few miles with my big bonk. When I had to stop at the final aid station to rehydrate and stop seeing stars, that is when Rebecca came flying by (she had been struggling with 2 flats). After getting back on the bike, I eventually made my way to the finish in 4th overall for the day. As a whole, the race went 100 times better than I could have ever imagined - I wasn't kidding about just wanting to finish. It's a huge relief to know that I do have some fitness still lingering from year's past, but most importantly, it just feels good to be back out racing with all my close friends. The Colorado MTB crowd is one big family that is so supportive both on and off the race course and it's really hard being away from it with sickness and injury. I think I'm finally past my string of bad luck so I'm really looking forward to ripping it up for a full season this year. 2012, it's game time :)

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