I finished my first race of the season at Lewis Morris Park. I’ve been wanting to get into endurance mountain bike racing (e.g., 6-hour, 12-hour, and 24-hour races), but there aren’t very many of them any more. So I just decided to make my own race. In the spirit of many of the self-made races and challenges happening these days (e.g., Strava, Tour Divide, etc), I decided I would carry the GPS and publish the results to prove that I did what I said I did. Last fall I scouted out a 4.7-mile loop using the yellow trail. It’s a moderately technical trail, with some rocks and roots, steep climbs, and twisty and sharp turns. If I’m riding well I don’t need to dismount, but it’s technical enough to keep it interesting.
I rode this as a shorter endurance mtb race. So the goal was to do as much mileage as possible in 3 hours. The clock starts and 3 hours later it stops. Simple. I did it totally self-supported. I didn’t allow myself any outside help in terms of food, water, or bike mechanicals. Here are the results:
Total time: 3 hours (2:47 moving time, 13:00 stopped time)
Mileage: 18.7 miles
Moving average: 6.7 mph
Elevation: 2,362 climbing, 2,561 descending
Official results are here: (will be up soon, still figuring out Garmin!)
Not too fast. I’m a cautious rider at all times, but the mud made things even slower. The ascents were brutal as the mud just sucked away at the tires, holding them in or causing them to spin out. I found myself hike-a-biking the longer, steeper ones almost every lap to conserve energy. My heart rate was just getting too high. It was a weird kind of mud that thankfully didn’t get into my drive train, but made the tread on my tires disappear. I might as well have been using slicks.
I often felt like I was skiing going down the hills. The bike was sliding every which way and I literally slid around corners. Luckily I didn’t fall, but I came close several times . . .
I did exactly four laps. Serendipitously I finished the fourth lap with only 5 minutes to go. (So I just rode further for 2.5 minutes and then turned around). It was nice to end up by the car at the end, because I wasn’t in good shape. Around 2:15, when I was supposed to eat another one of Meredith’s awesome Arbonne bars, my stomach started getting funny. Not funny ha ha, but more like blech. So I kept riding until it settled down but by then I only had 15 minutes left and I didn’t want to stop and deal with eating. So I promptly bonked. And hard. The last 15 minutes were brutal. I was shaking and extremely crabby and I started getting very cold. The last few climbs took everything I had to push through them. My legs were screaming and my back was starting to ache. My body said “No!” but my mind said “Dude, are you really crap out with only 15 minutes to go?” I finished.
Thanks to the Team NRGY folks who provide a lot of inspiration when I’m out there. When things get tough I often ask “What would Dan Murphy do? What would Carlos do? What would Lenore do?” The answers are always the same: keep going. Push. Don’t give up. And special thanks to Jason for the friendship and all the informal coaching and having the vision to bring us all together and make the team special.
Despite the bonk it was a great day and I’m looking forward to the next one: A 6-hour version of the same loop. I also had a blast riding that Scalpel. That is one fine ride . . .