Monday, August 27

River's Edge Marathon 2012

An event to race for perhaps the wrong reasons. I was not recovered from the Breck Epic. The required effort would surely confound my progress towards making great bike race at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 this weekend. All the same, the Rivers Edge Marathon is only about an hour from my house at a place I love to ride, so I was in the car at 6:00AM heading to the Uwharrie mountains on a Saturday morning when I really just wanted to just sleep for another seven hours.

The single speed field was not The Pflug/Chambers/Ferrari stacked, but it did have plenty of fellow mortals who could give me a run for my money. Most of the field has beaten me at other events in the past, so it was safe to say I would have to "race" if I wanted to do well. No phoning it in.

Not a good sign, but I do play according to the rules of superstition.

Watts Dixon, Shane Schreihart, Eric Hagerty, Scott George and a few dark horses I didn't know were on the line. I decided at the start to not push the pace up the initial gravel climb and bury myself early on. I found myself at the very back of those that gave a shit and far enough ahead of everybody else that I couldn't see anyone in my rear view mirror.

I caught up to Watts and Eric after a bit, and there was some chatting going on. I attacked on a short climb, and got past them only to have Watts stick to my wheel like so much dog poop. He remained there for the entire first lap, and I was pretty sure only Scott and Shane were still ahead.

Watts and I were taking turns chasing the leaders when he asked me if I had any spare mustard packs. That meant two things:

1. He was on the verge of cramping.

2. He didn't know I was on the verge of cramping and unwilling to give up the only pack in my pocket which I was saving for a moment when he couldn't see me squeezing the contents into my mouth.

I told him that there were some back at my glamorous pit that he could help himself to at the end of the lap.

Going into lap three, I could see Watts catching up to Scott George. I made a boisterous move past both of them to see what might happen. I scared 40+ racerBrian Conroy off the trail in doing so, but hopefully put the fear of God into my fellow competititors.

Watts was still there, but he said my efforts had probably put away our rival. I hoped as a team we could make chase on Shane, but I'm not a very good team player.

photo cred: River's Edge Marathon

On the fourth lap, I lost my bottle about ten minutes in. I managed to bum one from roving course marshal and Bike29 teammate Chris Mudiman. I only had a brief glimpse of my "teammate" in some switchbacks and then never again. Although I love riding for fun at Uwharrie, the constant efforts of racing over the constantly rolling terrain were taking a toll on me. Another mustard pack for cramps, some stretching for my sore shoulders, and pounding down drink and food in the few spots where it was possible. Most of the time, I was choosing one type of relief over the others as the majority of the course demanded two hands on the bars or a full effort at the pedals.

On the last lap, I was in no man's land.

photo cred: Mudman

No idea how far ahead Shane was, no clue as to if Watts or Scott might rally, just lapped riders ahead and ghosts behind. I gingerly climbed up the final punches, gave it where I could, and looked over my shoulder something like a thousand times.

55-57.5 miles in 4:38:18.095... about twenty freaking minutes behind Shane and close to ten minutes up on Watts.

photo cred: Mudman

Before I left, I managed to find someone who needed the contents of my large schwag bag more than I, save for the truckers hat and 26X2.3-3.0 innertube. I now have plans for the hat. As for the tube, I'm thinking about turning it into a waterproof bivy sack.

I love riding at Uwharrie... but racing there is hard. Soooo fast, so fun, but you gotta be on it the whole time. The whole rigid fork thing while trying to push @12mph average over that kinda terrain without much of a break? Hard. I'm more sore today than I was the whole week in Breckenridge (save for my hangover after stage seven). Generally speaking, I don't like lap races... unless the course is super fun (see Warrior Creek). I'd rate this one right up there in fun and add two points for difficulty.

Six days until Shenandoah Mountain 100...

Thirteen days until Fool's Gold...

Twenty days until Monster Cross.


Peter Keiller said...

Not recovered from Breck?!
Clearly someone had more trouble riding at PETERPACE than Peter did.

dicky said...

Recovered enough to race, not to drink vodka, wear sweatpants, and play Super Nintendo.