Race day. I was up just before my 5:20AM alarm. It felt like I 'd just went to bed. Probably because I had.
I ambled down the hall, peed, and weighed myself... as I do.
126lbs. 3.2lbs lighter than I was the previous morning. I was dehydrated, starved, or both. I couldn't stand the thought of food, so I sat down with my coffee and stared at my computer monitor catching up on my Faceworld. I woulda seriously considered bailing on the race, but not only did I have a duo partner to consider, four people were going to be in my driveway at 6:30AM to share the ride.
Breakfast was two packs of Nutter Butters from a gas station I wouldn't have had to stop at, assuming I woulda went out and filled my tank the night before as planned, but didn't.
Let's get to the race.
I know how important it is to get to the front of the start line at the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek. Some 300 racers blasting away at a mile, maybe two, of rolling pavement and then bang into the woods. I wasn't paying attention. I was quite a few rows back for the meeting.
photo cred: Lunchbox
Meeting over, they decided to move the line up a bit. No idea why. In the shuffle, I was already dropped.
photo cred: Lynda Campbell Green
The race started. Me head was pounding with the effort to try to get as close to the front as possible. It's hard enough to maintain position on a single speed, even harder still to make any gains. I went into the woods pretty far back. From there, the first lap is always a pain train, sorta like being on a group road ride with a bunch of hammer heads. One minute you can't figure out what's holding everyone up, the next minute your holding on for dear life wondering if you're going to blow up before things calm down again.
The cramps were hinting pretty early on. I expected that. My tank was still way too empty to be putting out this kinda effort. I was not only racing the field, I was racing against time knowing that cramps were inevitable.
Following too closely for comfort, and just close enough that the guy behind me wouldn't want to fill the gap, I missed a line through a rock section. I bobbled and the train behind me came to a sickening accordian-like halt.
I finished my lap without losing any places and picked up quite a few with some harrowing, some not so much, passes. I tapped Layla, and out she went. Back at the pits, nothing sounded edible. I forced down a pack of caffeinated gooey chompy bits and the bottle that made it a whole lap on my bike without hardly being touched.
Before I knew it, I needed to get ready to go back out. Suns out, guns out.
My next lap went well, at least for awhile. The caffeine did it's job... right up until mile five of the thirteen mile course. At that point, I needed a nap pretty bad. I couldn't focus very well on the twisty berms and kinda got lost in my mind for periods of time. At least I would only have to hold it together for one more lap.
Back in and Layla went back out.
And then I fell in a black hole time suck.
I forgot to see what time I came in. I checked the results and saw that the last time they were updated, we were in 5th. I talked to some people. Potato chips that disgusted me earlier were eaten with a vengeance. Sitting in a chair, wondering when I needed to be ready again, I could feel everything catching up to me. I could have fallen asleep instantly. Did I have five minutes or thirty?
Shit. I shoulda napped immediately when I came off the bike.
I overheard fellow Mustaches Kurt and Zac discussing the demands of the course.
"You can't just dip-a-dee-doo-da your way around Warrior Creek," Kurt said.
I'll show him.
When Layla came back in, I went about my dip-a-dee-doo-da way. Convinced that we were two places out from the podium, I felt a certain sense of freedom. No reason to push till I cramped or overshoot a berm due to an inability to focus. I just mellowed out until somewhere around mile eleven when I caught local fastie Brian Conroy (who was racing solo). In the spirit of it all, I gunned it the rest of the way. I don't know why.
I finished and Layla found me.
"Did you know you went out in fourth place just six minutes outta third?"
"Did you pass number three?"
Even at my speed, or lack thereof, I passed a bunch of people. I had no idea who.
Evidently, not him. We got fourth.