Monday, October 28

Fonta Flora Barnburner 50K '19

I'm standing in line with my number plate in hand waiting to make sure the computer-ma-thing can read the timing chip.  I flip it over and look at the back...

50+ class?

Ummm... when I originally signed up for the Fonta Flora Barnburner 50K back in early July, I had no idea what I was getting into.  I just knew that it was a race less than two hours from my house in a place where I'd never ridden before.  I signed up for the 50+ class thinking that I was still in my freshman year of the "olds," so I should race that class when it's an option.

Then I saw the course profile, thirty miles with not even 2,400 feet of climbing... with some pavement and gravel.  Yikes.  The "olds" on geared bikes are gonna kill me.  Better have them move me into the single speed class so I can... do what?  Dunno.

So I went back over to registration and made sure that I was in the single speed class.

 photo cred: Icon Media Asheville
Me explaining to fellow SS'er Nick how much bigger my gear is than his and how it will lead to his ultimate defeat.

As I'm oft to do, I line up in the front row.  The start is gonna be flat pavement to gravel, so better to lose places from here than further back.  Of course, at least four or five other single speeders have the same idea.

 photo cred: Icon Media Asheville
Nick going for the hole shot on the left.

Jarmz is the first SS'er to come around and get away on the paved road.  Then this feller that I remember trouncing people at the six hour race back in August.  I end up getting to the first trail right on Nick's wheel.

 photo cred: Icon Media Asheville
He makes some wiser moves getting around a few groups that we come upon, and soon after, I can't see him.  I catch up to locals Noel and Bonnie, both of whom I expect to beat me on this sort of course.  Not for nothing, I pass them anyways.  It's too early to give up...

But then we pop out on the pavement, and a whole mess of the geared riders I'd worked so hard to get by start passing me in nice, tight groups.  Dammit.  Back on the trail, I start working my way back through the same riders who dusted me on the road.  I catch Bonnie and get by her.  I'm feeling... good?

I'm staring at that Wahoo computer thing I bought some time ago and have sworn to selling soon.  Halfway (or so I thought) through the course, I'm still seeing 170-180 BPM.  Crazy.  At the tail end of the Arkansas trip, I was having trouble getting into the low 160's.  That was just four days ago.  I decide I'm just gonna try to stay up there for as long as I can, because why not?

Back out to the road and on to the lower half of the course.  I'm still picking up spots but unable to get Nick (or the other two SS'ers) in my sights.  I start running into head on traffic on the trail...

Ummm... did they mention that in a rider's meeting while I was staring at my feet?

For the first time all day long, I back off the pace a hair.  I keep looking over my shoulder to see if there's anyone following me to confirm my direction or both of our own bad decisions.  Once I see someone, I go back to giving it everything I have.

 photo cred: Icon Media Asheville
My Wahoo, which is inspiring me to keep up the red line effort, is also telling me that this 30 mile race should be over... but I'm in the woods.  Deep woods.  So obvious that I'm not close to the finish.  I back off for a skinny minute before deciding to just keep gritting my teeth.

Finally we pop back out on a road... this has got to be somewhat near the finish.  I keep looking over my shoulder.  I can see two riders closing a gap.  If I remember their jerseys correctly, they're two "olds" that I passed on the trail a bit ago.  Behind them, I see a train of riders hammering to the finish.  When I see the Fonta Flora brewery in the distance, I finally back off.  One of the "olds" pulls along side me as we make the final ninety degree turn into the final hundred yards, and I get out of his way so we don't end up knocking handlebars and falling in the dirt so close to the finish.

As things would have it...

I am a moron... at least, sorta.  I finished just off the single speed podium, 4th of 11 single speeders.

but had I stayed in the 50+ class and not let Pat around at the finish? Yeth, I coulda/woulda/shoulda been 2nd out of of 47 50+ male (olds).

Regardless, what does it matter?  Another podium photo and coffee mug validating my sense of being?

I got all the warm feels I needed from the effort itself.  It felt great to go all out for two and a half hours.  I was watching my heart rate, and as I noticed that I was able to keep it above 170 BPM almost the whole first hour, I was all, "If I can do this for an hour, what's stopping me from doing it for another hour?"

Somehow, I did keep it up.  Quite possibly the best "mental race" I've had in a long time.  I had some slight doubts early on, but otherwise... I'm happy with myself.  I do have a tendency to wallow in the mud of my own mind, and it was a pleasant surprise to not have to deal with such unpleasantries.

Also, the Fonta Flora Barnburner was certainly a lot shorter and had less climbing than most races that I think are in my wheelhouse.  That said, it's a great event/distance/course for someone looking to get outta the kiddie pool of local XC racing and dip a toe in the deep end of endurance racing.  The trails were entertaining enough to keep your attention, and I saw (but didn't use) a whole lot of support on course.

Anyhoo... now what?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe now it is time to think what you would have done on a geared bike, spend lots of money, then sell it next Spring when you realize ss is ded, yet it lives on forever?