Monday, May 12, 2014

No Bonebender for me, but did some gravel racing

With the weather changing BoneBender from Sun to Sat, left me hanging. I complete understand and agree with Chris L.'s decision, that's just how it goes sometimes.

With MTB racing taking a bit of a back-burner, I  did the only logical thing, built up a gravel single speed monster and go ride long and find some hills. We live in a great area for training gravel. The DK is on my must do list of races. Next year is probably going to be it. I just don't have the time to devote right now. I like to race races not just survive them.
Not my handelbars, but a good view of what some of the gravel looked like. 
To get a little taste of it, I wen't down to Jefferson City a couple weekends ago and races Cedar Cross. The race is 112 miles of gravel/singletrack/fields/some pavement. Other than bending my rim on some rocks for the single track, it was pretty bad arse! Bending the rim, not so bad arse....

I have never done a race like this, hell, I have not rode over 80 miles in one day in a very long time. Couple weekends before I took out the gravel rig on a big loop up here with a ton of climbing and a headwind to boot. If that was not going to prepare me, then nothing will. From this point, the amount of suffering will all depend on how much climbing and how much wind I am going to find out there.

Of course, being in Joetown, I preferred the course when it was up and down. 

The start of the race was an absolute blast! The race as getting strung out pretty good  but still enough people around to ride with. I ride alone 95% of the time so it was rather refreshing change of pace for me.
Being on a singlespeed I found that if I draft off a geared guy on the flats I could out climb most of them and make great time jumping from group to group.

When it was not gravel, it was pretty narly at times. 
But then we hit the singletrack and I had issues. I was riding a 40x15 which is perfect for me on the gravel, however not so much on any type of singletrack. I found myself walking any hill with any steepness.

The last stretch of the first half of the race I ran into a guy who was pretty much bonking. I agreed to toe him in as I just had two flats within 3 min of each other and lost touch of any sort of a group that was moving at a good pace. After I dropped him off at the halfway point, I charged him a tube for my work. It was a good thing I did, that is the tube I finished on!

The route took you through country gravel roads and then on the way back the last 30 + miles were via the Katy Trail and some river gravel roads. I had it in my head that once I hit 80+ miles and got down to where it was flat, I was home free. I was very wrong about that!At lest for me, there is enough different muscles being used when their is some elevation change that I don't get as tired. Once you hit the flats, there is no break what-so-ever. Its just straight up grind!

I did have some gas left during this section, so I kept a pretty good pace. As soon as I would catch a guy and think to myself I would sit up a little; I would see another person on the horizon and knew I would have to go catch that person as well.

I caught a bunch of guys in that last 30 miles. I have to tell ya though, the last 20 miles were rougher than the first 90! Finished up the race with beer shower to boot! I finished up I think 36 out of 126. Would have been a bit better had I not had those 3 flat tires, but then again, I am sure a bunch of guys in front of me could say the same thing.

Not sure what is next on my race calender. Life is pretty hectic right now and will not be able to get really back at racing until June. But I am itching for it!

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