Tuesday, September 6, 2011

8 Hours of Labor Recap

8 weeks ago I started a training program to get myself ready for the 8 Hours of Labor mtb race. At the same time Andrea and I started a little weight loss competition with each other. So far, said competition has no clear winner because we have both surpassed our original goal....Wait a minute, I guess that makes us both winners, right? On the morning of the race, exactly 8 weeks from the start of this thing, I'm down by 20lbs and because of this post from Bendoeslife I can't help but think of what the next 8 weeks will bring if I can manage to keep this momentum going.

So I decided to ride the race on the same three person team as the last two years instead of trying to do it solo this time, maybe next year. Largely because when your doing a team race, hanging out with friends and fueling up with good food between laps is a major part of the fun. Plus once I found out that the course this year had 4 new grass covered, energy sucking climbs over previous years I was glad I was on a team.

This race always has a lemans style start, where the first lap is started with a run to your bike. Since I've been learning to enjoy running so much lately I was really looking forward to doing the first lap, plus I enjoy the competition of all the traffic on that first lap. When I made it to my bike I jumped on and quickly did a survey of who was around me...hmm...no one I know, maybe I'll run into some friends out there. On the bike and hammering up the first grassy climb, that grass by the way will redline your heart rate in a hurry if your not careful, still I was passing a lot of people. Was I going to hard from the start? Still feeling ok so I don't think so. Before I knew it, a few miles into lap one, I seemed to be hanging on to a group of "the fast guys" and suddenly I realized there was no one behind me. Wow, "don't let yourself blow up", I kept telling myself, especially on the first lap. But it didn't happen. I finished that first 10 mile lap in 52.73min/11.27mph. Until recently I've barely been able to manage a 10mph average on those same trails, so I was pretty excited about the lap. But I was worried about being able to back it up on my next one.

I headed out on lap two with very little traffic, which had me a little concerned. Sometimes when I'm feeling slow it helps me with my pace if I can keep a faster rider or two within sight. Eventually I started coming up on riders and began easily passing them, trying to converse a little with each of them as I go around. No need to be rude to people out there, and a few nice words can go a long way to someone who is struggling to keep going. A little more than half way I started feeling kinda cooked and started easing up a little. Suddenly a couple of riders seemingly came out of nowhere and passed me on a climb, that got me working hard again the rest of the way back to camp. When I came in Andrea said she wasn't sure but she thought my time was close to 58min and I was immediately disappointed in myself, that's more like the times I've turned in past years on an easier course. Bummed, well at least I was able to do one fast lap....Then they posted a race update and my time was actually 52.78/11.26mph, .02 slower than my first lap. Oh yeah, feeling better now!

I started my third and final lap of the day I was surprised at how well I was feeling and wishing that I would be able to get in another lap later, but there was no way that we would make the cut off time for three more team laps. This lap was pretty uneventful with the exception of a couple of slower riders creating a bit of a traffic jam during a section of singletrack that's pretty much impossible to pass on. I was fine slowing and recovering a little, knowing that I'd have that much more gas once the trail opened up a little. Eventually the complaints from some of the traffic behind me started getting louder and I saw a spot wide enough to get by on a corner so I floored it. I finished that lap in 53.69/11.08mph, I guess the time difference could have been from the traffic jam.

We just barely missed getting a rider out for one extra lap, because of a flat tire our last rider missed getting back in before the cutoff by 2 minutes. I had a great time visiting with friends and meeting a few new ones like Karlos who's team was, according to his post, here, was having a pretty close battle with my team (590). They edged us out for the win this time, but I'll be on the lookout next time!

I rested last week so for now it's back to training. I'm going to try to find some sort of event, either biking or running, around 8 weeks from now so I can keep this momentum going.

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