Given my spring catastrophes (road bike demolished, dislocated rib–two totally separate incidences), I haven’t entered a road race yet.
I’ve been getting in my road training on my friend’s road bike, but my first race of the season this year was Brommelseik mountain bike race. Nice and low-key. A good confidence builder.
The course is a blast–smooth, flowy, not too technical, a few moderate climbs and some zig-zagging back and forth through some tall grass between the woods.
Last year, it was BLAZING hot. Like close to 100 hot. And humidity about the same. This year, it was not quite as hot, but for a late spring day in May, it was pretty dang hot for this chick.
I had my usual knot in the stomach and sick feeling pre-race. Why I do this to myself, I don’t know. Once I get into the race, I’m fine, but this pre-race stuff is for the birds. Signed up, and checked the roster and there was only one other lady signed up in my class. Ok, that helps. Guess I’m just going to go as hard as I can, and do my best, maybe beat a few guys I know…
At registration, there was some hemming and hawing but then it was agreed that Women’s sport category had 4 laps. Ok, then. I’m ready to go. Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.
Did my warmups and got my heart rate and breathing going. It’s always a fine line between warming up well, (entirely necessary on my part) and tiring myself out. I never know where to draw the line–especially in the heat. Too much warming up in the heat, means you overheat early and lose your power and energy in the race. Not enough, and well, it’s not enough.
So we gather at the start line and I brace myself for the stampede of guys and the choking dust bath that I know will ensue. It hasn’t rained in a week or so, and it was pretty darn dusty out there in spots.
And…we’re off! Not wanting to be overrun by the guys, I have to hold my ground (and yell at the guys who start coming over on me) and follow someone I know through the dust cloud into the woods. I figure I’m pretty safe behind my buddy, Mike.
Up and around and down the gravel descent into a sharp left in loose gravel. I take the tight turn a tad fast, start to wipe out on the turn into the creek, touch my foot down for a second, recover, and go! A couple guys pass me, but I’m not too worried, I’ll probably pass them later on.
As we spread out on the trail, I begin to pick off the guys one by one. My female competition is not in sight, so I figure she is behind me somewhere in the swirilng dust.
Starting to really have fun, I blast through the turnaround to begin lap number two and start the climb up and out of the woods, back into the blazing hot sun and through the ‘prairie’ section. It’s a long uphill, miserable climb there. As I’m climbing, I see my female competition just descending into the the lap turnaround. So, I’m a few minutes ahead. Good. Knowing she saw me too, I figure she is speeding up trying to catch up, so I push it hard the rest of the way up the hill and all the way around that next lap. By the time I come in for lap #2, I’m hot, dizzy and tired, and feeling like I’m on the verge of puking (oh yeah, reminds me of CX) but I keep pushing it, feeling the chase behind me.
By lap #3, there is no sign of my female competitor, but I push on through the woods passing a few guys here and there. Happily, they are all pretty nice (begrudging or not) and move over when I ask to pass.
Rounding out the end of lap #3, I come flying through the turnaround, determined to get in really good last lap, when I hear I’m done after the 3rd lap. Huh?…my oxygen deprived, overheated brain is a bit confused. They told me “four” at the start. Lee says three. Tempting to stop for sure…
I say no way–I’m mot going to risk it and go hard for lap #4.
Knowing I’m almost done, I summon up the rest of the remaining energy I’ve got, suck down the last bit of warm water in my Camelbak, and pedal hard. My head feels like it’s gonna explode on that last climb outta the turnaround, but I’m almost done and I can do this!
The last lap flies by and I happily round that last turn into the final stretch and push the pedals hard into the turnaround. Lap Four, DONE. I’m finished, mentally and physically, hot, dusty and thirsty. Done.
Even with a small women’s field, it’s a great feeling. My congrats to my competition, she pushed me hard, and I appreciate it. (I can get lazy in races…)
Maybe next time, Cat 1? I dunno. I can go fast on the less technical courses, but no way am I a Cat 1 in a technical mtb race. We’ll see.
I do love mountain bike racing. The Superfly was set up perfect. The tire pressure, perfect. (Something the bf and I argue over constantly, since I like to run low pressure.) The shocks, perfect. The fit, finally…just right.
A tall ice cold (gluten free) Green’s amber ale awaits me. I’m ready for a that first delicious sip.
Pre-race fuel: Given my usual pre-race jitters, I’m not hungry in the morning and feel a little pukey. It’s just nerves, so I force myself to eat a good breakfast anyway. I throw a couple slices of natural ham on a piece of gluten free toast slathered in organic butter (fat is great endurance fuel), and have a smoothie of banana, frozen berries, coconut juice and coconut oil. Complex carbs, protein and necessary healthy fat. Should be good fuel for the race. I may supplement with a Gu if necessary in the race, because the electrolytes may come in handy.
Got my Camelbak full of half water/half coconut juice for electrolyte replacement.
Note: I felt great the whole race, so my pre-race fuel was perfect. I had one Gu on the third lap, because I was depleted, sweating a lot and tired. It was all I needed.
Post-race: Beef “taco” (no shell, no cheese), just lettuce, tomato,jalepenos, and, guacamole. Perfect. And, the requisite beer. 🙂
Catherine (Cat) Ebeling RN BSN, is a bike racing fanatic and a back to basics health and nutrition coach. In addition to her advanced degree in nursing from a major medical school, she has spent the last 30 years intensely studying diet, health and nutrition. She also has a book titled “The Fat Burning Kitchen, Your 24 Hour Diet Transformation” that has sold 100,000 copies worldwide, and has helped thousands of people transform their lives, lose weight and improve their health.
Her mission is to help others prevent disease and live their best life ever.
Nutrition made Easy. Simple.Smart.Nutrition.