chain buster 6/9 race# 1
This past Saturday I ventured up to Watkinsville,Ga. to compete in the first race of a 6 race series.The series is promoted by chain buster racing.This is another series I've been doing since it's inception back 5 or 6 years ago.The previous races I competed in the longer option but this year I decided to give the 6 hour option a try.
This year,since the series is longer,the first race of the season got moved up by about a month.It felt good to be racing with somewhat of a chill in the air and absolutely no threat of rain.The day was forecast to be nothing but beautiful with crystal clear skies and high temps in the 60's.The only thing that was less than perfect was certain parts of the trail ,which were wet and muddy,but after a few laps even those areas began to dry up and become perfect.
I had mixed emotions about racing this particular race.I hadn't been able to ride much the month prior and I knew enough about the course to know that it's super tough when on top of your training much less when you're not.I think I've been racing for so long that when a race like this comes up it's impossible to just say "no" ,no matter what the circumstances,so bright and early Saturday morning I made my way north.
If I had any reservations at all about going they quickly disappeared once I got up to the race venue.Racing is fun and all but what makes participating in these events so great is being able to socialize with all your cycling buds that you haven't seen in awhile.Showing up at a race venue and seeing/talking to friend after friend really is special.I think I could go and not race and still have just as good a time.
Before I knew it it was time to line up on the starting line and get started.I had no real expectations and planned on riding super conservatively just so I could last the entire 6 hours.
The first 3 laps went off without much trouble.The course was wetter than I was thinking it would be with one particular section of the trail being super slippery.This section was probably about a mile long and had some of the most slippery mud I've ever ridden on.Some parts of it felt like ice and you had to be super careful going into corners;otherwise you would find yourself off the trail and on your back.A few of the uphills were super tough,my back tire wanted to spin up under me after each pedal stroke.Going up these hills felt like they were taking 5 times as much energy as they would had they been dry.
Lap 4 I started fading/getting tired.This is the part of the race when I start questioning why on earth would I want to ride a bike for 6 f'n hours in the first place.One thing that is cool to reflect on is the things you think about while on the bike.I guess that's your brains way of trying to keep your mind off of the pain and suffering your body is going through.Unfortunately no matter how many "other" things I thought about one thought kept coming to mind and that was I want to stop/quit.My legs were running out of gas and my neck and back was killing me.
Cyclist can say what they want about racing in the the 'mountains" but (to me) these lap type endurance races are the toughest races out there.Not only are they tough physically but the mental battle a racer has to deal with is torture.Lap races you have your pit you go by every hour or so which to me is like the finish line over and over and over again.Each lap you can call it quits right there if ya want.It's amazing at the mental games you have to play with yourself to keep on going when your body wants to stop.
I played the mental game with myself on lap 4 and told myself just one more lap (lap 5) and I would be calling it a day.I basically got through lap 4 and 5 by telling myself that this is the last lap for me.By the time I finished lap 5 I saw I had enough time to get in one more lap.The cut off for this race was right at 6 hours.I had a little over an hour to get back in,otherwise the lap would not count.I had a little mental battle with myself for a few minutes and decided to go out and get one more lap in.I knew it was going to hurt and hurt it did.The worst part was at one point having to come off the bike only to be attacked by massive cramps in both quads and both hamstrings.Both my legs locked up so bad all I could do was fall like a tree and hit on them trying to make the cramp/s go away.Fortunately as long as i was pedaling my legs wouldn't lock up.I just have checked my watch 30 times during that lap and half the times I had convinced myself there was no way I could get back in time.Once I got within ear shot of the transition area I could hear them announce that we had '2 minutes" left.At that point I knew I would be able to make it back an that my 6th lap would indeed count.I can't remember being that exhausted in quite sometime but did feel a sense of accomplishment and perseverance for going back out for 'one more lap."The effort netted me a 2nd place finish (in my respective category) and ended what turned out to be one pretty damn good day despite the pain and suffering.mark duffus mark duffus mountain biking mark duffus cycling