Yesterday was the last major workout of my April training cycle: the big mofo singletrack ride. The weather was much more cooperative than the last time, as it was sunny and 80-something and the trails were about as perfect as they can get in April. That also meant a lot more people out than last time, although traffic wasn't too much of an issue.
My last singletrack endurance ride left me frustrated, because I only managed to get 26 miles in the allotted four-hour period. Part of the problem was that I used my small ring a lot on that ride, because after three weeks of hard training, my legs burned every time I tried even baby climbs in the middle ring. Yesterday, I was determined to better, even though I woke up that morning already in a deep state of fatigue. Luckily, once I started riding, I didn't feel that bad. I was able to complete in the whole loop in my middle ring no problem, so I was hoping that would improve my pace a lot more over last time. Unfortunately, it didn't really help that much. I managed to cover 33.3 miles (four laps) in 4:48.
My scheduled time had been 4.5 hours and I was hoping to get five laps, and the plan was to go back to the parking lot and refill my hydration pack after three. I finished my third lap in 3:25 and saw that there was no way to get in two laps without going way over time-wise, so I decided to one more lap without a water refill. My water calculations had been correct, as I ran out of water very early in the fourth lap, but I just wanted to get it done and get out of there. It's funny how the mental distress of just knowing you are out of water on a hot day can slow you down.
I did manage to go a little faster than last time, but this ride shook my confidence about the Lumberjack a little bit. I rode exactly one third of a hundred miles, so if you triple my ride time, that comes out to 14:24, which is well past the Lumberjack cutoff time. The good news is that I still have eight weeks to prepare, the Lumberjack course is faster than the Brown County loop, and my legs will be perfectly honed and tapered for the race, rather than flat and toasted like yesterday.
I still have a three-hour "survival" ride this afternoon, and when its done, I'll have about 15 hours for the week and a big rest week ahead.