Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week #10: Then the Death March Happened

I've been spending the last 28 months
Thinkin' all endurance racing ever does 
Is break, and burn, and end
But on a Saturday, in cemetery
I watched it begin again

Well, last week I thought it was weird to have my training complete and the Death March only days away. Now that it's over I don't even know what to say. We came. We raced. We got second.

And we got some beer.
I don't really feel like doing a full play-by-play, so here are the important tidbits, in no particular order.

The Fearless Navigator Made a Mistake

For all of my knowing the route by heart, I always had this fear of just riding through on autopilot and missing a cemetery, and for a minute I thought I did in Elkinsville. Because that checkpoint is a mile or so out-and-back down a gravel road, I never actually went down there in training. I just sort of made a mental note of the road sign. However, when we were chugging along yesterday, I got kind of disoriented, thought we'd missed our turn, and panicked a bit. We backtracked a few minutes and realized that we hadn't missed it at all. I was going to feel really bad if we ended up losing place by the amount of time that we lost backtracking.

Is This Life or Death March?

However, a little later Erik saw a SAG van and wanted to ride back and get snacks. I agreed because, well, this stuff is supposed to be fun and not just race-face suffering the whole time. I also figured I could blame the Pop Tart break in the case of a five-minute defeat. Luckily, neither made any difference in the results, and I'm glad for the laid back approach.

I was also glad to be probably the only female in the top five of the co-ed division to not be physically pushed and pulled around the course all day. We did our best without pushing to the point of misery, and still ended up successful. Misery wouldn't have made us fast enough to get into first place; it just would have made us miserable. I rode really hard and was pretty trashed by the end, but it never stopped being fun (okay, maybe a bit boring on the paved stretch to Story). So I feel extra successful in that we were able to basically just go out and ride and still do well. I'm pretty sure we're even still friends, despite five hours of making up reasons to hate each other by the time it was over.

The Waiting Game

We spent most of the race knowing that Scott and Janelle were in front of us, but there wasn't really anything we could do about that. There was another co-ed team that arrived at the first checkpoint as we were leaving, but otherwise we didn't really see any others early on. I wasn't really sure of the routes of the other contenders, other than that Will Sherman and Jane Prater would be going the opposite direction. My thought was that if we could get to Story before we met them, we were in good shape. I got worried when we saw them a good 10 minutes before Story, though. As we were going out to pick up Hillenburg near the end, we saw them coming back, which presumably meant they had a 5-10 minute lead. I'll admit to a string of expletives coming out of my mouth at that time, but we sped up as much as we could and grabbed the last two checkpoints before heading for the finish.

When we got there, the lady at the finish said that there were maybe 3-4 co-ed teams ahead of us, but she wasn't really sure. The initial word around parking lot was that we were probably fourth, so as we changed clothes and went to eat I was pretty bummed thinking that we had missed our goal of the top 3. But it's not over until the pictures are checked and the time bonuses added up. While we were eating, we found out that another team that finished before us had taken a picture at the wrong Hillenburg Cemetery (there are two about a quarter-mile apart). That seemed to put us in the top 3, and so began the waiting game. Luckily, we had beer and fudge to keep us entertained.

After three or so hours, Scott finally came out and held up three fingers at us, which was heartening in that we had at least not waited around for prizes that would never happen.  However, while were were standing around waiting for the awards to start, Will came up and said we got second, because they finished nine minutes ahead of us, but we got one more checkpoint than them, and thus a ten-minute time bonus. Backtracks and Pop Tarts be damned, we came out on top! So to be honest, I still don't really understand how this all played out and probably won't until I see the published results, but we were happy and took our Hopslam and ran.

So that was the 2013 Death March and the official beginning to my season. Looking forward to Barry-Roubaix in a couple of weeks, although I worry that it won't be nearly so entertaining.

1 comment:

ybbond said...

Tania needs to get the results for the top 10 right -- and make it a priority --- trying to pool people together after the fact is BS....