Monday, September 21, 2009

6 Hours (2 Minutes, 58 Seconds) of DINO

I'm just now getting to this race report, because frankly, I was too friggin' tired to type yesterday. I was also hoping I might get my hands (er, mouse?) on some pictures, but that hasn't happened yet. I really need to get myself a real camera besides my cell phone.

Anyway, I did the the 6 hour solo division of the 24 Hours of DINO race on Saturday. My objective was simple: Bust out one last long MTB ride before Pisgah, aided by cheering bystanders, uni-directional bike traffic, and the motivation of knowing that I was being timed. After reviewing the times from the triathlon that used the same course at Versailles earlier in the summer, I came to the conclusion that I could probably do the 13-mile laps in 1:30 a piece. That meant that I should be able to do a total of 4 laps/ 52 miles before the race was over. To prevent my usual goal creep, I told myself that I was in for the whole 4 laps, even if I couldn't finish in 6 hours. I set a "drop-dead date" of 5:15 p.m. (a lovely term often used at my job for the deadline at which a project must be either completed or abandoned). As long as I had started my fourth lap by that time, I was going to be in it to finish it, whether lap 4 showed up in the final results or not.

The race began with a LeMans start, where we had to run to our bikes with either a wheel or a seat removed. I lined up at the back with the "I'm in no hurry" group of 24 soloists and other non-aggressors, and when the gun went off we casually jogged/waddled/walked to our bikes took off once the wheels or seats were intact. The casual, polite start lead to a train going into the singletrack. Instead of a sprint for the hole shot, it was more of a long discussion of who was in the least hurry and switching places based on who thought they were slower than whom. Things were spreading out a tiny bit by the time we hit the twisting section of Shadow Run and I found myself with a couple of fast guys who were racing the 24 solo. Since they was very little elevation change, my ability to stay with them hung on my willingness to step out of my bike handling comfort zone more than my physical exertion. I was feeling really cool for a little while, until I turned my bars a little too much through a corner and crashed. It's always good to smack the crap out your knee 13 minutes into a 6 hour race.

Nita was racing the 12 hour solo and she caught up to me while I was getting myself upright. We rode most of the first lap together, only getting separated when each of us stopped for minor adjustments. When finished the lap, I was pumped to see that we'd come in a couple of minutes shy of 1:30, and she went to "powder her nose", while I kept going in hopes of finishing sub-6 after all.

The next two laps were pretty uneventful, as I just rode on, hovering just below my cross-country race effort. I finished the third lap with 4:31 on the race clock, so I knew that I had a shot at actually getting my fourth lap to count. My mojo got messed up a bit as I shifted down for the first climb of the lap and my chain came off. Luckily, I got it back on and had no more problems, but by the point, fatigue was starting to catch up with me. I did everything I could to channel all the advice I'd gleaned from the sports psychology book I've been reading (need to write about that some time) and hold it together, despite being tired. A lot of the time it felt like my legs were powering the bike along, but the rest of my body was just clinging on for the ride. I was also getting kind of cranky with the clean, fresh team guys passing me, who were probably only their first or second lap.

When it was over, I'd only slowed down 1-2 minutes for the last lap, although it felt much longer. I'd posted a really awesome time (for me), but I was still 2 minutes and 58 seconds away from having the last lap officially count. That was a little bit of a bummer, but it didn't make any difference in the placings as the first place woman did five laps and second place did four way faster than me. However, when the results were posted on the website, my fourth lap was among them, and I was ahead of eight men. I can't complain about that.

So in the end, I was extremely proud of my effort this weekend. While I have raced longer races, that was first time being on the rivet for six hours straight and it was really exciting. My previous best long ride/race was the two laps I did at the Lumberjack this year, where I did 50.8 miles in 7:13 and this weekend I did 52 miles in 6:01:01 (official bike computer time). I know you can't really compare between courses, but that's a huge improvement.

Will I be able to ride this wave of badassery on to Pisgah? We shall see. I'm a little worried after reading Carey Lowery's recon report, but I think I'm tough enough to handle it. I just may need the full 11 hours per stage that they are predicting for slow people.


nm said...

Great job on meeting your goals!

It was a disappointing day for me, but I checked the results and I was not DFL. {{{shocked}}}

Lindsay Hall-Stec said...

Hey, you beat a two man team!

Aaron said...

Six hour races are tough. Being "on" for that long is a really hard thing to do. You should be happy about your showing.