Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Colin's Race Report - Too much sleep?

I have the nap monster to blame for my lack of updates lately. Nap
monster, for those who don’t know, is what one turns into after an
alarm-less afternoon nap. This debilitating condition, characterized by
lethargy and grumpiness, is usually treated easily with sunshine and green
tea. On rare occasions, however, such as frequent hard training blocks
and races, it can last days, which is the state in which I’ve been finding
myself a lot lately. While I’m not very productive as a nap monster, I
figure it indicates that I’ve adequately extended myself in training and,
with rest, can expect to a boost in fitness. That’s the idea at least.

After the Teva games, I took advantage of two consecutive weekends off of
racing to do as many long climbing rides as I could handle in anticipation
of Marathon and XC Nationals. Sometimes I wonder whether I truly target
races, or whether races are just convenient justification to spend my days
exploring the mountains with a pocket full of bars and a good Pandora
station. Big dinners and early bedtimes cap off these gratifying training
days. Ah, the wild times of a bike racer.

While this type of training ostensibly set me up well for the Colorado
races, it didn’t leave me with the kind of rested, punchy legs necessary
to excel at a sea level, world-cup style race like the Wisconsin Pro XCT.
I managed a 17th in the XC and a 10th in the STXC, which, given the solid
international fields, was actually a big confidence booster going into the
slew of Colorado races, including the Firecracker 50 (aka US Marathon
National Championships).

The Firecracker 50 being a home race of sorts for me, I was admittedly
fired up to do well. Half way up the first long road climb, I knew I was
feeling good and settled into a conservative pace that I felt I could
maintain for the entirety of this VERY hard race. I was sitting
comfortably in 4th behind JHK, Sam Schultz, and roadie Pete Stetina (who
eventually crashed out) with mostly descending to go when I heard an
alarming THWAP, THWAP, THWAP sound coming from my rear triangle. I jumped
off my bike to discover an ancient looking 4-inch nail had pierced
straight through both my tire and rim. Running I adrenaline, I tore off
the tire and got a tube in before next-placed Dave Weins came by, only to
botch the change by snapping off the valve stem when I went to hit it with
a Big Air CO2. When it comes to fixing a flat, I guess there’s a fine
line between just enough and too much adrenaline. I vented most of my
frustration in the relative privacy of the woods and began the long walk
of shame back to the feed zone. I kept the nail, and I think I’ll use it
to hang a rabbit’s foot or a horseshoe or something, thereby nullifying
its bad karma and preventing it from every harming another Karma tire

After such a hard race, I’ve been voraciously consuming fruits and veggies
in addition to Hammer supplements to combat the dreaded nap monster and
recover in time for the Colorado Springs Pro XCT time trial this Friday.
It’ll be a hard three-day chunk of racing, but hopefully the perfect
primer for the XC National Championships in Granby, CO the following
weekend. I hear it’s a newly cut course, which hopefully means it won’t
intersect with any old mining roads where there are likely to be nails.