Worst pain/mental lapse/fail ever.
I guess it is good to go deep into the pain cave every now and then, builds character.
I knew when I saw that some of the fastest pros in the state like Uhl, Winkelman, etc. were showing up there would be no 4-pete, so I just wanted to do my own ride and see how things shook out.
I had been putting in hella miles. I usually do one or maybe two centuries per year. I did 4 in October, 2 on the road (including my longest ride ever – 120 miles) and my first two centuries on the mountain bike. The Sunday prior I did the whole EB course solo from home plus an addl 15ish miles of road for an even 100 miles in about 9.5 hrs at a reasonable pace without resupplying. I felt strong and had endurance for days.
My times for the last two years on the exact same course were 8:07 and 8:10, so my very reasonable goal was to do a sub 8 hour ride. My secondary goal was to be within 30 minutes of the first finishers, figuring it would definitely be sub 8 hrs.
As we got closer, I noticed the forecast kept getting warmer and warmer (especially the lows – indicating high humidity). I seemed to eat and hydrate well enough during the week, but when we started in the 93-100% humidity, I knew it was going to be a long day. I was pouring sweat on the greenbelt. I got a brief calf cramp on S16 like 2 hours in… you have to be F’ing kidding me?!?! We got spread out a bit on the GB and I lost the front group. I started getting my rhythm but was in no mans land for most of the second loop on the GB. When I got to the light at 360 I caught up to (the man known as) Larry Bird and Travis. Rocky joined us as well. I knew Travis was not feeling good because he bid us farewell as soon as we hit 360. Larry, Rocky and I rode together on 360 and all of City Park. I think Rocky stopped for a few minutes after city park. Larry stopped at the Jester Mart to resupply. I got a time check at the bottom of Jester and the front group of 6 was about 20 minutes up, with me, Rocky and Larry next. Rocky caught me at the Lakewood/360 light and we rode together to St Eds. We saw the front group heading away from St Eds as we went towards it on Old Spicewood Springs Rd so I made a mental note of the time and spot and when we came back to that same spot after St Eds, and we were down about 25 minutes now. Rocky dropped me a bit on the climb at St Eds but took a wrong turn and had to double back so we regrouped again and we rode to Thumper together. He dropped into Thumper just before me and Larry rode by as I stopped at the Cindy C-Store. Who must have been Tim Gray passed me just as we started Thumper. I held it together in Thumper fairly well, but started getting some pretty bad leg (and one or two arm) cramps. I stopped at Cindy’s again after the lap and (who must have been) Marc rolled by and I never saw any of those 4 again until the finish. Looking at the results, this group was on pace for right at 8 hours on the dot, right about my realistic goal. As soon as I left Thumper it started raining, and it cooled me off for a bit, it was awesome, but by the time I hit Parmer the cramps got pretty severe, I had both legs completely lock up at least 6-8 times before I would finish. A couple times rolling on Parmer where I had both legs dangling down in agony as I coasted. Once at a light, the light changed green. but I couldn’t even get a foot back on the pedal. I had to stop 3-4 times at WC, both legs locked, unable to move at all. That is some excruciating pain. Three more guys caught/passed me on the little climb after the root drop crossing and I couldn’t even move off the trail (sorry guys). Luke caught me a few minutes later after I got rolling again and gave me some water I added to my sports drink mix and I finally finished the lap fighting off the cramps (Thanks Luke). He must have added in a section because I never passed him back but finished a few minutes before him.
Obviously a major collapse to lose a full 50-51 minutes from the guys I was riding with over just the last 15 or so miles of what should have been the easiest part. I am not sure how I got so far behind on my electrolytes but I just could not get caught up with what I brought with me. I thought I would have to DNF a few times a WC but I wasn’t sure how I was even going to get out of the trails back to my truck. But I am way too stubborn to quit at that point in the ride, and I really paid the price. Sunday morning wasn’t too bad, but from Sunday afternoon until Monday afternoon, I could barely get up or walk at all. All the muscles in both legs were super sore. I could finally walk normally by Tuesday, but if I stretched, my muscles were still sore until today (Thursday). Pathetic. That was the worst I have ever hurt myself on the bike. Lessons learned, a few extra salt tables would have probably done the trick. I will definitely pack way more electrolytes that I think I could possibly need on future epic rides. All things considered, not a bad time at 8 hr 51 min.
Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar, well, he eats you.