Feb 19, 2009

Mas O Menos race

Saturday was the Mas O Menos race out in the Chihuahuan Desert near Big Bend National Park. Dave and I were signed up for the 100km race after doing a bunch of mountain biking around the area in the days prior. It was good to get some quality mtb riding with Dave who is my BC Bike Race partner. I managed to get just over 11 CTL* during the week (look at the bottom of this post for an explanation of CTL.) This was not a great approach to a race but the 5hr race on Saturday wasn't a priority, it was really just a cherry on top of a singletrack cake. ;-)


I was a bit tired on the start line but still excited about getting some racing fun on a perfect weather day. The start was busy as I'd moved down into a younger age group to race with Dave, with only one minute of racing on the trail he looked at me, said "let's go" and opened it up and that was the last I saw him until I was going through the transition area 2.5hrs later and saw him changing a flat tire. I only saw him for a few seconds as I sped past him but it looked like the race was over for him.

Back to the start of the race, I knew within 30secs of the start that my legs were feeling pretty flat (hence letting Dave go) so during the entire lap I just kind of rolled along, checking out other racers, passing a few here and there but never feeling fresh enough to open it up - I was still waiting for my legs to join the race. Even on long passing sections like the one below I wasn't too excited about tearing past a bunch of guys. If you look closely in the image you will see Evan watching all the big boys go by.


During the second lap I just wanted to run a faster lap than the first lap and began to reel a few people in to keep things entertaining. My only real goal going into this race was to go sub-5hrs and I was easily on track for that. Approx 15mins into the second lap and I started to feel my legs open up. Now I felt like racing and so it was game on. I decided to get out of the saddle every time there was a climb or small elevation gain and it was feeling good. I was picking off other racers and having fun, but that came to a abrupt halt about 40mins into the second lap as I flew into a technical section without bleeding off enough velocity and caught waaaaaayyyyy too much air off a little popper, yikes! As I was superman-ing it through the air towards the rock bed in front of me I had lots of time to think about how much the bad landing was going to hurt.

It did.

My biggest wipeout in a few years. The resulting white flash of light, then seeing stars, nausea, blood and some mechanical problems dumped 8mins off my race time, it took me a few more minutes of back on the bike pedaling until the surge of adrenaline started masking the body damage and I felt good enough to push on the gas pedal again. All in I would guess 10+ minutes of lost time, but that's racing and my own fault for carelessness.

Dave had been busy sorting out his flat tire bad luck and unbeknown to me had started racing again shortly after I passed him in the transition area. During my crash and subsequent fumbling around he closed to within visual distance of me and started to try and reel me in. I didn't know he was back there because I rarely look behind me in a race, I just got back to racing and chasing down what was in front of me. So he chased me through the sand pits, across the road, up the climb and all the way to the finish line, for over an hour he was on my heels and I didn't know he was back there. I came across the line in 5hrs and 7mins, in front of Dave by only three minutes. I'm sure he must have been cursing me as he tried to close the gap, but we had a good laugh about all of it, over a beer, once we figured it all out.


Overall I'm pretty happy with the day... I had fun out there even though I never really felt like tearing the cranks off - I sorta let the day settle into mainly an aerobic workout under nice weather conditions. I got a good bunch of PowerTap data and I got to take a more careful look at a racing distance that is comparable to what we will be racing in the BC Bike Race on a daily basis (except BCBR will be way harder with tons of climbing and technical and seven days long). I know I'm on the right track for the OC 80miler and I'm pretty sure I should be in good form for my two A races at BCBR and Worlds 24hr Solo.

In my age division this race finish gave me 5th place, not too bad all things considered but I got my butt kicked by someone else in the family!


Evan did his first bike race on Saturday in the "Kids Cup", racing against bigger kids on geared bikes he placed second on his single speed bike. Weird, because he's not competitive, yeah right. In the shot below he is heading for the finish line.


Keegan's bike is still on training wheels so he couldn't race with the bigger boys but he still got to hang out towards the back of one of the races while Doreen pushed/cheered him on across the finish line. Here's a Blackberry image of Keegan's Fonzie pose, aaaaaaaaayyyyyy!


A great family week out in the desert, maybe we'll do it again next year.

* "Chronic training load, or CTL, provides a measure of how much an athlete has been training (taking into consideration both volume and intensity) historically, or chronically. It is calculated as an exponentially-weighted moving average of daily TSS (or TRIMP, etc.) values, with the default time constant set to 42 d. CTL can therefore be viewed as analogous to the positive effect of training on performance in the impulse-response model, i.e., the first integral term in Eq. 1, with the caveat that CTL is a relative indicator of changes in performance ability due to changes in fitness, not an absolute predictor (since the gain factor, ka (or k1), has been eliminated)."

Quoted from - http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/cycling/the-science-of-the-performance-manager.aspx


leonsrocketcar said...

Evan's helmet logo rocks!

Shaun Taylor said...

I think it should be on the race team vehicle. ;-)