Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Truely Gritty

This post is late. I have spent most of my non-work time with family commitments or working on my bike (i.e. helping Chris work on my bike). The BB was shot. A jockey wheel need some cleaning and lubing. New chain and chain rings--which may not be compatible with my cassette. Replace derailleur cable. That was just my bike which only made it to Barrel Roll.
On the start line
I  DNFed. I was not taken out by anyone but myself or my bike as the case may be. I was feeling good. I was racing smart. But while I was having a good day my beloved bike was having the worst day in its history.
As your probably have heard, the 10% chance of rain started a short 30 minutes into the race. And that 10% chance must have been the 10% of the area that encompassed the race course. As it rained continuously. Not a hard rain, but nice and consistent. I actually did not realize how wet I actually was for quite some time.
My bike started having issues early—about half way through Zen. The chain kept getting sucked up between my crank arm and chain stay. There is little room there and I am surprised the chain even fit. None the less, it happened repeatedly. I fell over once on a steep section of the trail even though I got out of my pedal there was no place to go but down. I started losing spots as I was pulling my chain out and/or attempting to clean and lube my chain. (Luckily at the last minute, I opted to carry lube and a rag with me as opposed to just having it at the aid stations. See smart racing.) I would climb back just to lose positions again. (Thanks Dave for helping me out.)
Leaving Zen after cleaning and lubing my bike
I caught back up again. And things started to look good. The chain was lubed and running smooth…for a while. I came up on Lynda on Rim Runner. She was emotional about everything. In my simplistic mentality, we talked about rerouting the course and just heading back. We spoke to Eszter (and Christine) and it seemed like a plan. We made our way to Barrel Roll. I was a bit behind as my chain issues were back and tore off the metal guard on the chain stay. When I rolled up they had given their names and were headed to Lynda’s house. Here is where it dawns on me that I am taking a DNF. I am not so sure about it. They all ride away and I remain there thinking.
DNF or go on?
 I make a half hearted attempt to ride Barrel Roll. I am cold now. There is standing water on the entire trail. My bike lost its protective cover on the chain stay already so any chain suck will start digging into the carbon fiber stay. I ask myself what I am doing. I start to choke up. I turn back on Precipice and give them my number. I am done. I pansied out. I quit. I was not happy.
Then Carson and Karl came by in Carson’s impeccably clean vehicle asking if I needed a lift. (My knights in a shining SUV.) They had dry clothes and blankets—giving Chad, Brady and myself a lift back.
Chris a finisher with True Grit

Clean and getting warm
Note to self—things that I did right:
1.       Plenty of recovery (Sunday off, Monday off, Tuesday hard ride, Wednesday easy  with a couple of shorter hard efforts), Thursday and Friday off
2.       Stayed relaxed and rode behind Lynda and Eszter at the start. Kept (tried to) keep them in view.
3.       Drank calories from the start
4.       Remained calm when I fell back and slowly reeled people in


Derek said...

I now understand why we lost everybody at the base of the hill. You set a great pace on the extra Stucki single track piece and up the hill to the Rim trails. Chris and I were confused when everyone disappeared. I have decided to resurrect the chain, but new brake pads, opened up every bearing and re-greased. We were pulled after finishing two laps of Barrel Roll. I was shocked at the time, but as soon as I got in a car, I was shaking uncontrollably. I am glad that did not happen down in cove wash. Nice racing!

Erica said...

I'm still very impressed that you made it onto barrel roll, freezing cold, downtrodden and your competition gone. You are one tough cookie, no doubt about it. I'm sorry that it didn't pan out and the dirt got the best of your bike. But in the end it's better to not eat away that carbon. I had plenty of chain suck last year and my bike showed massive damage (luckily it wasn't carbon). Way to race smart, from beginning to end.

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