I was scared. More scared of a race than I have been for quite a while. Why? A multitude of reasons logical and not. Primarily though because I have not had a successful race in this type of format for quite a while (i.e. P2P and True Grit). Granted True Grit was a bit out of my control, but it still got to me.
Then I felt ill prepared. It dawned on me that I really have not done much endurance preparation. Usually, I will have put some distance in during the spring. That was not the case this year. Maybe it was the weather, but I could not recall doing a four hour ride let alone anything longer.
We did a little recon the Monday before putting in a four hour plus ride but at a pretty easy pace. We were not only coming into this race but also trying to recover from Dutch Hollow. Given the amount of climbing early, I devised a plan. I don't usually put a whole lot of planning into these events. I follow the advice once given that always seemed to work--ride as hard as you can for as long as you can. It was my mantra going into my first endurance race (Brian Head Epic) and worked until the P2P.
My plan was to start off conservative. Don't worry about who was going when. Just race my race. I set heart rate limits?! I figured 170 would be a good upper limit for the first half and then let it go after the second feed zone.
Calories. I usually eat a lot of solid food provided by the aid stations.This had me nervous as I have made some restrictive dietary changes lately in hopes of pleasing my body. I could break them but then risk having issues again. I opted to keep to the diet and rely heavily on calories my bottle. Well, really Camelbak.
I stuck to the plan...mostly. My legs felt really good climbing at 175 so I went with it. The whole point of keeping the heart rate down was to ward of cramps and keep the legs happy. If I could that at 175, why not? I picked my Camelbak from Lance at aid station one. And then refilled it at two. This took time. I think in the future, I will start with a Camelback and pick up another one along the route. This should be quicker. But what I did definitely worked.
This course followed some of the P2P course. Feeling good I just grinned as I flew by sections that I was suffering through last September. I recalled being in pain hardly able to pedal. But not this time.
After spending most of my day in fourth position, I ended up in third in the last ten miles or so. I still had "some in the tank" at the end but I ultimately accomplished my goals--and no cramps!