24 hours of nine mile
If you haven't guessed by now...it never happened. As soon as the start gun went off for the run, both my quads screamed--I heard them, and they said "NO!". I took the run easy and thought I would warm up on the bike. The beginning of the course was fast and flat...all the singlespeeders were quickly left behind but most of them make up lost places on the first climb. (Notice that when I pre-rode the course, there were NO climbs. Funny how things change when you're tired. Everything seemed like a climb to me on race day). I had an easy gear on my bike. I should have been more than comfortable seated on all the "climbs" at the beginning of the race. Instead, I was out of the saddle, crankin what seemed like 45 rpm. Yikes...I hoped I would warm up FAST. I was hungry as I hadn't eaten anything since 6:30am. I know better than that, not sure what happened to me. I downed a bottle of Sustained Energy on that lap but nothing else. My lap time was bad..I was feeling worse during my first lap than I did at the end of my 6 hour race last weekend..how could that be?! Not to mention, my rear wheel came off twice on my first lap.
During my first pit stop Richard handed me a BURN and a gel--both helped temporarily and I was off. I felt a little better on that lap but still my lap time was slower than it should have been. From then on out, I was not taking in more than 200 calories for every lap which I didn't realize at the time but calculated afterwards. Nothing tasted good except for plain water and I would eat a gel at each pit. Well, the laps were longer--13.6 miles and my lap times were well over an hour. I should have been taking in 350 calories (at least) per lap. I took several long breaks and even had a massage from Jason from Danielle's pit crew. Every lap I did I lost more time, which is really unlike me. The strongest part of my endurance racing is my consistency, and I didn't have any yesterday. I was really enjoying the singletrack (except a couple nasty crashes--I'm too stubborn to walk anything and on another one I was caught by a tree as I was descending way over my comfort zone with a couple fast guys on my tail). However, the double-track was killing me. Every climb was getting longer, steeper, hotter, and slower. Finally, after 5 laps I gave in. My hole was only getting deeper, I was not coming out of the bonk. For the next 12 hours after I quit I could barely talk or even stand up. I went to sleep for 6 hours or so and ate a burger...finally around 7am I started to feel slightly human again. It will take me some time to figure out why I started out so flat and tired...My bike was great though, I have no regrets picking the SS to ride. I can't blame anything that happened on my equipment--this time it was just me.
I don't regret quitting - I felt like I could quit on lap 1 with the way I felt- but I gave it the best I had for 4 more laps. By 65 miles into it, I realized it was just not in the cards for me. Do I wish I had come to my senses about the calories then? Or wish I had someone to tell me that then? Sure, but that is all in hindsight, I obviously wasn't thinking clearly at the time. Richard came up to support Eddie and when he got to Atlanta he found out I was racing too (surprise!) so he kind of had his hands full, being by himself. My first lap time was even slower than my pre-ride (which was taking it easy!) and they just got slower each lap despite me feeling like I was working hard. It is a major bummer because it was such a big race, and it would have been awesome to do well. It was also a lot of money and time to make the trip--hmm, there seems to be some sort of correlation between the distance I travel to race and my performance. Maybe I should just race in the Southeast :)
Luckily the trip was not a waste! Eddie had a phenomenal race and finished 4th!! It was the best finish for him to date, I think he's pretty happy about it. He finally got to stand on the podium with Eatough, Ross, Hendershot and Ernie. I am SO proud of him. Maybe Kona will send him to the "Worlds" in Conyers this October and he can take them on again on his home course..watch out!
Here's Danielle and me (finally out of my bonk) before she got her much deserved 2nd place medal & swag (photo borrowed from DM)