Thursday, May 02, 2013

Traveling Man - Whiskey doesn't help!

It just started raining...its sub 50 degrees.  Yep I'm home....not complaining though.  Actually a little happy I can sit back and relax a little.  It was a rough 3 days in the car directly after the finish line of Whiskey 50.  We did the standard I-40 East to I-44 through Tulsa and the great state of MO.  Then up 55 and 39 until we hit WI.  The first night we made it to Gallup, NM and the 2nd night we stayed in Miami, OK.  By night 3 I was surely hurting.  The drive itself was pretty relaxing after a few times through Los Angeles, with all the open land and awesome scenery but my legs were sore to the touch after cramping and it hurt even more not being able to stretch them out for 30 hours.  It's going to take a few days to get caught up and settle in, but again no real hurry.  I'm planning on a few days off of the bike.

Whiskey 50 - What a race!  Highly recommended, but be prepared.  The entire town of Prescott gets behind this started off with a meeting with the mayor and the head of the forest service!  Friday night was the Fat Tire Crit.  Saturday night there was a rocking party on Whiskey Row and Sunday was the XC race.

The Fat Tire crit is pretty painful.  6,000 feet of elevation.  That's enough to make 30 minutes all out hurt and then they go and add a wall of a climb followed by a right hand turn and a long 30-40 second grinder of a climb.  If one doesn't kill you the other will.  Then a 40+ MPH downhill back to the finish.  I started up front and immediately went to the back...I was not acclimated at all.  By the middle of the race I was slowly moving forward each lap and with 4 or 5 to go I was back up in the top 10.  With 3 to go I was on Todd Wells' wheel and he attacked a lead group of 15 riders.  I watched but let the others respond.  Next time up the climb I saw Todd sit up and I followed suit.  I didn't think there was much to go for in the crit.  A call up for Sundays XC race and some glory, but not as much as the penalty of going deep into the red at your first day at altitude.  I finished behind Todd in 18th place.

I spent the day Saturday in recovery mode and did a little research on the race course.  I did the first 20 minute paved climb and the first 1 mile singetrack and then took a shortcut and did the last 15 minute descent.  It was all I could do....I really wish I could have previewed more of the course...but I had a big race the next day and needed to save my legs.

Sunday....ouch!  It was an easy start, but things lit up quickly as the paved road headed up above 6,000 ft and turned to dirt.  It was chaos and I had no idea what position I filtered into the first singletrack.  I found myself really struggling on the first climb without a clue as to how long I had to keep going up.  I was climbing just behind Wicks and Troy Wells.  We finally topped out after countless water bars and started to descend!  Yee hah - One of the most fun descents I have done...kind of reminded me of Bugs Springs!  By the end of the descent I had made up a little ground and had caught Spencer Paxson, Ben Sonntag, and Alex Grant.  Wicks had flatted and then Troy imploded and we picked up Adam Craig on the following climb.  We had now made it to the Skull Valley out and back.

On the descent Adam flatted, we caught a rider from Columbia and Derek Zandstra.  At the turn around we were racing for 5th!  I couldn't believe it....What I didn't know though was how long the climb back out of Skull Valley was going to take.  Half way up Alex Grant and I were dropped along with Zandstra.  Almost there while in 8th and 9th position I had to ask Alex how much further till the top...I was starting to feel it and had no idea if I had 20 minutes to climb or 2.  I needed to know the course better.  Alex turned the screws and I was all alone.

I started the descent and was pretty happy to be done climbing, but the cramps were setting in and I was descending a section of trail that I was completely unfamiliar this point I didn't want to flat and was just in survival mode.  Sid Taberlay caught me, but then flatted.  Then 2 others caught me...I was we were 9, 10 and 11 and one of us wasn't going to make the top ten.  They both dropped me!  Luckily I caught site of them and bridged the gap on the final paved descent...only to turn around and see 2 others bridging back of which was Macky Franklin and the other was Zandstra who I thought was long gone.  After 50 miles of technical descending and brutal climbs...3 + hours into the race it came down to a 5 man sprint for 9th - 13th place.  I knew they only paid 12 deep!  I finished 12th and was completely spent and cramped.  I had nothing for the sprint...just enough to beat one guy who had had a mechanical and was stuck singlespeeding it!

Whiskey could possibly be the hardest race I have ever done.....but I will be back and ready to battle it out again.  Half way up the final climb I was riding with Ben Sonntag who finished 4th....On a good day I could hang with slightly better preparations.  Thanks so much to Epic Rides, the town of Prescott and all the sponsors who made this event possible.  Top notch racing....USACycling & the UCI need to take notes, not threaten us with the fact that we might not be able to compete at this race next year. 

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