Sunday, August 3, 2008

Darkhorse 40 Race Report

I'm fresh in from the DH40 and what a race it was! It was superbly put together, organized and a great time was had by all. And the barbecue was killer!!! I was wondering how well I would be recovered for the race but I had a good idea on the opening section of the course.

The race went off with the Pro/Expert 19-29/30-39/Singlespeeds in the first wave. As usual the gun went off and the pace was hot. I was reminding myself that I said I would take it relaxed on the first lap and push on lap two. Well that sounds good except for when you're chasing down a paceline. Through the first 5 miles it was pretty backed up and the positions were sorted out as some dropped back and I tried to keep pace with those I could hold on. I could feel the legs were a little lack luster and just found some guys and tried to keep pace with them. It seemed to work pretty well. After a while the pack thinned out and I latched onto a rider here or there to help with my pacing. Hydration was spot on but my nutrition was totally off. Since I carried everything on me I packed two flasks of Gu. I didn't realize that it is much more viscous than hammer as it didn't flow well and I had a really hard time eating. I did eventually get some but not as much as I would have liked. A few riders got through here or there the first lap but I was pretty satisfied with my performance so far. On to lap two.

Lap two was nice to relax and I was alone to set my own pace. This worked really well and I had a great time cruising the 2nd 20 mile lap as the singletrack was supreme. I knew that I needed to keep pushing and as long as I got to the 15 mile mark I'd be good. So I kept on pushing and trying to maintain my position and get to the finish. The legs were becoming more flat and I just kept pushing more and getting more power out of them somehow. Once again a few came through but I've been getting more experienced and knew that by the end the cramping game would be playing out. On one of the final climbs I looked up and saw the right side of the trail lined - lined with people cramping and hurting pretty bad. So I kept on, passed them and kept pushing with 4 miles left. With about 3 miles left I saw my teammate Keith up ahead and he seemed to be just wanting to get to the finish. I still had some legs so I told him to jump on and I'd see if I could get us to the finish. I pulled the remaining 2+ miles and got us towards the finishing chute. Little did I know there was a third guy that joined our train and was trying to come up from the rear to finish ahead of us. As true competitors as we all sprinted and my teammate was trying to help block as we both sprinted to the finish. It worked. I finished, then Keith and then the other guy. It was a great way to finish a fun 40 miles!!!

The stats were pretty good even though I know I was nowhere near recovered. I finished in a time of 3:31 and 4th place out of Expert 19-29. All in all it was a good day on fantastic trails. One I'll surely remember for a while.