Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Despicable Double - Part 2

On to day 2 was the Bearscat 50. With no sleep, lots of soreness from the previous day at the Mohican 100, and for some reason a lot of motivation I lined up for the start. There are a LOT of racers on the starting grid and I had 90% of them beating me this day. I figured that riding hard for 8 hours and the overall fatigue would leave me with nothing from the start and stay that way, or become worse as the day went on. I had visions of curling up into a ball and crying in the woods before even finishing the first lap. Who knows what would actually happen. So at the starting line they had signs for anticipated finish groups and what the hell, I put myself in the first group. If I was fresh I belonged there but I had no idea what the first hard pedal stroke had in store for me.

Off we went. The horn sounded and I put the pedals down hard and cleared the first couple tight turns clean and ramped it up. To the point where I was passing people, and more people, and a few more before the first tight singletrack. I actually had some legs - really?!?!?! Through the first trail I was probably sitting in the top 20 and happy just to be there and pedaling. The really rough stuff popped up and I rode it clean and was feeling good. Much better than cramping and vomiting like the day prior. I figured it wouldn't last so I'll keep on the gas and see when I completely crack. It had to be soon. I went back and forth with a couple of riders but hit each hill hard and drilled each somewhat flat section. What the hell I still had some energy... Finished lap 1 and then had the realization that I might actually finish this race. The first lap didn't hurt that bad but I figured the second lap would be much worse.

On to lap 2 I pedaled steady and rode some of the sections better with less traffic this time. All along still waiting for my legs to literally fall off. I was still riding well and feeling decent but the wall was dangling in front of me that I was supposed to hit. I just wanted to get to the end of this lap so I would be finished. Then I could eat, drink, and get off this stupid bike. 150 rough dirt miles in 2 days is a hard thing to agree to in theory, but it's even harder to actually get on your bike and complete. As I feared the legs were achey but every time I dug deep, they kept responding. Wow...I was really impressed. The last section I dreaded was a washed out, baby headed climb that was a couple of miles before the end. If I could clear that the race was pretty much done. It's not super tough but it required that you dig deep and punch through it. If I was going to cramp or crack this was it. I see the section just ahead and even better, I see a fading rider just starting it. He bobbled, I rode steadily past him and then punched it over the top and kept on it. I did NOT want to leave this to a sprint finish. My legs would definitely not have that in them.

The effort worked as I killed the last downhill and drilled the pavement to the finish line. The rider I passed was not in sight and I didn't have to sweat out a sprint. I pedaled as hard as I could to cross the finish line in 4:28 and end the hardest weekend of racing I'd ever done. 100 miles of dirt in 8:09 followed by 50 miles of bumpier dirt in 4:28 the following day. It was a feat that I didn't know was possible and am very proud that I completed and actually did pretty well. I was 17th in the Mohican 100 and 14th in the Bearscat 50. Two top 20's in these races back to back really reminded me that my body can perform pretty well in some pretty demanding circumstances. What a weekend and it would be more than a few weeks to recover from this one.