Indie #2 - The Tucker Classic
I got a strong start working out on the bike this year. February was great. Then came March. Blame it on a sinus infection, or perhaps the constant snow and rain, but whatever the excuse, I worked out on the bike 3 times that month including one trainer ride. Keith told me no problem; I could get in racing shape in a month. I had 3 weeks maybe that would work. I actually remember very clearly knowing I could prep for Junior High Track in one week. It turns out that Junior High Track was a long long time ago. Who knew?
With my euphoric pre race wisdom, I decided I should race single speed. After all it’s all I have ridden for the past 7 months so why not. I even put on my fast new Schwalbe 29 inch Racing Ralph’s for the occasion. I also decided to use a single water bottle cage for the race, but I thought ahead and brought another that I sat at our tent to grab as I went by. After all, even though I hoped it would be shorter, the race could go as long as 90 minutes so I had better prepare.
The race start was perfect. The sun was out, the temp was probably around 60. The road start was even up hill so I wouldn’t be spun out on the single speed. I dropped into the single track at about sixth out of eight single speeders, right behind my old cyclocross friend Jason. We tore it up and before the first half lap was over we were working out way through the general sport class that had started in front of us. I passed Jason and kept reeling in geared riders through the first one and a half laps, then I felt it: Just a little twinge of cramps, but a very bad sign at only one third of the way through the race. I tried to pedal in smooth circles, but by the end of the second lap I knew I was in trouble. I slammed down my NUUN, and a GU, but the cramps were on. I picked up my spare water bottle from Joel and ate my second GU, but it didn’t matter. I was in trouble. On the third lap I cramped up so bad on the little root climb that a spectator asked me if I needed help. I did. He caught my bike and I fell to lean against a tree. My left leg was locked straight. I pushed with all my might on the back of my knee for what seemed like 30 seconds before I could get the darn thing to bend. Finally it did and I thanked the guy, grabbed my bike and started hobbling up the trail. I was in strict mode of walk the hills, spin the flats and downhill sections. It felt like I was alone for a while, then another single speeder I had passed earlier, caught me and blew by. Then on the back side with the berms, Jason caught me and told me to jump on his tail. I tried, but the legs wouldn’t do it. He thought we were on the last lap. I prayed he was right, but I thought I knew better even though we had been going for over 90 minutes already.
I kept seeing Jason in front of me until we hit the little jump coming back into the infield. Something was wrong and he was in the bushes. I had flash back of the Steilacoom cross race where he went down in front of me and broke his arm. It was nasty. I hollered back at him and he said he was ok.
I hit the finish line and indeed had another lap to go. Joel came to my rescue with some more GU and Shot Blocks. I’m not sure Shot Blocks are a good idea when out of liquid, but I would have tried anything at that point.
I limped out the last lap just stubbornly wanting to finish and driven on by the fact that I didn’t want to drop out with my second grade daughter watching. I think I finished 5/8 Sport Single speeders with a time of 1:57, my second longest ride of the year, and my longest race ever.
I’m writing this on Tuesday, and I can barely walk. The stairs are especially treacherous. I need both hands on the railing to safely make it down. Tonight I’m going to try a Cinco de Mayo cure involving lots of limes.
It was a blast to hang out with the team again. What a great bunch. Thanks for all the support!