Yesterday was the third installment of the Psycowpath Racing Series and my second race in the series. One thing to know about the race and maybe the only thing that matters is that it was hot as balls... technically hotter than balls to be exact as it was well into the upper 90s without even counting the heat index.
This recap should be fairly short, as was my race, so lets get down to it. I've ridden Lewis & Clark before, maybe twice but possibly only once before, and it's a tough course. There are those who will tell you that the course out at Platte River State Park is the most difficult course in the series. I'd say that they would be correct if they were only talking about the courses in Nebraska, don't get my wrong, Platte is no cake walk. In my opinion L&C is a tougher course, the course itself is basically cut into the side of a bluff, with spectacular views of Omaha if you're so inclined to like such things, so it's mostly roller coaster hills with a few decent punchy climbs and one or two lung busting climbs. Now roller coaster hills probably don't sound half bad to most people because that means it's got a lot of descents to go with the ascents and you'd be correct in that assumption. However unlike Platte's roller coasters that are often more in the open, smoother and less rooty; L&C is none of those things. L&C's descents are all either super steep, off camber, root covered, rock covered or all of the above. I would say that out of the entire course there is only one section I can think of that you aren't either climbing or screaming down a technical descent. Anyway, the race started out on the road with a very unfriendly fat bike climb before we ever got into the single track... that's the picture you see above. Once into the single track all air stops moving, no breeze, no nothing... it's so stagnant in there that you can literally feel the breeze from the mosquito wings and for a change you're glad to have those little parasitic bastards flying around. Going into the single track I felt pretty good, legs were feeling good, I felt hydrated so things were looking good. That heat was crazy though and pushing those 4" tires up and down the never ending hills soon started having me sweating worse than asking a girl to dance at a middle school dance. Thankfully I decided to go with the Camelbak Skyline yesterday so I had plenty of water and even had water bottle full of Gatorade in the bottle cage and I was drinking both like crazy when opportunities presented themselves. Usually the heat doesn't bother me all that much but yesterday it was just sapping all the energy out of me quick like. There are probably a few reasons, or excuses if you want, for why I feel things were as great as they could have been but I won't bore you with those details, sometimes grownup life things happen that keep you from doing bike stuff as much as you like, we will just leave it at that.
Chucking on down the trail, I stared getting slower and slower; I think at one point a old hiker with a walker passed me by like I was standing still... which totally could have been a possibility as I stopped more than once or twice to eat some Bloks and down some Gatorade. More troubling was that I was starting to ride a lot sloppier than I should have been for being only on the first lap, generally I don't start getting that way until I've been riding for a few hours. Well I eventually limped my way through the fist lap and pulled into the pits contemplating a second lap. As I sat there drinking fluids and eating a Cliff Bar thinking about how quickly things had fallen apart on the course, how slow I was moving, how technical the course was and how many mistakes I was making near the end of the lap; I decided it wasn't worth it to go out for a second lap. It's not like I was competing for 1st, I was DFL so 1 lap or 3 I'd still be there and it just didn't make sense to potentially get hurt. As our wise emcee pointed out at the beginning of the race "We are racing in circles for floor pumps". So after one lap I decided to pull the plug on the race for the day, one of the advantages of racing marathon is that the format is as many laps as you can get in within 4 hours (due to the heat they shortened that to 3 hours for this race) so even though I had only finished one lap I still "finished" the race and didn't drop out with a DNF. I finished the fist and only lap around the 50 minute mark so I had plenty of time for a second and possibly third lap but I didn't know if I had the ability to finish more laps and I knew for certain I didn't have the desire. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't really consider myself a racer. I know what you're thinking, for not being a racer you seem like you happen to enter more than a few races. That would be a true statement but just because you enter a race doesn't make you a racer, not even close. I have passion for things on two wheels and really like riding bicycles and at times I've been know to be somewhat quick on them but I don't have the desire to turn myself inside out in order to compete at a high level in bicycle races. Nothing about that aspect of racing sounds even remotely fun to me. I do love the atmosphere, the community and the joy of pushing yourself to ride sections you haven't been able to ride before and I even enjoy pushing myself to get better and faster on a particular course but for me there has to be a balance between fun and fast. Plus someone has to be trail fodder and give something for those super fast guys to figure out how to get around.