26 June, 2010

WinterPark's XC Super Loop (w/Kenny's Garmin info)

Our bikes are parked in front of a Starbucks and a vendor selling doughnuts (not pictured) at the village

Took off again with longtime teammate/complicitor Kenny L. to do the the second XC race in the WinterPark series this morning after downing one and one-third buckwheat pancakes and two espressos.
Kenny's Garmin said it was 19.9 mile endeavor and the race description said 1,883' of climbing. A devastating urge to pee didn't wreck my start/stage time today! Nosirree! A shared, cycling idiosyncrasy with Kenny and I is that we find wearing Camelbacks an annoyance in XC events less than 2 hours long. There's nothing more cumbersome than racing with three pounds of water, fabric blocking the back's potential evaporative cooling surfaces on a hot day, and a securing chest strap to keep your breathing restricted and binding your shoulders adding to the onerosity your brain has to deal with on top of racing. For today's contest we carry our pump(s) and food in our jersey pockets with both water bottle cages mounted and full (for me: one, water only; the other, Cliff electrolyte drink); thereby looking less Dromedarian and more tetrapod in spandex. Speaking of which the course was randomly littered with ejected water bottles on the terminal velocity downhill sections.
Unlike road staging events my stomach's not all full of butterflies but a habit I picked up (from road staging) is to count the peeps in my category to distract my mind. There's quite a bit of new bodies today as well as three or four racers I recognize from last week's event. From my rudimentary counting system (with my shoes on) I estimated 40+ bipeds. Ite den. Time to show 'em how Natural Grocers roll (don't get too excited)! The announcer counts us down from 5 seconds...4...3...2...1...BLAM! Up we go, marching the middle chainring, momentarily on the fire road, sharing the same route as last week's hillclimbing event. Ahhh the pain of pushing it at altitude and the not-so-fresh feeling of doing the hillclimb route brings about Déjà vu (why, "Hello dere."). Once we roll onto the singletrack it brings in a case of Jédà vu (a strange feeling that his has never happened before). I pass three other people on the climb to the top of this particular stretch of the course then the screaming, somewhat rooty/rocky downhill begins. I'm at a disadvantage here because four people pass me back on their dual suspension rigs. What I remembered from this course three years ago is that there's a couple of flat, long sections where packs can form and can cruise into the (sometimes vicious) headwinds. If you're solo your screwed. There was a creek crossing before the flats where I fell victim of a classic case of "monkey see, monkey do". The person I was tailgating rammed it through the taller-than-bottom-bracket-height waters and biffed it. I did a copycat biff too and had to bust out my left hand, tripod style to prevent my upper body from getting soaked as well. Nothing like the feeling of ice-cold run-off water from melting snowpack completely soaking your chamois and the contents it's supporting. Mmmm,mmmm good y'all. Woke me up. When that water touched my junk it made me wanna sing The Hills Are Alive (from the Sound of Music-great movie) in falsetto.
Fast forward to the flats and I see our the tailgunners of our lead pack rolling some 100 meters or so ahead of us. So the trio I'm-feeling our sense of urgency to catch 'em-start a rotating paceline. Well until a doofus in our group attacks us disrupting our flow (he'd punch it, get a 10m lead, die in the headwind and sit back in!). After another of his attacks, I motioned to the guy behind me to let doofus extraordinaire go. He built up a 20 meter gap and the picosecond he faded, I punched it with the other guy in tow and we slingshotted past him on the opposite side of the fire road in such a way that he would have to sprint like Djamolidine Abdoujaparov to get in our slipstream. Later beeeyatch. After a while, I noticed my fellow escapee wasn't coming around me anymore to trade leads so--it is a race afterall--I accelerated in a way that it would be uncomfortable for him to half-wheel me in this headwind but also not putting me too far into the red. This allowed me to hopscotch solo to the next group of 4 (a mish-mash of other categories). As we got closer, the remnants of the lead group still dangling in front of us started attacking each other (damn roadies, oh wait, I'm one too!). No one in the lead group could ever break clear and in fact they rolled with even more ferocity once they were done attacking each other. Like my last trio, this group of four (plus me) weren't taking turns up front except for a rider I'll describe as stout, and me. After we traded pulls we simultaneously get the idea that these three are dead weight. At the slightest downhill part of the fireroad, he beats me to the punch, and accelerates after slapping his chain on the large(st chaingring)/small (cogset). I copy his gear ratio but I have to stand on my Times with all my weight to catch his draft. He's rolling Jan Ullrich-like, turbo dieseling, picking up more speed. He and I trade pulls but alas our speeding leaders are out of sight and diving back into the downhill singletrack for the return trip.
The last section has an annoying little climb and I pass people again but at this point I don't care what category they're in as evidenced by their calf markings (S44=sport 44 year-old). Although it does stroke my ego when I pass a young 'un (10+ years younger than me).
I know I'm at least mid-pack in my category. Again in the slamming downhill I get passed by 4 dual boingers (different categories) before the last singletrack to the finish line. This section's pretty rocky and rollercoaster-like and the dualboingers are pedaling where I have to stand and push down on my legs and arms to keep the momentum/inertia flowing, uninterrupted by braking. I dig my hardtail even though it has its limitations...I keep this position because I can't even outsprint anybody because the next guy's 30 seconds ahead. There's no one behind me to ninja past me, no need to sprint to the line. After repeated looks behind me to know it's safe, like a poseur, I zip up my jersey and coast in.
I took 14th out of 49 in mine (no money...again!). I do believe my legs are feeling the signs of aging (negative rationalizing).
Whereas my homey, Kenny he took 4th out of 32 in his category (money...again!). First time this season my glutes actually had some pain (did a buttload of sitting--no pun intended--while climbing).
With all this self-inflicted pain (lower back, triceps, quads/hammies...etc.) from the minimalistic hardtail resulting in endorphin release and quasi self-actualization on a bike, I feel like a cycling ascetic. In Lotus position: "Ommmmmmmmmm....."

Kenny's Garmin updates:
- 18.36 miles (30 km)
- 2,321 ' of climbing (707 m)
- painful

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