The course? I think I realized the magnitude of the course the next day sitting, looking out over Sebago lake. To ride around Sebago on the roads is about 42 miles. So this ride was liking riding around Sebago taking only trails and going to the top of every hill around it's perimeter except the hills were higher. 63 miles is a long offroad course!
|Chilling in the campground the night before.|
|We got to preview the course. (see below)|
|And some of the more amazing trails around the outdoor center.|
|The view right before bed|
|Fresh and Ready to Go|
|Looking at the Bigelow Mountain Range From the Top of Sugarloaf|
|Kelly met me on the course somewhere.|
Update: Some pics are available. I don't own them so I won't post them here but I can tell you where to look in case you wanted to buy them ;)
We rode through some of the hiking trails in the Bigelow Preserve. There were a ample rest stops, all well stocked with friendly people. After the next stop came the 5 mile climb up a gravel road in the sun. At one point I looked down to see that I was managing a whole 4MPH and thought to myself "I'm going to be doing this for over an hour". It was also around this point where I realized that the pickles I had at the last stop, although great for salt replenishment were making me burp pickle flavor for miles...so I left them on the side of the road. Mental note, no more pickles.
From the top of the climb (what we were on top of, I'm not sure) there was some very remote and relatively easy single and doubletrack riding for quite a while intermixed with muddy spots and the occasional water crossing that helped to clean off me and the bike. This is about the point where my body started revolting against me. Although my muscles still had energy to pedal they were no longer in my control. I started getting leg cramps on the inside of my thighs and other places. These aren't the kind of cramps that you can push through but the kind that can lock your leg up so it no longer moves and you have a solid painful clenched muscle. The only remedy was to get off the bike, if possible, and ease them out. The cramps are aggravated by stressing the muscles more than they are currently being stressed which includes the act of dismounting so if it was not a climb I just slowed to a crawl and kept my legs moving.
At the next rest stop I started popping salt tabs and bananas to try to get my electrolytes in check. After a few miles it seemed like my muscles were mostly under my own control again, mostly. The next 10 miles were OK with only the occasional cramp. At the last stop I popped a few more salt tabs, ate as much as I could hold and pressed on for the last 6 miles of "Bliss" (according to the rest stop people). "Bliss" was some windy singletrack through bar width trees that normally would have been really fun riding but required more concentration than I really wanted to give this far into the race. The other half of "Bliss" was the rail trail that was pretty blissful but a slight but constant uphill. I'll suspend with the rest of the race details.
If I had a nickel for every time I heard the word "cramps", well, I'd probably only have about $2-$3 so that's not a really good money making scheme...But people were cramping up left and right and either slowing to a crawl or dropping out of the race.
|I was more covered in mud than this but the river crossings cleaned me off.|
Distance: 63 Miles (Time corrected for 1-2 lost miles)
Fluids Consumed: Over 3 gallons, based on approx 3 fillings of a 120oz hydration pack & 20oz bottle with silk amino acids, Gatorade, coke or anything else with sugar & caffeine
Food Consumed: As much as I thought I could hold including 3 power bars, 2 bananas, 2 gels, 2 pickles, -2 pickles, PB&J and more.
Calories Burned: I'd estimate right around 6000 based on a little under 800/hour for me at that pace.
Salt Tablets: 5
Weight Loss: About 7 lbs, 5 are still missing over a day later.
Equipment: The bike (GT Sensor 9er Elite) did awesome! I was a little concerned that I was entering a race of this magnitude with this much climbing with a bike that was a little on the heavy side.
|Second Place (Out of 2)|
Results: I'd have to say I did really good overall. The novice class was too small to really tell place but if the novice and sport categories are combined I would have come in 8th out of 20. I'm not sure if my slight re-route improved my overall time because I didn't have to ride a part of the course (it was a flat part so not too energy sapping) or if it hurt my overall time because I waited for people that were going slower than I was to make sure I was riding with the right pace group. Overall, I'd call it a wash.
Soundtrack(In My Head): The Zac Brown Band: On The Day That You Die
"On the day that I die,I wasn't sure if that was because I was living live to it's fullest, or if I was going to be found dead in the bottom of a ravine with a mountain bike still clipped to my feet, or if it was because I just saw The Zac Brown band last weekend. Except he didn't play that song. It wouldn't have been so bad if I could remember all the words.
I wanna say that I,
Was a man who really lived and never compromised.
And when I've lived out my days,
Until the very end,
I hope they find me in my home, a guitar in my hands.
I hope they find me in my home with my guitar in my hands"
So, am I going to do it again? Most likely. Oh, and am I going to ride to work on Monday? Heck Ya! It's supposed to be a beautiful day for a ride!
(Post a comment if you made it through the whole blog and didn't just look at the pictures)