Monday, March 08, 2010
Gran Fondo "Race" Report
Race goes in quotes because it really wasn’t a race, nor was it the race I wanted it to be.
Lately, with the ass of weather SoCal has been having (I don’t want to hear it from anyone who lives outside of CA), I feel like it’s Me versus that bitch called Mother Nature every weekend. Hard Ride? I win. Mountain repeats in the cold/mist? Ryan goes up 2-0. This weekend, she throttled me to the ground literally.
About 30 minutes before the race start, the rain started. Then it increased a bit. Then, it started to downpour. Already thinking of my race report (I’m such a nerd), I figured I could just copy my IMLP Bike RR because it was that bad. Need a pic of what that was like for IMLP? Check it:
But this time, it was 50 degrees and windy. Trying to laugh at Ma Nature, I started to cheer and yell “Bring it on” in hopes of psyching myself and others up. This shit was crazy, but I was “used to it”.
As we started, we got out from behind downtown buildings, and I started shivering. Shivering so bad to the point where my front wheel was shaking with my arms. We crossed the Coronado bridge, and got onto the strand, where hell froze over. It was windy, my teeth were chattering faster than my heart was beating, and I couldn’t feel my hands. It was then I realized this 101 mile “race” was over. If one has no strength in their fingers, how can one take in calories? I tried to squeeze my water bottle – nothing. Unpeeling a bonk breaker happened with my teeth. As soon as saw the first arrow to turn left for the 32 mile option, I took it, along with a group of other people. The combination of cold, wet and wind was just too much for me. I wish I could have been like these guys, but I just didn't have it in me.
We commiserated, then the “group” filtered out, and I was chatting with some dudes from velonews.com, in town from Boulder, where it was 58 and sunny. We approached some rail road tracks that I hadn’t seen before – they were at about 45 degrees to the road – not the usual 90 degrees.
I made a mental note, and got over the first track, but the second was a little wider, and before I knew it I was getting acquainted with the concrete, and taking out one of the guys from Boulder. I got up, and with a quick check – nothing seemed broken on me, or the bike. Some scrapes on the elbow and hip, along with some on the handlebars and rear skewer. Good to go! Boulder guy was pretty calm, with statements like “I saw this happening, so I laid it down lightly”. Laid it down lightly? Was this guy a seasoned vet in bike crashes? “I’ve gone down about 7 times in crits, so this was nothing.” Phew.
At any rate, I got back to town, bypassed the finish line, and went straight to my car. I tried to unbuckle my helmet, but couldn’t as I had no strength in my fingers! I forced the straps looser, and literally just pulled it over my head. I quickly got into warm, dry clothes, and sat in the car and warmed up until Michelle got back.
We promptly went to the VIP (free upgrade!) food tent, where I put down 2 plates of salad, 2 plates of pasta, espresso, presecco, and deserts.
I have never worked so little and ate so much. We commiserated with numerous people who bagged the 50 and 101 mile options. It amazed me that so many cyclists were trying to serve themselves food in cold, wet cycling gear, while shivering uncontrollably.
Could I have done something different about the outcome? Yeah, probably. But those lessons have been noted, and I am moving on.
"It's about the process. It doesn't matter what you do tomorrow and it doesn't matter what you did yesterday. It's about today, and making today count. That's especially true in training, but it's the same mentality that I carry into racing. Focus on the task at hand, not on the finish line, or the next part of the race, but what it is that is right there in front of you in the moment."
Ciò è la vita!