Posted on 5:48 PM by Schottler
Green Beans and I drove down to Hot Springs Arkansas for the first round of the USAC Pro Ultra-Endurance Tour (UET). It's a 6 hour race on pure, awesome, dry, and super flowy single track, 10 mile laps. After a delicious breakfast at The Pancake Shop, it was time to get going.
A little over 160 people were there to race, of all skill ranges. Some strong riders were there, including Manuel Prado of Sho-Air Specialized, the Costa Rica national champion.
It was a Le Mans start with an initial extended lap on the road up a small climb to break up the field. I was right at the front when Prado rode by and I hopped on his wheel and we went 1-2 into the single track. After the first climb we were riding away from everyone else and continued to add to the lead, quickly. We rode together the whole first lap and I got to learn the secret lines of the course.
Going into lap 2 Manny told me to take the lead, I was somewhat hesitant, considering this was the 2nd time I have ridden single track since October. But I took the lead and pulled through the whole 2nd lap. Our first 2 laps were smoking fast, it was an awesome experience being able to ride with him. I was comfortable with the pace, but 6 hours is a long time... and this was my 2nd ever 6 hour race.
Lap 3 Manny took the lead again and we continued flying. About half way through the lap (a little over 2 hours in) I bobbled an uphill switchback and had to unclip. It appeared that Manny attacked and I was in chase mode, and not closing the gap. At this point I found a hard effort I was comfortable with and that I knew I could hold. Coming through into lap 4 I was told I was 30 seconds back.
Chase, chase, chase. I wasn't making up much time. My goal at this point was to ride fast, not cramp, and finish the race strong. Coming in the next laps of the race, Manny's support crew started helping me out, doing bottle and food hand-ups, which I REALLY appreciated, awesome sportsmanship!
Lap 5 a bystander told me I was only a minute back, that didn't seem right, I was sure Manny was WAY ahead of me. At this point I was having trouble keeping food down, felt like vomiting, and was getting a headache. This feeling stayed the rest of the race, I was pretty much in la-la land. My lap times were slowing down and I was just getting worried of being caught by 3rd place.
Lap 6 sucked, I ate half a banana and felt sick, so I quit eating and just continued to down water. Lap 7 was the last lap and I was super relieved everything has gone relatively smoothly with no cramps or other pains, so I was able to try to put in a fast final lap.
I finished 67.4 miles of pure singletrack in 5:55. Manny finished in 5:51. I was sure he was at least 15 minute ahead of me, I had no idea it was that close. Super strong ride on his part, it was an amazing experience to get to race wheel to wheel with him for that long. I ended up finishing about 20 minutes ahead of 3rd. Motivation level is through the roof. Here is the Garmin data, average heart rate of 166 with it lowering lap after lap, a good indication of fatigue. I would have probably died with an 8th lap.
MTB-Spa City 6 Hour by jcschottler at Garmin Connect - Details
I am currently 2nd in the 4 race series. The next is Firecracker 50 over the 4th of July in Breckenridge, and way sold out. I need to get in to do it, for the 4th year in a row. But, a new goal for my year is to finish the USAC Pro UET series top 10 overall.
Manuel Prado and myself:
Unorganized podium shot:
Awards + a nice payout:
I got 5 hours of sleep Saturday night after the drive back and tried to help Junior in the Mizzou TTT Sunday morning. It hurt, bad. I had no sustained power, it was 320 watts for 30 minutes, not where it should be. But, that was expected. Time to eat and sleep.