Posted on 7:17 AM by Schottler
My car is spending another week getting fixed, so I headed down to STL with Best and Beans to race marathon. I've only raced here once before and I never checked the course map, well, because I never do. Apparently it was quite different than last year.
The race started up a giant climb called 'Lone Wolf,' I was on the front at the start and began riding away. At the top of the climb I had a pretty big lead and began the quick turny descent back to the bottom. Here it was flat double track that you can easily motor through at full gas, which is what I did. A little bit down the trail there was an arrow indicating which direction the race goes, which I thought was pointing straight, which I guess could be interpreted either way, maybe I was already cross-eyed. Anyway, there was no tape up keeping me from going left and lots of tape on the right, so I went left. I stayed on the gas, went up some gravel switchbacks, had a feeling I wasn't on course anymore. So, I stopped for a minute or two and waited. I heard some voices in the woods and figured the racers were coming so I took off again. A ways down the trail there was a T with no markers... shit. Not on course, turn around, full gas.
After a long ride back to the badly marked corner I was on course. I did however have to climb over the tape to get back on the race course... someone must have seen me going flying through and fixed it. I spent at least 13 minutes going the wrong way and I was stuck behind all of the beginner and marathon classes.
All I had in my head was to stay calm, don't crash, ride smooth, pedal hard, and I had 2.5 hours to catch the leaders. First lap ended up being over 40 minutes, way behind the leaders. I was getting time gaps throughout the race going from 13 to 8 to 5 to 2 minutes. The following laps were consistent 28 minutes. I thought I was going to make it through lap 6 under the 3 hour cutoff so I could head out for a 7th lap. Nope. I came in at 3:00:20, no 7th lap. Apparently the leaders came through 2-3 minutes before the cutoff. I was ready for another lap and I have no doubt I would have caught them. Any Gibbs ended up taking the win with Mike Best coming in 2nd, very smooth and fast rides for them!
When it comes down to it, I think I pushed myself harder chasing them down than I would have 10 minutes off the front. So, it was better training. Still very irritating, but that's how racing goes. Here's some Garmin stuff if you care: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/97981808
Next weekend racing will depend on my stupid car. If I have a car, I am driving to KC and will probably do the Sunflower Games. If no car, I might be able to find a ride down to race Brommelsiek. I'd like to do the shorter expert race to get in some real high end intensity.