Saturday, March 13, 2010

Heritage 6 Hour

Man, man, man. Heritage. First race this season. Usually I jump in at Snake Creek Gap, but we all know how that went. So... Heritage.

To get to Heritage, you have to get up early.


I always go the wrong way, and I did again today. But I did get there, and so did some friends.

Travis and Michelle.

 Travis and Michelle

Sadie the dog.




Great photo there, eh?

Last year, the whole 6/12 hour series was run by Dirty Spokes. This year, Dirty Spokes is doing one or two of them, but the rest are run by Chainbusters. Kenny, of Chainbusters:


Yeah, I know how to take a good picture.

All my warm weather BOR jerseys are worn out: stretched out, busted pockets, snagging zippers, holey and thread bare. Today I tried just wearing my base layer and shorts. It was in the low 50's but sunny and, as it turned out, plenty warm. It may have looked a little weird, but I figure if I can lose some weight, I can pull it off.

The parade lap was lazy and I got into the woods in good position. A few minutes in, I passed Travis, standing on the side of the trail with a busted chain. Yeah, I guess it is the Chainbusters series. I settled in behind Lisa Randall and came to a terrible realization. Last year at Tribble Mill, I passed a girl in a really bad spot and almost hit her. It was really bad, I think about it every time I pass someone now and I'm a lot less aggressive these days. I didn't realize it was Lisa though, until today. She was wearing the same kit and yeah, it was definitely her. It's weird, I've ridden with her since then. I didn't realize it was her and I don't think she realized it was me. Sorry Lisa. (Update. pfft. now that I look back at it, it couldn't have been her last year because she was having a baby and didn't even race the series. Well, whoever it was, same team, same kit, looked a lot like her. Sorry to whoever you are.)

After all that, I had no intention of passing her, but it didn't matter, I still had winter lungs and half a lap in, I started sliding back.

The course layout was way different than any other race there. Heritage is usually uphill both ways. The way they routed it today, it was only 7 miles and there were several long, rolling descents; a totally different feel. Still, it was a hand-slammer and every ten feet you had to put out some little burst of effort; yanking over something, bumping up or down some crazy staircase of roots, diving in and out of a gully, or who knows, some other nightmare. And... since it rained all week, the course was damp and every root wanted to yank my front wheel. Challenging doesn't come close to describing it.

Lap one was fun. On lap two I passed a bunch of riders. At the end of lap three I started getting twinges in my left leg. Come on! Plenty of energy and no legs to put it into. Lap four was cramp management. At the end of the lap, I asked for the time. 1:08. I'd really expected it to be later. 4 laps in 3 hours. I could potentially do 4 more, but I was already winding down and I couldn't imagine doing 4 more. 3 more, maybe. Lap five was more cramp management, which meant really throttling back the effort. I'd forgotten to lube my chain too, and it was making some crazy noises. Lap six I lubed my chain and reapplied the chamois butt'r. The cramps were gone, but so was my energy. Travis caught me about a mile from the end. I pulled in with 52 minutes remaining, but my last 2 laps were 58 and 60 minutes respectively. No more for me.

All said and done, I came in 5th out of, I think, 16 riders. That'll do.

I spent the next two hours coughing cobwebs out of my lungs. All day, I never felt great. Sometimes it feels like you've got iron legs, crushing the pedals all day. I never got that feeling. In fact I had a hard time even taking a deep breath. Better luck next time.

Right before the awards, we were treated to a rainbow.

 Heritage Rainbow

Most everybody I know placed or came close. Travis managed 9th, even after having to go back to the car to fix his chain and losing almost 45 minutes on his first lap. I think it was 45. Something like that.

Me, Travis and Michelle bailed back to the ATL for some Grant Central Pizza and were again, treated to a rainbow.

 East Atlanta Rainbow

I think Yargo is next. Not sure when exactly, but I should be able to get a little fitness upgrade from some group rides and commutes between now and then. Here's hoping.

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