Saturday, February 12, 2011

Heritage 6 Hour

I'm going to start referring to Heritage as Hurtitage. Every time I race there it hurts. Maybe it's because they always have the first race of the season there. I don't know. It hurts.

It started with the sun.


That sun burned out my retinas for about an hour of the hour-and-a-half drive over. I also got semi-lost in Watkinsville, again. Not as lost as previous excursions to Heritage, but lost nonetheless.

When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by Tim Winters, and then like 3 seconds later realized I'd forgotten to get cash out of the ATM. Weee. He tried to spot me, but didn't have enough on him. I knew there was a gas station back North in whatever town I'd come through, but I was pretty sure there was another one just to the South, so I went that way. Yep. Rainbow Mart. Unfortunately their ATM was out of commission, so I ended up buying 3 candy bars with my debit card so I could get $25 cash with each purchase. Creative solution? Yes it was. Now I even have 3 candy bars. Win-win.

When I got back to Heritage, there were like 3 times as many cars and I couldn't get the spot I had before. As luck would have it, I ended up parking next to Gerry McClung. Or is it Jerry? I never learned how to spell it and I'm way too lazy to look it up. I'll have to ask him.


It might not seem blogworthy that I parked next to him, we've ended up next to each other without trying almost every time we've been at the same race. Fun fact about Gerry/Jerry... At the Fool's Gold mudfest last year where everybody had to buy new rotors, brake pads and in some cases, new forks, he was like "yeah, it was pretty muddy" and he's still riding those same parts today. Mud parts before him like the Red Sea before Moses. He's mud-Moses. I hope that's not offensive.

The race itself was rough. Hard on the kid. I won't pull out the scroll of excuses for having a hard time, but rest assured, it's long. The next race should be a lot better, but I digress.

At the line, it was in the low 30's. It was supposed to warm up, so I was dressed a little cold. At Heritage, you do a parade lap, so we did that, and it felt fast. My chest hurt like heartburn. It would be a long day.

Lap 1 alternated between short sprints and trackstands in long, backed up lines. Everybody I was racing against was out in front of me because I was slow on the parade lap. No big deal though. This race was all about jumping in, and also about having fun, not about performing well. At least that was how I rationalized it in my mind. The whole lap was one long conga line. There's one super steep hill at Heritage, but they left it out. It was just as well though, as it would have been horribly slippery.

Lap two was weird. I realized I'd forgotten to stretch, so right at the exit of the start-finish area, I stopped and stretched for like 30 seconds. Tim came riding up... "Dave, you OK" I bet I looked weird. Apparently he had been behind me. But, he was in the singlespeed class, so fat lot of good that did. They built an awesome new section of trail out there, but it had about a quarter inch of the most slippery mud in the universe on it for about a mile. It's fortunate I did those snow and ice rides, because those skills were operative. I stayed with Tim for most of lap 2 and got past him near the end. That's not because I'm strong now though, but rather because, as unprepared as I was, he was even more unprepared. Actually, a lot of us North Georgians were like that. It's been a rough winter for cycling. Lap 2 was fun, I suddenly felt strong, and for some reason there was very little traffic. But it was beating me up as Heritage is prone to do. I started to get the one-with-the-woods hippy groove going though and I wasn't fighting the trail any more. It was good. I lost Tim in the transition area at the end of the lap.

Lap three was where it all started to fall apart. My legs wanted to cramp. I had to manage that; lots of spin-to-win. Spin, spin, spin. I had plenty of energy, but my legs wouldn't take it. My drivetrain started going all HAL 9000 on me too: "What are you doing, Dave?" and it declined my orders. I had to stop to pee too.

Lap four was pure screaming hell; nothing but cramp management, the whole lap. Again, I had to stop and pee and Bill Riddle rolled up, stopped and was all "Dave, you OK" (like Tim). My legs were, at that point, bogarting all my blood for some reason, and left me with some epically emasculating shrinkage. Good thing there were no ladies around. Just before that, some guy had gotten behind me for a while with an iPod and either some speakers or cranked up earbuds. He was rocking an Ultimate 80's mix including "Jack 'n' Diane" and "Crumbling Down" I was digging it, but unfortunately I could not hang. I followed Bill around for a while and lost him again in the pits at the end.

Lap five Bill caught me again. Apparently he'd fallen back in the pits. The whole trail had dried out and packed in except for two spots, which are wet on a good day. I don't remember what happened to Bill. I think he rode away from me. Norma passed me, right on cue. She almost always passes me in lap 5. My legs were less crampy, but my energy level was way down. I half-wanted to quit, but I forgot about for a minute while rolling through the transition area and only remembered again when I was sufficiently committed to the lap not to bail on it.

Actually lap 6 wasn't so bad. I was slow, but my legs felt ok. I felt a long way from last year's zero-cramp, all energy, 6-hour pedal crush rides. Maybe later this year. One of the ladies lapped me. Shey Linder lapped me. All done.

At some point, I'd scraped a tree, and then several laps later, scraped the same tree, with the same spot on my arm. That was the only issue though. No mechanicals even, except for my Hal 9000 drivetrain. It worked me over though. Heritage is bumpy, it's uphill both ways, and there are a bunch of steep descents with technical stuff at the bottom and steep climbs up the other side. It's fun to race there though, and though I was tired and sore, I was also satisfied, which hasn't happened in a while.

I ended up with a fairly undignified 7th place out of 9 in my class. You gotta start somewhere though. I was first listed as 5th, but it was just preliminary, and there were some timing errors. So, 7th.

Norma got 1st. Emily got 2nd, I think. Tim got 1st. Shey and his son did a 2 man team and got 1st too. All my friends are fast.

The night before I'd heard that old-school BOR rider Ed Baltes was going, and it actually made me excited because I haven't seen him in a long time and he's a really cool guy.

 Eddie B's Truck

I saw him when I was coming around on lap 2, I think, and I went over and talked to him for a while after the race. He's working at the bike shop at Kennesaw State and working with their cycling team. They were all out there doing a team 9-hour. Apparently if they do trail work, they get points, which eventually equate to money somehow. Maybe I can get them up to Bull/Jake next month. I was really cool to see Eddie. It's been too long.

I visited with everybody in the world, watched the awards, bailed and then realized I'd never turned in my timing chip.

 Timing Chip

"Treat your timing chip like gold..." It's not good to lose one, or not turn it in. Fortunately, I was only about a mile away when I realized. It was awkward though, driving back and walking around after having told everybody bye 20 minutes earlier.

The sun was no kinder to me on the return trip.


Darn sun.

I grabbed some dinner at Fox's Pizza and ended the evening, sitting on the couch watching Phineas and Ferb on TV with the kids. Ahhhh.

I guess technically it didn't end there because I'm typing this up now, but you get the idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment