How to win an endurance race:
How to not win an endurance race:
- Ride Hard
- Settle Into a Steady Rhythm
- Wreck Your Body (don't eat much)
- Force Yourself to Take a Break to Avoid Vomitting
At the Cowbell Challenge I took the latter approach with the intentions of winning. It was working out well at first. I was up front for the majority of the first two laps and took the King of the Mountain (KOM) by outsprinting Nat at the last 3 of 5 checkpoints. On the third lap, I settled into my own pace due to the heat. I thought that this strategy would have me riding strong and steady start to finish, but there were some intermediate steps which I forgot about... eating. The heat had me thirsting for just plain water and electrolytes between the 4th and 7th hours of the race, and the notion of ingesting food wasn't high priority. The bulk of my calorie intake had been coming from a GU every half hour or so (recommended nutrition for XC races), and the 100 calories I got from each one was just a tease to my degenerating body. By 5 o'clock (the race started at 10:00) my body was sick of eating itself and I had to take a 10 minute breather to avoid throwing up. I munched on some papaya enzymes (works like magic) to soothe my tummy before hopping back on my Carbon Scalpel for more punishment. I felt great for another hour and a half, but continued to ignore the demands of my starving muslces. I rolled into the pits for the final time around 7:30, just in time to mount my lights. Instead of doing some night laps, I rode the camping chair for the remainder of the race as I painfully watched as my finishing spot moved from 4th to 7th. More stomach issues. At the time, I hadn't realized how little I was eating, but it became apparant when I noticed how loose the sleeves on my jersey were. On a normal day the sleeves conform to the shape of my arms, but after the race I could easily slide in two fingers to fill the space void of myself. Lesson lived, lesson learned. From now on I will always eat a creme pie or pb&j even when I am not hungry. The podium rolled out as follows: Josh Tostado - 1st, Nat Ross - 2nd, and Chris J rode an outstanding race to beat out Ernesto for 3rd. As I intended to use this race to guage my fitness for 24 hour nationals, I need to do the following to prepare myself: Ride more, race less. I've said it, and now it's time that I follow through. After taking a rest week, it will be time to endure some long days in the saddle. The next race I plan on attending will be the XC nationals at Mt. Snow, followed by the Wilderness 101. This might be the longest break I've taken from racing in 3 years, but it will pay off in the end. I have some unfinished business to take care of after DNF'ing at 24 hour Worlds last year, so being in top shape and racing smart at 24 hour nationals will be key.