I have to say this before anything else. It's funny checking out all my racing friends' blogs lately as the season is pretty much over now and it seems the the normal daily blog postings are now down to weekly as we look for topics worth blogging about! I do love this time of year though. I've consumed more beers in the last four weeks than the last four months combined and it's nice to not be stressing over attaining a certain number of training hours in a week, or counting down to a big race and worrying about being physically, mentally and financially prepared!!
Anyways, this past weekend was the big Halloween party weekend and a few of us headed into 'downtown' Squamish for a costume party. Everyone was dressed up and the drinks flowed freely. I lost count after I ran out of fingers and toes, and I know we were the last to leave the bar, because a few of us ended up continuing drinking with a group of complete strangers. I knew it was time for bed when I realized we were partying in a Chieftan Hotel room (you have to come to SQ to know what I am referring to here!) When my alarm went off at 11am the following day I could not peel my head off the pillow.
Why would I set an alarm on a day off after drinking the night prior? I was smart enough to have signed up for the final mountain bike event in Squamish this year, The Lunar Enduro.
On a short looping circuit in Brackendale (neighbouring town) people rode solo or in teams of two and tried to log the highest total laps in six hours. There were about fifty teams of two and a handful of solo's out on the day. The top two positions were pretty much spoken for before the race even began, with top Canadian riders like Kris Sneddon and Neal Kindree pairing up with similar level riders to go head to head on the day.
The event started at 2pm and at 1:30pm, when I finally managed to crawl out of bed, I called my teammate Doug Engstrom,
"Dooouuugg...uhhhh, do you wanna ride solo today?"
"WHAT! Where are you, get yer ass over here!"
"Uhhhh, fiiinnee. Start riding, I'll be there as soon as I can."
"GET OVER HERE!!"
It was a full on effort to think my way through the essentials,
Helmet, gloves, clothes, food, fluids...ummm...shoes...dammit I know I'm forgetting something...bike! Don't forget the bike!!
I was struggling through the door at 2pm when I realized that I had not yet eaten anything. I threw three eggs into a pan, doused them in ketchup and hopped in my car.
When I arrived at the starting area I asked the organizers about how long I might have until Doug showed up, after his second lap (usually you go one for one).
"About five minutes."
"Dammmn. Maybe he'll flat!"
I spent five minutes telling myself that maybe Doug didn't want to race on the day. Maybe we were just going to enjoy the trails and appreciate nature...as Doug came screaming into transition,
"OHH, THANKS FOR SHOWING UP! C'MON, GET GOING, GET GOING, GET GOING!!"
I hoped on the bike and silently suffered my way through my first lap. The course was shorter than previous years and my lap times varied from about seventeen minutes early, to just under twenty minutes in the dark. As I came into the transition area I was happy to be done. I really did think I was going to puke.
"Oh no, you've got one more to make up yet buddy!"
I think I actually started crying at this point, but I put my head down and went hard. After about thirty five minutes of high intensity riding I finally had my first break. I spent it curled up under a tree and 'awaiting the obvious'. I can't force myself into this, so I just sat there hoping it would be quick and painless. Although if I had even touched my tongue I'm sure I would have hurled, I did not. Time ran out on me and I was back on my bike for lap number three.
I spent the entire eighteen minutes counting down to the end of it and another break. Once I made it back I realized that I needed to get some fluids and food into my system. It was everything I had in me to sip back some Carbo-Pro 1200, then I was out for lap number four.
After about five laps of this purgatory I realized we weren't doing too bad for ourselves. We were tied for third, with fellow MOMAR racer Justin Mark and his partner from Nanaimo. This helped perk me up a little bit, but not much as I knew I had absolutely zero energy to waste on anything other than riding!
After lap six the BBQ food came out. Finally, I thought, I can get some hot food into my body. I grabbed a bowl of chili, put a spoonful in my mouth, and took about five minutes to get that single spoonful down. Before I knew it I was back out for lap seven having consumed virtually no food on the day. I knew that I would have to force down the remaining Carbo Pro 1200 after this lap or I would surely cramp up and fall apart. I tagged off to Doug and spent twenty minutes concentrating entirely on consuming 700ml of fluid. Lap eight came way to quickly!
By the end of lap eight we could see that Justin and his partner had pulled ahead of us by one lap. We were now fighting for fourth. I headed out for lap nine, knowing it would be my last. Every inch of my body had been screaming at me all day and I was amazed that I had managed to get though it all! I came into transition after a solid final lap in the dark (with headlamps obviously. We had about 2.5hr of nighttime riding).
"Yeah, wanna beer?"
"Huh, you still have a lap to go!"
"Naw, I think we're settled in fourth, I'm done."
I quickly looked up at the board and it appeared to me that if we stopped now and the team chasing us managed one fast lap, they would beat the six hour cut-off to start their final lap, effectively pushing them ahead of us. Whether right or wrong I made a snap decision.
"I don't think you need to, but good on ya if you think you can!"
With that I was off. I knew that all I had to do was finish this lap and we'd be good for fourth on the day. I still put in a solid effort, just cause I wanted it to be over quickly, and in just under twenty minutes I was finally done for the day. Three hours and about twenty minutes of intense riding was behind me. Doug offered me a beer,
"HELL NO! I'M GOING STRAIGHT BACK TO BED!"
I was still hung over the following day, and was seriously energy deprived on day three! It was only this morning, that I realized I wasn't sick, just shattered, and tonight I enjoyed a great two hour night ride with fifteen other local riders. As the saying goes,