The course was three 22 mile laps. We were given the green light and we were off. The lead pack started with at least five, but by the end of the first lap it was down to three including myself. I was doing a good job of not letting the two others pull away until the middle of the second lap, about halfway through the race. I could really feel the burn in my legs and they were pulling away on double track sections. I was just a little faster on the singletrack descents, but that wasn't enough and they still got just outside of my eyesight. I pulled out a reserve Honey Stinger that I kept handy just in case I needed a little extra calorie intake for times like these. After a little bit I felt a little better and was determined to pull them in. That's when lady luck decided to blow on my dice. I came up on one of the guys, Chad Edwards, off his bike messing with his chain. It must have been bad because he never finished. I hate to see that. Next time Chad, next time. After I saw that I knew the other guy no longer had a wheel to hang onto, and I upped the pace to chase him down. I finally caught a glimpse of him and knew it was only a matter of time. I did finally catch him... exactly at the moment he discovered he had a flat. I was about as disappointed as he was and told him to fix it quick. I believe that racer was Stephen Shepherd. I feel your pain Steve.
I was in my lonesome at the end of lap two and switched out my water bottles before the final lap. That's when I saw a lone racer with a calf marked with the same age group as me. It was like he appeared out of no where. Baffled, I asked what lap he was on. Lap three... well crap. And then he was off with me in his dust. I tried to catch up, but my legs weren't having it. I spent the first half of the lap doing my best to push hard on every hill and flat hoping I'd hit a burst of strength during the last hour or so like I usually do. The burst did come, and shortly after so did the stomach cramps. I had planned for a 5.5 hour fueling plan, but for some reason the course was a lot faster than the previous year. The Honey Stinger may have pushed my calories over what my body could take (it was a delicious mistake at least) after I sucked down my bottle full of Hammer Nutrition product (Hammer Gel, Perpetuem, and Heed). Only minutes to go, I kept pushing hard through the pain. I was in food baby labor, and the contractions were hitting hard! The grunts and sounds I was making were surely either scaring the wildlife, or confusing them as they questioned why a human was making mating calls (elk and deer especially). I crossed the finish and spent a little time curled over. It must have been bad because it took me at least ten minutes before grabbing a beer. I had pulled off a 2nd place in my age group, and 8th overall with a time of 5:01:33.8. Not a bad day at all! Oh, and just an fyi, I looked at the Growler results. The guy who beat me wasn't there and surely had much fresher legs. Just sayin'.
My next race isn't until June 29th. I have a week of recovery followed by one last hard week of training for the year, then three weeks of taper. I will then race the Forty at the Fort, five days later race the Firecracker 50, and then ten days later the Breck 100. I may try to do a 6 hour race in Wisconsin six days after that, but it's doubtful. July is going to be full of fireworks, and the explosions are going to be in my legs. It's going to get interesting! Stay tuned!