Monday, May 19, 2008

3 Equals 2

With an 11:00 am start time and only a 2 hour drive, I was able to get a good nights rest and didn’t have to get up too early to make the race. I arrived at Tsali around 9:30, and dropped all my stuff off at the transition. This year the transition area was in the parking lot, which was a huge improvement over its former location. In previous years, getting things to the pit area required carrying everything a ¼ mile up a fireroad, which was not so much fun. As I was preparing my stuff, I noticed something quite odd. There was this strange blue stuff all over the sky. I didn’t know what to think, I’m only used to seeing grey and black. I brought the Rig and the Superfly, and wasted probably 10 minutes looking back and forth at them trying to decide which one to ride first. I’m not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I finally settled on rolling one lap on the singlespeed to see how muddy it was.

The race started with a lemans run up the ¼ mile fireroad. I managed to be the 6th or 7th guy to the top in spite of my retarded looking running style wobbling back and forth with both hands on my jersey pockets to keep them full and my bling swinging wildly. The 32x20 was decent for most of the fireroad climb, but every time it flattened out or turned down I was losing tons of time. I was slightly spun out on the middle sections of the course, but it wasn’t too bad. The climbs were really fast by necessity, and I was beginning to think that maybe the ss was not so much a good idea. Since Tsali doesn’t drain, the course was still super muddy. Lots of nice mudholes all over the course made sure that cold brown water was flung on you 5 or 6 times a lap. The final flat section made up my mind on the bike selection, as I was once again spun out. Tsali is just an odd combination of long moderately steep climbs and fast flat/slightly downhill sections, and I was rarely comfortable with my gearing. There really aren’t many chances to make use of your momentum either. Although, it would probably be perfect with a front derailleur and some chainrings to 3x1 it.

I kept seeing Chris throughout the first lap until we hit that flat section at the end. At this point I felt like I was going backwards, and I was passed by another solo rider. Hopping off the rig, I grabbed a bottle and was on my way with the superfly. I quickly passed the solo guy who had gone by me halfway up the fireroad climb. The superfly felt so much better for this course, and I didn’t have to thrash out my legs trying to turn it over all the climbs. This also gave me a chance to really compare the two bikes riding them one after another at race pace. The superfly is definitely a little snappier coming out of the corners and a bit softer of a ride on the bumps. 6 laps in, time was flying by, pits were quick, and the legs were good.

However, it wasn’t to be. Not sure if it was going harder than I should have on the SS the first lap or my nonexistent training week with finals after DSG, but after my 7th lap I was definitely not feeling it anymore. But with 5 or 6 hours of riding left, the only option was to just roll with it and hope no one got close enough to make me work. The next few laps felt like they took forever, but every lap completed was 11 miles closer to being done. I was down to drinking only half a bottle a lap at this point, which is generally frowned upon when 100% of your race calories come from the bottle. After 2 and a half night laps, I finished up the race in 2nd place with 130-something miles. The night laps were quite cold, and I was shivering profusely even after I stopped to get my arm warmers. It looks like the third time was the charm after all for the 12 Hours of Tsali.

Knee warmers and socks are 70% of a pair of pants, right?

Congrats to Chris on his win, he definitely had the better legs on the day. I suppose if things had gone a little better for me we might have actually had a race, but that’s how it goes sometimes. A big thanks to Cory Rimmer for helping me out in the pits filling bottles and lubing drivetrains. He thought he could just say hi during the race and walk away, but I put him to work instead. Surprisingly, the drive back wasn't too bad, and I managed to make it back to Knoxville by a little after 3:00. I’m looking forward to this week for a nice easy recovery week of spinning to try and get ready for the Burn 24 hour race on the 24th.

1 Comment:

  1. ZaskarLE said...
    Knee warmers with socks look more like 95 of pants...

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