Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Nowhere Close

The Shenandoah 100 ending up being one of the roughest days I've had on the bike all season. With a tough course with tons of climbing and rocky technical descents, it was not so much a place that tolerated mediocre legs.

The race started off decently, and I was making up quite a few places on the initial rolling climb. However, I started to fade to the back of the group I was with on the first major climb. I still felt decent, and didn't do too badly on the first rocky singletrack section. However, coming down a descent 15-20 miles in, I heard a loud pop and hiss as a sharp rock punctured the rear tire. I got the wheel off and found the hole, but it was too large for the sealant to get. As I was getting a tube in, 2 or 3 other people came down and punctured in the same place.

I got rolling again, and hit a long steep singletrack climb, where you could see 50 people ahead of you walking up the mountain. The walk seemed to take forever up to the top. Another fast descent full of rock gardens and off camber roots saw me down to the aid station at mile 45. I was a bit undernourished, as I had decided to roll with 3 bottles only for the first 45 miles, not expecting it to take me well over 4 hours to get there. As the race wore on, I was getting more and more frustrated as my legs would come and go and as the rocks continued to destroy my hands. I could make time on the climbs, and then immediately lose it all trying to come back down with my fingers feeling like they were breaking apart with every bump in the trail.

The last 30 or 35 miles turned into a painful slogging up and down the course to just get it done. I can't remember the last time I did a race where I was just completely over it mentally. After tons of mashing up climbs and bouncing down the rocky descents, I ended up finishing in 10:11, and couldn't have been happier to be done with it. Not really an ideal day, but you've got to take the bad with the good. At least the race had a great atmosphere and tons of food to smooth everything over. Maybe next year...

1 Comment:

  1. Stephen and Rachel said...
    Good job Dave!
    I hope you had several nice refreshing cold beverages as well as the food after the race! Do you think riding gears would have been a better choice? Compared to Cohutta how is the course? -Rach

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