eventually if i stare at this damn computer long enough, words will appear...right? the planned 3500 word essay on the 2009 wilderness trail 101 seems to be falling apart. too much to sort out in my head, too many mixed emotions, too many questions left. so, i'll do what i do well and ramble in a completely unorganized fashion.
this race was absolutely amazing. it was incredibly well organized, staffed, volunteered, signed, supported...everything. the camping/start/finish worked really well. the food, the beer (what i was able to drink of it)...man...everything was just done right. huge thanks to the organizers and volunteers.
i really am trying to separate this experience into two things for myself to grasp. one being the ride, one being the race.
this was hands down the most incredible ride i've ever been on. huge climbs, SCREAMING fast descents, righteous singletrack, beautiful setting, awesome support at the aid stations. as a ride, given the pain of the course and 6 hours of paralyzing cramps, i am happy. happy that i did it, happy that i finished. happy that ran i full speed into my pain cave until i was so far buried in it i didn't know which way was out, that i kept crawling my way through the darkness until i came out the other side.
as a race, unfortunately i am disappointed. its hard to set goals going into a race that i've never done before, but my goals were certainly higher than my finish was. my finishing time was "respectable". i finished in the top third overall and the top half of the single speed class...again, "respectable". there is some satisfaction in those results. however, i made mistakes. and in trying to figure out where things went wrong i've had to accept that i made mistakes i've made before, and that's hard to swallow. undoubtedly, i went out to hard. i have to learn to control myself at the start of big races like this otherwise my body will continue to react the way that it did. when i started cramping at mile 53-ish i thought it would be similar to most of my cramping episodes. stretch, walk, soft pedal, drink, drink, drink, fight the pain for maybe a half hour then go on with the ride. not this time. they just never stopped. i could barely pedal up any sort of incline without something cramping. by the end of the race, both groins, both calves, both quads, one hamstring, one foot, both forearms, and one little muscle in my hand that controls my thumb had all cramped, most of them multiple times. it got to the point where one calf would seize and turn to concrete and i would just keep pedaling slowly trying to stretch it, and as it stretched out it put me into a position that my quad would blow up. so i'd stand, try to soft pedal, sit back down only to feel a groin start to go. my body was absolutely wrecked. and it was my fault, and it was the same lesson i've learned at least twice before. i will have to get a heart monitor or something to force me to slow down and relax at the beginning of these things.
all in all, it was an incredible experience. from the ride side of things, i'm happy with what i've accomplished. the (overly)competitive/race side of me is far from satisfied. pretty sure this one's already getting penciled in on next year's calendar...
more random thoughts and pics when i'm better rested.