As someone who’s ridden and raced bikes for 16 years now, I’ve had my share of bad days (i.e. dehydration during a Flint Hills Death Ride at 100+ degrees, bonking during a race in Mid-Missouri so badly a team mate handed me his only food so I could finish, etc.) but somehow, my recent problems at the 2011 Tegernsee Marathon have overshadowed all of them. It could be that it’s just so recent but it might also be due to not fully understanding what happened.
Here’s the story. For many months leading up to the race, I’d kept planning to enter the D course (the longest with mega-elevation) as a singlespeeder. However, I found out that my in-laws were coming and that we were going to be spending the week before the race on the road traveling through the Alps. In end, I took what I thought was the more intelligent optoin of the C course (68 km and 2600 vertical meters) geared.
As you can imagine, my eating and drinking were way off of my ‘normal’ diet (I’m a business English teacher and travel from company to company so I have no ‘normal’ days). In any case, I made an effort to keep drinking as much water as possible throughout the week previous to the race. By the end of the week, I knew that I had put on a pound or two but nothing out of the ordinary for vacation.
Now, day of the race. I got up early, drank a bottle of Carbo Rocket loaded water on the way down to the race, show up, get everything ready and go for a warmup ride. Everything felt good, in fact pretty damn good. While there, I ran into my teammate Christian and his wife Petra. That’s who I’m talking to while waiting for the start of the race. The race started 15 minutes late due to a farmer not wanting the bikes on his land at the last moment but then we were off. For a ‘neutral’ start we took off at about 30+ km/Hr and my hear rate instantly spiked.
My normal racing heart rate is between 155-165 and I was pushing 180. It was about this time that I started to realize that something was wrong. When we were let go and we hit the first climb it became blatently apparent that it was honestly going to be a shitty day and that my only two goals were to not quit and not end up DFL.
Within the first 10 km I started to cramp (I still don’t know why) and it just kind of went downhill from there. The rest of the day involved nursing cramping, fighting mud and people who can’t ride on singletrack and pushing up almost everything resembling an incline. Like I said… It sucked!
At the end of it all, I accomplished my two goals. I FINISHED and I wasn’t DFL. In fact, I finished 144th of 153 in my Under 50 class and 385th out of the 400 men that they timed. Way off of my previous C course time but I finished.
Thanks to Crema Cycles for setting me up with my awesome Indy Fab. Ti Deluxe 29’er, grips and more. Also thanks to Carbo Rocket for the hydration products and their new CR 333 which was the only thing which made me feel better throughout the day. Lastly, thanks also to FRM for the fanstatic rims and Geax for the tires.