Sunday, March 11, 2012
Bonelli Park PRO XCT #2
OUCH! 2,400+ feet of climbing in 15 miles is a hell of a way to begin a racing season. I haven't climbed like that at race pace in I don't know how long. Halfway through the race I had an IF of 0.96 which is high for me. (I ended at a .94 which is also really high.) The goal, though, was to have a race in which my nerves didn't inhibit my ability to ride my bike like I know I can. In these bigger races my nerves have been a HUGE problem. My heart rate climbs the closer I get to the start, and my body produces adrenaline which results in me pedaling with pure lactic acid in the legs. It's a total nightmare. But, much to my surprise, I think I can say my nerves weren't an issue in this race. Even when I was forced off the bike by the funneling of the group onto a narrow climb, I was able to run the 10 feet to the next flat, hop on, and get going without too much panic. I also, with my back of the pack start, picked off a girl a lap, and was, for 3/4 of the race, in a long line of 7 or 8 racers which meant I was in the race as opposed to hanging onto the back. My weaknesses, though, were certainly plentiful: the race was one dusty, off-camber turn after another and I simply haven't been on the mountain bike enough this season to hit those efficiently. I also haven't done enough of the steep, punchy climbs that made this such a hard course. I've done gobs of group rides on the road bike, 70-100 miles at a go, and spent plenty of time at lactate threshold on those rides, but as my dad and I are always saying, road riding and mountain biking are two very different beasts. Which is why, I think, at about an hour and ten, I felt like I'd run into a brick wall. Just had nothing left. But that's early season racing for you. Got to spend more time in the pain cave.