I was recovering from a cold the week before; I start out feeling ok but with weak lungs and a cough I still have.
The day is threatening rain, temps are cool but ok for hill climbing.
I have toed the line in about 18 bike races in my life so I still feel green but not a rookie. I've not raced 108 miles. I've ridden for 8 hours, I've ridden 100 miles, and I've ridden 50 miles fast (for most) but not all together in a fast, hilly 108.
My wife has taught me over the years to listen and read when I just want to go. This briefing tells about a closed road but it's open and cross-able and to ignore the "Road Closed" signs.
Left: I'm in red with the yellow rain jacket on my pack. I'm clearing my computer.
Brett had a pre-Roc ride so I'm not totally green and I know the first 5 miles. I'm hoping to find some riders my speed to work with. I'm a little nervous about navigating and getting lost and running out of supplies.
I blow the launch and almost crashed in the first 10 feet. The start got me a bit off guard but I mount up and go to clip in. The right blows off and the left clips, I'm too slow and too close to others and I have to go low and kick the bike like a skateboard for 10 feet, yaw right (so I don't trap others) clip in, and then peddle out. I connect with Brett for the motor lead out (think pace car.) We talk about the race course and have an easy peddle to the first hill.
I'm not proud of this photo but I'm the guy hiding behind Dan's friend. I owe him and his buddy a beer next time we are out. I never pulled for them. I was too weak.
use to feeding at that pace and didn't eat for the entire 36 miles so I was blowing up and knew I messed up.
My wife came down with our dog, Scooby, for support so I fired down some sugary drink and headed off. I eat on the go. At my pace I can feed as needed.
Well that dream lasted about two hours. Mile 62 brought hell fire to the legs and hills that break your will to turn a crank. I never recovered and my legs, having no voting stock, had to take
This is me rolling into Checkpoint 2 (81 miles). I am shot, I hurt, I just want to finish. I know it's going to happen, but I will need to pay the legs a small ransom because they are now in charge. I need them to help me finish so I have the team I needed all along, myself.
If I finished strong and in the top ten, it wasn't hard enough. Winning is odd, it says you're the best but it also means you didn't set the bar high enough. You should not win, you should do well but suffer at the limits of human resolve.
I ride for 8 hours 8 minutes but take 8:26 to finish. I meet a good friend Troy near the finish, and we cross the line together. Troy passes me on the down hill so he was actually faster, but the finish was at the top of the hill so I crossed first but he beat me.
I'll do better next year. The first time is always the worst... Too Green.