Monday, May 13, 2013

Race Report: Firebird 40, @LSVLKirk

Jon Maule and I drove over to Eagle on Saturday for the Firebird 40. I believe this is a first year event but it was put on by the folks who put on the Breck 100. We arrived a bit after 12:30 for a 1:30 start. There was a good sized expo area but I wanted to get dressed and warmed up on the bike so I didn't check it out. This race was a spur of the moment addition to my calendar. I didn't have any goals for the race but was looking for a good workout. There were two options starting at 1:30, 22 miles or 38 miles. I wanted to get in a good long workout so I signed up for the 38 - a decision I'd come to regret.

We had a neutral rollout from town that climbed up to the course. The first lap was different from all the rest. After the first lap the 22 milers had 2 full laps left and the 38ers had 4. The course had a little of everything. A nasty dirt climb I wasn't able to ride, quick descents and singletrack with nice flow. There was too much time doing extended climbing on paved bike paths for my taste.

Coming into the race I didn't have a good idea of time per lap or average speed and hadn't pre-ridden. I guessed the race would take 3 and 4 hours. I got overexcited by being in a race situation and bumped my HR target up 10 so I could hang and move forward in the race. Things were fine for the first two hours. Had I raced the 22 mile race I would have been 7th or 8th. As I started the 3rd lap my legs cramped up without warning. Both my quads were completely locked up in knots. As soon as my quads relaxed my hamstrings knotted up. It was the worst muscling cramping I've ever had, on or off the bike. I was reduced to a slow and painful walk. After about 15 minutes of walking up climbs and free wheeling down descents I was able to ride again. Riders who'd been pacing themselves more wisely were passing me right and left.

Given the sorry state I was in I wasn't up for another hour of pain. I pulled the plug after the 3rd lap. My totals were around 3 hours and 3600 ft of vertical over 30 miles. It was a well run race with some fun terrain. I learned a hard lesson about pacing and attempting to race a distance not supported by my training.

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