Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Peaceful Valley Cycle Derby by Jon Maule (@jonmaule)

Deep down I didn’t want to do this race, only because I’ve been doing the longer mtb events every other week for about two months. In the big scheme of things, that’s not really a lot of racing (what 5-6 including a few road things maybe?) but I’m kinda feeling like I want a break.

I wasn’t going to do this race but for two points:
1. Andy brought up a real good point a while back. We can go ride on most of the circuits/courses we race on just about any day of the week. The trails at Peaceful Valley are on a private Boy Scout ranch and this race is the only opportunity for the general public to ride them.
2. Coach wants me to really figure out my nutrition and pacing. Something I’ve been bouncing around but haven’t really nailed yet.

Still, on Friday I was hoping the thunderstorms would drop a foot of rain, impacting the trail condition and causing a postponement of the race. Well, this was my first trip down there to race and I think that place could easily handle a significant downpour. If you’ve ever ridden at Buffalo Creek, or anywhere else having decomposed (probably not the right word) granite trails, you know this type of soil (is that the right word?) can handle a lot of water.

Well, after trading emails, Andy and I ended up carpooling. This was pretty good move as this place is really pretty far from our little bubble. Held just South of Elbert, CO, the event is roughly 80miles from the second best place to live in the U.S. Elbert doesn’t seem to have much “action” according to the official wikipedia page but I did note that the town is at 6,720ft.

For this race, I decided to forgo the hydration pack and try bottles out. For the endurance race, we’d complete three 22 mile loops. Each 22 mile loop consisted of a 14 and 8 mile loop and each loop doubled back close enough to the pit area to get additional items if you needed to. Looking at past results, I set 6hrs as a goal and 5.5 as a stretch – for those math dis-inclined we’re talking 2hrs to 1:50 lap times J

PV Strava

Right around the time the race started (20min late mind you) I had made an executive decision to go harder than I ordinarily would pretty much just to see what would happen.

PV Power 2

I don’t know if you’ll be able to make this out but right around 1.5hrs you can see my avg power drop quite a bit as I try to calm down enough to start digesting what I’d been throwing down my gullet. I don’t remember enough about my timing to know if I spread my calories out or ate too much too close together. With a pack, you can really drink almost whenever you want. Bottles are neat because you can more accurately gauge your consumption but… you have to take a hand off the bars for several seconds and that’s not always a good idea.

While there was quite a bit of double-track, it wasn’t always in great shape and the loose, sandy soil could make things really interesting if you weren’t paying attention. Getting to the point, I think one of three things happened:
· I ate too much in a short span

· my tummy wasn’t a fan of Enduro Bites

· my harder pace wasn’t allowing me to

I don’t have a definitive answer but most likely all three. I used the Enduro Bites last weekend for Super Walker but that was at a pretty chill pace and ~3/4 of the time was on the road where I could eat/drink regularly.

The G.I. issue meant I had to slow it down even more (second lap below) and you can see from the summary on the left that I was about 20% off my prior lap power numbers but still only ~10% off my target lap time of 2hrs.

PV Power 2

Now if that wasn’t enough, my back has been angry with me since the journey Kirk and I took to Eagle. I’ve been doing everything I can (massage, heat, e-stim, stretching, planking... …etc.) to get this under control and while it is a lot better, I told my wife that it amost feels as if it’s just waiting for me to make a mistake so that it can tighten up again.

I think the stimulus it was waiting for was me riding a hardtail on occasionally technical terrain at a hard effort. Unfortunately this started within minutes of the gun. Sometimes things like this work themselves out after a bit but not this time.

Anyhow, as I approached the end of the second lap went from secretly hoping that Andy was sitting in his chair in the pit to trying to figure out a short-cut back the the car. Needless to say, I bailed after the second lap.

Lap Times

Lap 1 – 1:53:14
Lap 2 – 2:10:30
Power File: http://tpks.ws/0FY9

What did I consume?
3 22oz Bottles of Skratch ~100cal each for ~300cal
1 flask of Apple Cinnamon Hammer gel ~400cal
3 squares of Enduro Bites ~300cal
all told, ~1k cal over 4hrs or pretty close to what I try to get.
Did I learn anything?

Pacing – I don’t think I could have kept up the 1:53/lap pace the whole race (~5:40 total which would have put me 11th) but maybe? I know how I want to race and that's pretty much the pace I had in mind. Wear people out and force them to ride outside their comfort zone.

Bike – back to back races where I was cursing having a hardtail. Can I get an advance on next year’s bonus?
Is this the answer?

PV fatbike

DNF – if there was a side benefit its that I got to put away all of our gear before the two crazy thunderstorms rolled through. That and I got some pics of Andy finishing and coming in 3rd in his age grouop.

Thanks for reading my rambling.

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