- May 11, 2017 at 3:33 pm #17125
Greg and I raced at the Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships (50 miles) in Arkansas this past weekend. What an absolute delight! The course was fantastic. It was entirely singletrack after a 4 mile starter loop to spread things out, and one short road section to get from one part of the course to the other. The rest was windy and mostly smooth singletrack in densely wooded forests by a lake that sometimes came into view. We worried that there would be lines you would get stuck behind given there was so much singletrack, but that wasn’t the case (especially after the first hour). The one hard thing about the race was that it got really hot as the day went on. It was 87 and sunny by the time I finished.
Greg had an incredible race. He came in 100th place overall (in a very competitive field!) and nailed a new PR that was 20 minutes faster than his previous one. Greg has struggled with cramps and did during this race as well – for probably 50% of the race. One time he pulled over to let someone pass, and had a hard time getting his feet back into his pedals because his legs turned into boards when he unclipped. Still, he had an amazing race. I think he can cut even more time off his PR if he can get the cramps under control. There’s got to be a way to figure this out!
I had one of those yeah!/boo! races. I may have been riding the first lap a little too aggressively. Heart rate was a total lie given how hot it was. I recently got a power meter, and was trying to keep power under control. But I’m not used to pedaling all the time and also not entirely used to figuring out if I’m staying in the right PL with a rolling course rather than one that has long climbs and descents. I may have attacked the rolling hills a little too much. The boo! part of the race was that I nearly drove the porcelain bus before the first of two laps was even over. I started the second lap thinking that I would surely get sick within a few miles and not be able to finish the race. Then I thought about how I tell my kids to never give up. So I slowed up to, like, PL -1/grandma pace. I started questioning my life choices (why am I doing this?). 🙂 So the other boo part of the race was that my second lap was 30 minutes slower than the first one (which made me mad).
Then come the yeah parts. The course is so fun that even while you’re feeling super barfy, you have perma-grin on your face. Dumping cold water on myself at the next aid station helped a lot. I started perking back up a little bit, and got into PL 2 for a while. Then I came across a police officer on a four wheeler that I had been chatting with the day before while pre-riding part of the course. He was a hoot and so friendly. He saw me, jumped off his four wheeler and asked me if I wanted some cold water. It’s good to have friends! I drank some and dumped some on myself, and all of a sudden I felt pretty ok again. I was able to go back to PL 3 and finish the race at a fairly good pace. Other yeahs… I rode a PR by 5 minutes, and eeked my way onto the podium in 5th place. Hey, standing on the grass is ok – I’ll take it!
We live in Colorado and kind of joked about coming to a race in Arkansas – until we rode this course. Put Arkadelphia and the Iron Mountain trails on your bucket list, along with some of the trails in the Bentonville area (a few hours north and west). You’ll be glad you did.
- May 12, 2017 at 10:29 am #17128
Congrats on your PR and podium finish! Thanks for the great race report. What an adventure for you. Greg’s PR is awesome too! You guys rock! Sounds like the heat was a limiter for both at this one which is somewhat expected when training in CO and then racing in Arkansas in May. Good job managing it and both finishing and setting PR’s!
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