I rode down to the race (Bass River Resort) with Jeff of Alpine Shop adventure racing fame, and shared a cabin with him and his AR teammate David. I wasn't planning on staying in a cabin but the weekend's chilly weather made me really glad I had a roof over my head. It was cool hanging out with "the boys" and nice to have other equally-obsessive people to bounce ideas off of before the race, especially regarding calories and clothing. I had planned on riding in just shorts and a long-sleeve jersey but after Jeff mentioned that he was wearing his winter mtb shoes, I started to reconsider. I ended up wearing normal shoes, normal socks, knee warmers, shorts, a thin wool t-shirt, a long-sleeve jersey, my pack, a borrowed shell from David, and borrowed gloves from Jeff. This combo kept me really happy all day, starting with the 32F temps at Bass and then finishing around 55F.
I planned to consume about 1900 calories and got just about everything down. 3 bottles of 280cal IMPerform (CarboRocket Half-Evil is out of stock...BOOOO!), fun-size Snickers bars, a Honey Stinger gel, 2 mini cans of Coke, and most of a flask of LiquidShot. I shared some of my Snickers with a guy who was bonking on the ride up to Berryman Campground. I also needed 8 e-caps to fix my cramping problems later in the race (more on that later). I didn't use a bento box (for a selfish reason, I wanted to stare at the "pedal damn it" on the top tube instead of covering it up) and instead relied on my new pack's accessible pockets. They worked okay, but a bento is still way better.
|Start line. Note the frost still on the grass. I was wayyyyy back in the pack.|
|Porta-potty at the start line, before it got delivered to the Brazil Creek aid station. Yep, we're in central MO.|
The Brazil-Berryman section was also good for me, I kept "just riding along" even as the crowd started to thin out. I stopped to take off my shell jacket at some point, and to pee. Rolling into Berryman Campground meant the first third of the race was done, and I was greeted by a huge round of cheers from TTM and company. That felt really cool, and there was even a volunteer (Teresa, was that you??) to help me with my drop bag. I deposited my jacket, swapped bottles, and was gone. I hadn't lost any more time on that section so was still 10 minutes behind my goal.
|Drop bags all lined up at Berryman Campground.|
Back at Berryman Campground to start the last section, I had lost another 10 minutes on the South Loop so now I was 20 minutes down from my goal split. And again, this didn't even bother me. I saw one girl (Melissa) that I knew of from AR at the checkpoint, and knew that she was fast. She seemed to be taking her time "in transition" so I tried to hustle, downing a mini-coke, stuffing another one in my pack, swapping gloves and bottles, and loading oreos in my pocket. She was still there when I rolled out and I congratulated myself on the quick stop. I hit the singletrack and was still not feeling great, but not feeling terrible. Pretty soon I heard wheels roll up behind me and as usual, I asked if they want by. But, this time, it was a girl's voice that answered and sure enough, Melissa had caught me. I let her by and decided to stay on her wheel for the rest of the race. That worked for awhile, except I started cramping and decided to stop and load up on e-caps to fix that. I basically tried to spend a penny now to save a dollar later, or however that phrase goes. I also chugged the rest of my bottle and discovered that my 2L CamelBak was dry. Thankfully, "the bathtub" (aka Beecher Spring) was only a few minutes up the trail so I knew I could refill there. Even though Melissa was out of sight, I told myself that even just a 30- or 45-second gap is out of sight on twisty singletrack, so keep riding as strong as possible and maybe I'd catch her.
|Screen grab (of me!!) from the youtube vid above.|
|The huge fire, Courtney's green hat, my FE hat, and a bunch of other people.|
So, wrapping this up, I didn't have a mind-blowing result for the last race of my season. But, it wasn't terrible, and I didn't really expect greatness either. And, the more I look at my times given the perspective of the course conditions, I'm extremely satisfied. My fitness is on the decline due to the lack of training I've been doing in October. But that's expected, even desired, for me at this point in the year and given what I want to accomplish in the future. The BT Epic also gave me what I wanted from it: a reason to improve my technical mtb skills, an enjoyable day on the trail, and an enjoyable weekend with the STL mtb community. Check, check, aaaaaaaaand check.
And yes, I am SO STOKED to come back to this event next year. Pin It