back from the SM100

back from the Shenandoah Mountain 100
back from the SM100 and the raced weekend that surrounded the event
back from the second weekend in a row in the shenandoahs

my finishing time was nearly an hour slower than my past approach to this event
yet I was satisfied with the finish
finishing is always first and formost the primary goal
after that comes the notion of how fast

the race started out well enough
I took the first climb in the middle ring in a cluster of my DCMTB team mates
early in the first stretch of single track I flatted out
not sure what rock, why, or when
I was trailside repairing a flat before the race really began
that flat did not cost me so much immediate time
a hundred racers passed as I managed with a pretty fluid repair

getting my game back was not so easy
there is always the measure that I had my one flat and could not afford another one put me into a more conservative race mode
smart racing
when I say smart racing I mean slow racing
I managed smart racing on the steepy rocky descents
I managed smart racing on the climbs
and when I say smart racing I mean slow

I used the granny gear at parts of the course where I would normally attempt the middle ring
I accepted the force march at points in the race where I shoud have had my feet on the pedals

but I smiled
I smiled on the technical descents as my hands went numb and my triceps burned
I smiled on the painfully long climbs and I thought to myself... I am going to finish this race... this race is attainable

the race went on without any may drama for me
there was numbness and some threats of cramping

my pace waivered throughout the day
from top race pace hammering to french foreign legion death march
in the weeks before I daydreamed about a sub ten hour finish
that of course would be a sub ten hour finish without any formal training
just because it sounded like it was attainable
that was with the dream of a fresh and new 29inch wheel dual suspension bike
of course I woke up from that dream and raced on the monkey
who is to say a different bike would have offered a better experience?

I love the monkey
the monkey is not a race machine
but the monkey is what I know
the monkey did what I asked it to do

so... during the race I started to get rational
looked at the sub eleven hour mark
even that humble goal slipped from my grasp

too much walking?
too much stalling at the aid stations?
did I really need a change of clothes at both aid station two and aid station five?
it is too late now
I am not angered or frustrated with my time or my efforts
I am pleased with me effort and my humble level of achievement

it is not a guarantee that you can log a faster time each year without effort
you need to focus and channel you approach
I did not tailor my approach to this day

it was a fantastic race weekend
a fantastic day on the bike
a fantastic weekend with family and friends

another race memory
this has been a great year
a great year with family
a great year on the bike


Mark said...

I think you caught the vibe rather well. Excellent write up.

Think you walked by this morning (I was in the silver BMW in front of the MORE banner). I'd been planning to introduce myself as a long time reader, but I was still stewing and trying to find an answer to the question of "How'd you do?" that didn't put me in a worse mood.

Clearly, I'd not yet figured that out.

Next year, perhaps?


Mark Blacknell

Buddy said...

Nice ride Joel. It was good to see you out there. And, yes finishing is the number one goal.


Craig said...

Any endurance race that I can finish is a good race. You sound in good spirits - good on ya'.
big ring

Jill said...

Congrats on the strong ride, finish. Way to rock it.