Race Report: Escape from Granogue 2007

Race Report: Escape from Granogue 2007

my body is sore
my body is tired
going up stairs displays my stiffness
riding my bike brings me some pain
lying down in bed feels just fine

still suffering from Sunday's Escape from Granogue event
thought I was suffering on lap one
managed to suffer through laps two and three
thought the suffering would stop as I crossed the finishline
the suffering continues

Sunday's event was a tough day on the bike
the last glance at weather dot com before leaving out in the morning had rain on the doppler radar over DC and clear skies over Delaware
it seems that the storm clouds traveled with me
it rained for a good part of the drive
which had some morning rain on the course at Granogue

as excited as I was to race
my head just was not in it
I had psyched myself out several days in advance
not sure why but I am pretty sure how
I approached the event looking to finish rather than to win
and well... I rode as if I was looking to finish... not as if I was looking to win

late in the week there was an electronic head count over the DCMTB email list to see who was headed to granogue
a number of folks were headed out
some jokes passed back and forth about class entries and DFL (dead f_cking last) finishes
plotting in advance for a DFL is a good way to find a DNF (Did Not Finish)
DNF is not part of my vocabulary

I lined up with the 40+ Men's Vet II Category
although I a only 39... my race age is 40
so I line up with the old men... the fit and fast old men
I lined up at the back of an 18 person field

Fatmarc (Marc Vettori) was the master of ceremonies
Marc released our group and we went spinning forward
I spun behind the rest of the racers
already moving at a ride pace not a race pace
moving at an intensity level beneath what I would usually display when messing around with friends

it was tough for me to find my groove
the first lap often lacks a decent groove
unfamiliarity with the trail
the need to dismount and remount for unexpected obstacles
the traffic in the single track
about mid-lap through lap one I was looking for an excuse to pull over and head home
but... the photo of my two boys taped to the stem of my bicycle spoke to me
the boys smiled away proudly so I rode
when the hands came off the brakes and I let the wheels spin it was as if the faces of my boys smiled greater
so I continued
as it would be hard for me to tell my boys to "play on" or "shake it off" if I were to give up so easily myself

lap one finished
I had failed to clear obstacles that should not act as barriers
I had walked climbs without trying
I had spun out on climbs that should not have given me issue
the thick mud and the wet off camber roots were giving me problems
confidence issues
I would think that the five laps at Lodi Farms a few weeks prior would have given me some level of confidence on clearing such stuff
but it was not happening
not on this day
maybe the wrong tires
maybe the wrong tire pressure
but more than likely I just did not have my head right

finishing lap one and starting lap two was an achievement
the body felt fine
which it should... since my level of exertion was low
I was pulling over for others to pass and I was not chasing any wheels in front of me
I was either walking or granny gearing climbs that I would normally muscle in the middle ring
there was a time where I rolled off trail over some pricker bushes... the passing thought of a double flat appealed to me
greater familiarity with the trail did not heighten my confidence
I rode forward just the same

the picture on the stem gave me a pleasant distraction
like a scene from a harry potter film the photograph came to life
my boys sitting on a fallen tree over a mountain stream in colorado
their feet dangling
giggling with wide grins

lap two ended and lap three began
there was a certain level of pleasure in that I was going to finish this race
my body and mind did not feel much better
there were still more people passing me than me passing them
several times I asked others to pass me
admitting that I was out for a Sunday Ride not an afternoon race
again with the defeating perspective
the self fulfilling prophecy feeding my failure

somewhere in the middle of my last lap I recognized the City Bikes logo on a jersey ahead
a small victory fueled my ego
I was reeling in what I thought was Mike Scardaville
with no real effort to chase I pulled him in
as I made the pass I saw it was DCMTB captain Joe Foley
Joe was having a very similar day on the bike
joe had also lined up with expectations of a DFL

as I made my pass there was a pleasant exchange
we exited the woods and I could see another jersey with the City Bikes logo
that was Scardaville
my pace was set to overtake mike as well
as I approached Mike I could hear Joe cheering Mike on
trying to taunt him into fighting my pass
Mike allowed me to pass
Mike had also set out for a DFL finish
there is very little fight in the racer who seeks to finish
the racers are the racers who fight to win even when they can't

catching and passing mike and joe gave me a new perspective on my performance
even if these guys were not having such a great race
they are both solid riders
and well... everyone knows that there is a certain glory in finishing ahead of your team mates

the course was good
I would have preferred if there had not been the morning rain
but the promoters anticipated the rain
as this event had a reputation for being hot in the years when it was hosted in July
while this event has come to have a reputation for being wet since they moved the race date to May

it was a good gathering in the parking lot
not the hometown high schoool reunion that I get at some of the races closer to home
but I did get to give a hello to an assortment of familiar faces from the Cult of Fatmarc
Mark Fitzwater was working an informal fueling station at the end of the lap... no fancy electrolytes here... just dixie cups of PBR... I stopped the bike after lap two and three
funny... if it had been water I would have rolled through and grabbed
but I did not want to risk spilling that PBR

in the end I was pleased that I had raced
I may not have had the spirit that I needed to race fast
but I did have the spirit it takes not to quit
which has to count for something

now I just need to learn how to get my head right for future events...

Results for Escape from Granogue 2007


riderx said...

I like the inspiration:
"the photo of my two boys taped to the stem of my bicycle spoke to me"

Nice report.

Tim said...

Well said, I had similar one the other week in Nathrop, MSC is our regional big series, I had the legs to race, not the legs to win. It always feels good to show a good face and finish even if you are off the pace.

Frank said...

I am going to try that picture trick next race.