I can finally sit down and write about this crazy race...
I didn't 'taper' for the race at all since I wanted to use it as a good hard training ride to prepare for the Tour of the Catskills stage race that I'm trying to prepare for. I'm hoping that I can do it, but my fingers are crossed (*).
I drove up to teammate Dennis' house and we drove to the race together chatting about the course. Got some nice tips there, thanks!
We arrived in time, and we went to go register and get our numbers. I decided to take my bike to neutral support since my brakes were feeling a little funny and I wanted to tighten them up. My multi tool wasn't so good for that. Turns out that the rear derailleur wasn't dialed in perfectly either. Oh well. I guess the cable stretched the last few times I rode it and I didn't notice. They fixed it up real fast.
I ran back to the car, running a little late now thanks to the last minute fix. I realized that I still had my seatpack and frame pump on so I took those off and put them under the car. I told Dennis to remind me to get them at the end of the day, as I had a feeling that I'd be too wiped out to remember. I was right.
The race started about 15 minutes late due to us not having a lead vehicle for a bit. Once it showed up, we were off.
I stayed with the pack, moving up as I could. I didn't want to be on the tail end and get dropped by the slowing of some of the riders.
There was one guy who kept weaving right in front of me, and he wouldn't pick a wheel in front of him. He started letting gaps open up in front and that was that, I went around him to avoid mayhem.
We turned right up the first bump past the resevoir, and I started losing contact with the very front of the group. Already???
There was a small crash as a squirrelly rider knocked into someone. Chasing around him coming uphill sucked, but it was still early in the race.
I caught up to the lead on the little bit of flat ground that we had and kept contact till the last of the little rises. On a short steep hill, I lost them, and I started to chase on the downhill.
I caught up to the tail end before the final hill of the first lap, the steady rise right up to the finish, and then it was over. The riders in front of me fell back, and I lost contact for good. I had made it with the lead group for almost a lap. This was a great accomplishment by itself.
As I passed the feed zone, making the required faces at the Mullaly feed squad, I felt my stomach start to churn. I instantly wished that I had grabbed one of their bottles. I thought of just dropping out of the race, but I pushed on.
The stomach cramps got worse and worse, until it made pedaling incredibly hard. All the groups that I had dropped started passing me. I latched on for a few seconds only to be unable to do anything. My teammates words of encouragement went unheeded as I fell off the back into oblivion.
I finished the race, but the stomach cramps took 2 days to clear up.
That really sucked. Finally feeling human again. What a relief...