After some internal arguments influenced by factors outside the scope of this blog, I decided to get up at the crack of dawn, and drag my ass (and my boyfriend's ... sorry babe) to Mansfield for a couple hours of late season suffering in the annual Winter Wow.
And I was pleasantly surprised.
The first 90 minutes were AMAZING. I was flying! Not suffering at all! I rode the trails like a Jedi, hopping logs, carving corners and passing all kinds of folks. I led the ladies off the start and didn't see any of them again for over an hour.
My climbing was on, and I even got up the famous "sandy climb". A man came up behind me and after a few minutes I asked him if he'd like to get by, and he said "Are you kidding? you're setting my pace!"
Not to mention the GLORIOUS weather we got. Honestly, it was some of the best riding all season. Perfect dirt!
I was pretty stoked, to say the least.
Unfortunately, the race was over two and a half hours long, so I ended up paying back the first 90 minutes in spades.
I have never bonked like that in my life! I was so far gone it was almost fun. That is until all the time I'd put into the competition sling-shotted back at me in the last 4km. Except for Rachel. Rachel was the first lady I met on the trails, and she caught me after my best efforts to drop the Queen of Cross on the mostly flat, slightly hilly, logging roads -- about half way. (Guess I should have seen that coming!) I think that's about when I began my decline.
Two more went by while I wobbled around at walking pace. It was like trying to ride while you have the worst case of spins imaginable. I couldn't get my body positioned over the bike properly and instead just kind of held on. My vision was like something out of the Blair Witch Project, my tummy was upset, and whenever I tried to put on the gas, I got a dead-pedal.
If I thought I could've found my way back to the chalet by a direct route other than the one that was marked, I probably would have DNF'd. Luckily, the good thing about feeling that BAD is the sense of euphoria that comes with it, so I just giggled to myself until I found the finish line.
I went to the van hoping to find G, but he was off seeking warmth in the chalet. Unable to go any further I laid the bike down. Then I laid down. And took a nap. In the grass. Wow, indeed.
Once I regained consciousness, not sure how long later, I hobbled over to the chalet for the Chili feed. I teetered through the line-up and was revived by brownies and sugary yellow juice. (Maybe peach?)
In the end I came fourth (56th overall), and you can find the full results here. I heard a rumour that WOW Mtb will also post up their photos from the day.
Despite the calamity, I had a really fun time. I wondered how much I had left from 2009, and found out that I've got just about an hour of juice in the tank. (No WONDER people are drawn to cross!)
And so the work begins to turn my hour of red-zone capabilities into two or three. Exciting stuff!!
PS - Daffyd's already emailed about RPM's BASE CAMP program -- let me know if you'd like a spot!