This past weekend Allison scheduled us for a Time Trial of the Counting Coup course. We aren't racing the Warrior Society events this year but wanted to measure our fitness on a known course with historical data.
It has been two years since we first rode Counting Coup, and about a year since we rode Vision Quest. Lots has changed in the past three years and we wanted some indication of where we are at now.
Allison started the course with nearly 1hr head start. I wanted to make the Time Trial as realistic as possible so after dropping her off at the start I parked our truck at the bottom of Motorway (about the course midpoint) so we could do a bottle exchange and pick up any other necessary items.
After riding down to the start (about a 20 minute warmup spin) I negotiated the gate at the bottom of Blackstar and hit the lap button on my GPS. Luke, Slater, and Eric all started a little after me so I was by myself on the flats. I kept a solid pace to the first turn where the grade kicks up. As I rounded the first turn Luke came flying past me with Slater in tow. I didn't expect to see them again that day so I told Luke to go get 'em and to tell Allison that she is kicking butt (motivation!). I remember looking back and seeing Eric down below and thinking that soon I would be the caboose for the day, expecting Eric to fly by too.
I settled into a nice steady hard pace. It turned out that I was able to stay within 50 yards or so of Luke and Slater! On the one descent between the gates on Blackstar I actually passed them, have to make time where I can! (More mass is faster downhill!) They didn't take too long to pass me back but once again I held the gap to less than half a football field. I was shocked when I got to the gate at the top, hit the lap button, and saw that I had gone Gate to Gate in less than 50 minutes!
There were a ton of people up near Beeks Place. I saw Trevor and James and a few other familiar faces and waved but didn't spend any time being social. More people I expected to see fly by me later on down the road. Luke and Slater accelerated up the steep hill to the Radar Ball, I was sure that I would soon loose contact. Mandy (a racer on the Pass PT team) picked up my wheel and rode along for a while. At the bottom of the first really steep hill we were all together and I thanked Luke for waiting up for me (I think he said something about being maxed out and I laughed).
Mandy dropped off but a rider from the Troupe team tagged on and rode with us all the way to the top of Motorway. Hugh, Aosty, and Impy were resting with some others and I said "Hi" and asked if they had seen Allison. Hugh said he hadn't seen her and ran over to hug me, hadn't seen Hugh in a long time. It is nice to know there are still genuinely nice people out there. It seems we get so much negativity that we start to think the entire world is full of shitheads.
Luke and Slater waited for me and Luke said, "Lead the way fast guy!" I shouted back that I was just going to try to keep from getting any flats! Motorway went by too quickly but when I got to the bottom I swore I lost a bottle or something came out of my jersey so I stopped to check. When I got to the bottom Slater was right on my butt! Dude can descend on a freaking rigid bike! I hit the lap button and was BLOWN AWAY! About 2 hrs in and I was near the midpoint!!!!
I swapped bottles at the truck and started to pedal away. I realized I should have picked up some extra food and went back to the truck to get some. As I rolled off I yelled back over my shoulder that I would see Luke and Slater in a little bit when they passed me on the climb.
Maple Springs is hard. Really hard. I ate and drank and tried to keep a nice steady pace. My legs started to feel a bit crampy when climbing in Z4 but I found that if I dropped into Z3 for a bit they would recover. This is something NEW! I managed this Z4-Z3-Z4 game all the way to Santiago Peak without cramping up! It did take a while to bag the peak though, 1hr 54min from the truck.
The descent was filled with hikers and I was picking my way through them. At one point a full on race truck was bombing up the hill and almost ran me down. This isn't freaking Baja dude!
The entire day I had been chasing Allison and hoping to catch her so that I could ride with her. Once on the descent I figured she was out of range. I was kind of bummed.
I tipped over once on Upper Holy Jim on a technical switchback and felt some hot pain in my shoulder. Didn't pay much attention to it though and continued to descend. There were two guys at the top of Holy Jim and I asked them if they had seen a girl come through with the same kit on, they said they had and that she was about 15 minutes in front of me. I said thanks and hurried on. Maybe I could catch her on the dirt road!!!
Lots more hikers and bikers on Holy Jim. I was trying to make time but did my best to be courteous. I got really wet on a few stream crossings. :) Once on the dirt road I hit the big ring and went berserk. I was flying down the road jumping potholes and bunnyhopping rocks and cranking a huge gear with all I had.
I have to take pause here to question why in the hell there is so many damn cars on this road. Really people, if you are out to experience the outdoors, get out of your damn cars and hike or ride a bike! Don't drive down a primitive dirt road in your lowered Civic or BMW. If you must drive your stupid car on this primitive road don't drive so damn erratically swerving all over the place trying to avoid all the rocks and holes!
So I am riding and weaving through cars that are weaving through pot holes and rocks and thinking that just maybe I will catch Allison.
Unfortunately the last portion of the road is dead flat and the washboard was wreaking havok on my poor kidneys (reminds me of VQ!!). I had to shift down as I was running out of gas. I still was pushing hard, but losing hope on catching Allison.
Then I looked up and saw the cars at the "Finish". Allison was still straddling her bike! I had almost caught her! 4hrs 50mins!!!!
Monique continued her family's trend for saving my butt for the day (Slater had saved me with a bottle cage in the morning) and gave us some Recoverite and water... and then drove me back to my truck! Slater and Monique are awesome people and I hope to hang with them in the future.
As I was taking off my jersey I discovered that my Left Deltoid was quite painful when used. This would become a big problem later...
Sunday we finished off the last day of Base with a 3+ hour ride at Daley Ranch (pics below). The shoulder only got worse.
So today I am going to the doctor. I am guessing here but I think I have a Grade 2 Deltoid Strain. I am hoping that I can be back on the bike in 5 days or so but we will see what the doc says.
I am really looking forward to seeing what I can do this year. I have picked up a lot of fitness. Maybe I can be mid-pack in the Cat 1 races!!!!
BTW... the look of fear and concentration is due to the pain in my left shoulder. I shouldn't have been playing around like that, but if you know me then you know that... maybe I'm not the smartest when it comes to stuff like this. :)