It's official: warm and humid summer weather made its way to Central Iowa this weekend.
To get ready for Sunday's IMBCS race at the Seven Oaks Ski Area in Boone, I went out for an easy 70 minute spin on Saturday afternoon in what is known as Zone 2 in terms of wattage and effort. I did a few leg openers of hard effforts for 30 seconds to a minute in an effort to wake up the legs. Mainly the ride was very relaxed and easy.
With the heat and humidity being what it was, I dropped 3 full pounds on that easy 70 minute ride (I weigh myself before and after a ride when things go north of 90 degrees). That represents about 1.6% of my current body weight and is still within the "safe zone" of fluid loss, but I did start right in on hydration to get it back before Saturday was finished. According to this chart of percent of body weight water loss, I was still okay - but losing less than 1% would be better.
Sunday morning, I was able to take things leisurely as I slept in until about 8:30, then had breakfast before heading up to Boone around 10 am to arrive in time for the 12 noon race. I had a cooler with ice, drinks, water bottles, and a recovery shake. I pulled in about a quarter after 11, got registered and headed out for a 30 minute warm-up.
It was warm and humid. I realized I had left my trusty Halo sweat band at home and sweat was getting all over my Oakley sunglasses and dripping down my face. After my warm-up, I headed to the line and was pleased to see so many racers had turned out for the race. It's no surprise to see a big group as it has been since May 5th that we have had an XC IMBCS mountain bike race in Iowa. Neal Groteluschen said he had an extra one in his car and went to get it for me. Thanks Neal!!!
As Kyle Sedore was reading through the list of names in each category, I heard that Tom Jeffries from the Nebraska Psycowpath series had driven over for the race. He's been winning most of the Nebraska races this year and is usually minutes ahead of me at every finish line. So the competition was there to keep the screws tightened for this race. CAT 2 Sport went as a mass, and I managed to get up in the top 10 heading into the singletrack. I quickly realized on the first turn or two that my tires were a bit too high in psi, but I would have to deal with it. Throw in the heat and humidity and I was cautiously optimistic as we made our way through the always tough Seven Oaks singletrack. Lots of power climbs, technical turns, switchbacks, roots, bridges, and really fun stuff that makes this one of the best in Iowa.
I can't say I felt all systems go with the heat, but settled into a pace I could maintain. This meant I had to let about 3 riders go around me as I didn't want to burn out in the first lap. Everything was flying along pretty well and I saw Ron Cooney was behind me and gaining. I picked up the pace and tried to open up a gap on Ron. It was successful and I kept chipping away at broadening that gap. Right when I thought I was on a non-threatening section of straighter singletrack and picking up the pace, my handlebar caught one of the trail side trees just enough to turn me into a human pinball as I and the bike went down bouncing off two trees. My bike hit one, and I flew off and my chest hit another tree before I went splat on the ground in a tangled mess with the bike.
One always makes a quick assessment on the ground, but I hopped right up with a banged up knee and hurting chest. I got going again and found the bike to be just fine. However, it's hard to be confident and get things flying after a crash. My right knee was numb from the hit it took and bleeding. I couldn't really feel it, so I just spun an easy cadence to get the knee working again and gather my bearings. I realized my watch had fallen off on the trail and made a note to look for it on lap 2 when I got to that section. Ron came up behind me and passed me at this point. I let him go as I took on my gun shyness. Suddenly, Ron went down in front of me. I asked him if he was okay and passed by him as he struggled to get up off of the ground. It appeared he was going to be fine.
Blood dripping from the right knee, I soldiered on...
Photo courtesy of Angie Snoop
I finished lap one, and took in a GU and some much needed liquids as I hammered the big ring to the singletrack of lap 2. I was a bit more careful on the dry, dusty turns this time and cut speed to keep it on the trail. About midway through this lap, Jason Uhlenhake (the Head Athletic Trainer at Simpson College) passed me and I tried to pick up the pace and stay close to him as we worked our way through the course. He was maintaining about an 8 second gap for most of the lap, but nearing the end - the heat was starting to get to me and I had to slow down a bit to recover.
I finished out lap 2 and crossed the finish line in 2nd Place for my age class. Tom Jeffires from Nebraska had earned 1st and Andre Rethman was 3rd. I did a 20 minute cool-down ride before heading to the car to put ice on my knee, clean up and drink a recovery drink, and some cold water.
I headed over to the starting area to swap race stories with everyone. The heat was an issue and everyone was commenting that they felt pretty wiped from it all. Here I am chatting with Sean Myers about our ages and dealing with the heat.
Kudos to Kyle Sedore, Julie Sedore, Ron DeGeest, and all the crew that helped get the trail ready for this race. Turnout was a record number for the Seven Oaks race with 82 showing up to race. That's great to see and I hope it continues as the series takes off again next week at Sunderbruch.
I got home and weighed myself. With all the post-race hydration, I was at the same weight as when I left the house earlier in the day. However, I didn't have to pee after the race for at least 6 hours which goes to show how much sweat I must have lost during the race.