Saturday, September 20, 2014

2014 Hellhole day 1

I had no idea what to expect from this race. 75 miles, nearly all off road and lots of rain this last week. I knew it would be fast since there are zero hills in Francis Marion park but I had never done anything like this. When we lined up they sent everyone at one time (40-50 riders?) and since there were a lot of different abilities I wanted to be near the front once we hit the dirt to stay in front of the carnage.  I did see Scott Minor who I've raced against forever so I knew his wheel would be a good one (he ended up winning today).

We hit the gravel and I was 3rd wheel and it was game on.  Really fast riding while trying to avoid the potholes and the low hanging branches. Some you could see, others you didn't. I had great legs and was just cruising trying to stay in the front 20. Took a couple of pulls because being on the very front was the absolute safest place to be!  This first part of this race was super fun.

At mile 30 or so we hit this tight overgrown section that you couldn't even really see where you were riding and there were tons of trees and limbs and huge holes covered with deep grass/weeds.  We were flying thru here and the guy in front of me basically plowed thru this huge downed tree limb and it swung back and basically smacked me off the bike.  Then 2 dudes ran over me.  My right hip/calf were pretty banged up but the adrenalin of getting up, getting bikes untangled etc made it bearable.  Me and another guy then started chasing the lead group.  I didn't think we had a chance but worked well together and eventually caught back on but I was pretty fried from the effort and it took a long time to recover, then once I could relax my right leg started complaining.

I was sitting last wheel of about 20 guys on a very fast tailwind section and with all of the dodging of holes/limbs etc I was really getting worked due to the accordion effect. I knew we were close to the 38 mile aid station and since the lead group would not be stopping I decided I needed stop and get water and food and reassess.  The guy who was in the crash with me had lost a bottle so I gave him one of my full ones so he could make it.

This race was like being in a boxing match. You just keep taking punches hoping one doesn't KO you. Lots of guys crashed today.

Once I did stop man did the pain kick in. Sitting on the bike was excruciating and standing caused my banged up calf to cramp. Yeah, and I had 37 more miles of dirt roads to ride solo.  I started laughing. It was ridiculous.

I crawled along and ended up catching another dude who had crashed too and he was all bloodied and was riding even slower than I was.  I spent some time chatting with him and then started feeling like I could pedal a little harder so I took off.

My hip and ass and calf started to loosen up with about 20 miles to go so I was able to ride basically L3 for a while.  That felt really good after what I went thru earlier.  It was not horrible and I felt fine after finishing in 4:20 or so. I just couldn't really walk that well. I limped into Walgreens on the way home and was really barely able to move.  Some old guy with a cane passed me in the isle going to the register. Haha. He dropped his keys and I instinctively bent down to get them and I let out this huge moan. Haha. People in there were like WTF is wrong with you?

Lesson: always carry ibu on these rides!