Posted: Wed Aug. 24, 2011 6:23 am
Competed in one of my favorite events this past weekend, teh Hampshire100. It is a long and hard event that takes you on a varied adventure around the Greenfield area. The weather was good this year, maybe just a bit warm later in the race. The course was in great shape, probably as good as can be expected.
Last year I attacked this event very aggressively from the start. I knew this year that strategy would not work, just not in as good of shape this time around. So the plan was to ride a pace I thought would I could maintain for 6 hours. Needed to place a big focus on nutrition and hydration right from the start. Make no mistakes, last year I made a couple wrong turns. And take no risks, was over aggressive on a rocky decent last year and flatted. Hopefully pulling all this together would provide a decent result.
Race started at 6:50 for the experts and I immediately went into wheel sucker mode. There are several miles at the start that lend themselves to drafting. Past experience told me where the first selection would probably occur, so I eased up into the top 10 just before this point. Sure enough the selection occurred and I was the last rider to make the cut, sitting 8th overall. Once the climbing started to get serious I drifted off the back, pace was just too high for my planned effort. Looking at the group ahead it appeared the guys right at the front were working too hard, the ones at the back were just hanging on, and the middle probably contained the true contenders for the win. I rode alone for awhile and then we hit the long rail trail section. For some reason I am really good at this part. On the long straights I could see the lead group way off in the distance. By the end of the rail trail they were only 20 seconds ahead. After the rail trail the terrain gets super steep and they were gone again. From mile 20 through 40 I am alone logging miles and taking care of me and the bike. A few spots that I would normally ride I walked just to minimize risk and stretch the back a bit. Then I turned a corner a I am no longer alone, my first fading rider is in site. Miles 40-55 are where the gains would occur. A cramping rider here, mechanical there, and a couple bonks moved me up to 4th overall. Then I started to develope stage 1 cramping and had to back off a bit. There are several short steep climbs in the last miles that almost threw me into full blown muscle lock, but everything just barely held together. Crossed the line in 5:31, good for 4th overall and 2nd in my age group. My time was less than 2 minutes off last year's time, but I was much more worn out this year. Quads are still very sore three days later. If you are looking to find your limits I strongly suggest giving the race a try, will make the VT50 seem easy.