Bouldergeist at San Lee Park is an annual mountain biking race held as part of the Southern Classic Series.  I have wanted to race at San Lee for the last 2 years but did not have the guts or the skills needed (as in I wanted to race and not crash and burn on the famous rocks there).  But this year, with a half-marathon the day before and my biking much improved, I wanted to give it a shot so I signed up for Cat 2, Womens +30 age group.  I guess I could have signed up for Cat 3 (beginner) but it seemed like the pace levels of both groups were pretty similar so I just signed up for Cat 2.

Post-race! I can still stand.
Overall winner gets this big rock + cash!
A lot of fast people
Our heat started around 10:10 am and began at the bottom of a big-ass hill.  You had to race up this hill and then another little hill before entering the trails.  Needless to say, this was not the best start for me because I'm no good at fast acceleration and I was the second to last person up that hill.  (Note to self, really work on your hill repeats on a bike).  I caught up to some of the women once we were on the trail and even managed to go down the first rocky section (Bouldergeist?) successfully but then got stuck not being able to make the switchback because a girl was standing there with her bike (she was trying to be out of the way but it's a tight switch back!).  Still, I was happy I made it down the boulder without putting my foot down!  I tried really hard to keep up a good pace and did more of the logs and rocky sections than I have before and got past one girl who had much stronger cardio than me just by the mere fact that I could cut her off by going over the logs while she took the ride arounds.  That was the most interesting revelation to me during this race-my technical skills were getting really good but I still was no where near fast enough to catch up to those with stronger cardio.  Guys in Cat 3 started to catch up and there was one guy behind me that I wouldn't let pass until we finished a fast downhill and on the next section, I let him pass and he said "You were crazy on that downhill", I told him that was the only way to do it! You can't brake on these downhills!  I was doing pretty well until I noticed that my left shoelaces were untied. The 30 seconds or so it took me to tie them, the last woman in my age category passed me! And I never could catch up.  So I ended up being 6th of 6 7th of 7 and finishing in 1:29:29.  I was still pretty happy with my performance, I did better on many of the technical sections and didn't crash and had my strongest ride at San Lee to date.

I did learn one other thing- go fast enough that the juniors don't pass you. At one point with about 1-2 miles left, two little pipsqueaks passed me but then twice, they stopped and walked a section because they couldn't do it. First time- I stopped too because it was already to late for me to try the rock drop zone, the second time, they stopped at a freaking log and neither of those little kids thought to get out of the way even though I was right behind them. I was mean (it was not my proudest moment) and said "get out of the way", then I said "shit!" because I couldn't make it up the log now that I was trying to get over it without knocking them down, and then I apologized for cursing in front of them and went on my way. Luckily they didn't catch up to me.  It also turned out there was another woman right behind me when this happened and all she said was "Trail manners! guess they are still learning". I was doing better on the downhills then her but she kept beating me uphill so I let her pass and then 30 seconds later, saw her fall down on a turn.  She said she was okay so I went on my way.  After that, one other woman passed me and came out about 20 9 seconds ahead of me at the finish line which was back up the same damn hill we started on. She went for a magnificent attack up the hill, I just plodded my way up because I didn't feel any incentive to burn it up when I had nothing else left in the tank!

Post-race- I ate a Caramello bar I had been saving up and enjoyed some pizza at Mellow Mushroom.  I think I would do this race again but I seriously need to do some hard cardio. It seems like the key is to get a good headstart to beat the people who have little technical skills but that is easier said than done.


Anonymous said...

Congrats! What is "hard cardio"? I thought that's what you're already doing :-P

bigpathan said...

I thought so too but I'm still relatively slow compared to other Mtn bikers! Same is true for running also , it's going to take a lot more work to get "fast"!

bigpathan said...

Hard cardio: fast hill repeats, more intervals to be fast/explosive.

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