Friday, July 6, 2012

TOE 2012

The year of races continues with the Test of Endurance (TOE) on June 16. It was the first mountain bike race event I have ever been in and as it turns out, I made all the classic rookie mistakes. I was part of the Old Men Couch Potatoes team and we trained for this ride by doing longer and longer rides which included doing several course rides (one lap). So I was feeling very comfortable going into the race.

The day started bright and sunny.  I watched the weather report and for most of the time leading up to the TOE it looked like it was going to be overcast and damp. But on race day the sun was out with a forecast in the 70's. I took my brother Darin to the race at 5:30 for his 6:00 a.m. start of the 100 race (I was only doing the 50), and then came back at 9:00 a.m. for our 10 a.m. start.

There were 170 people signed up, and that was my first mistake, not riding my race. I'm not a racer, and I don't climb fast, and I stop at the top of climbs and catch my breath. In this case, with the temperature almost 30 degrees warmer than any ride that year (it was the hottest day of the year), I didn't follow my ride plan. At the rolling start I caught caught up and went out to fast with the peleton. Then I didn't stop to settle at the top of the first two climbs, and by the 3rd of 6 on each lap, I had been in the red zone to much. I got very light headed and thought I was going to pass out, from then one every time I started to climb, I would get dizzy and my skin was clammy.

I was eating, drinking, and taking electrolytes, but I didn't rest long enough (my guess) to get things under control. I could fly down the downhill, but bonked on the climbs. It went that way for the first lap (approx 25 miles). Two of the other riders on the team also were in bad shape and started cramping really bad. The three of us found ourselves together and limped in doing one lap.

While we felt bad, it was a great experience.  Mike Ripley and his team at Mudslinger Events ( do an amazing job of running a first class event. The two aid stations had all the food and drink you would need, bike mechanics, medical staff, etc. I just wish more of his events were on Saturday. The Couch Potatoes came away with 4 age/class awards, including Darin for his 2nd place in his age group for the 100 (he did it in just under 12 hours).

Redemption for me, came two weeks later when a group of the Old Men did the Tour de Blodget (the TOE again). We did our first lap under cloudy skies in about 3 hours and I felt great.  I knew I could do a second (though I was still very tired, the 23 mile gate to gate TOE course has 5000 feet of climb), and we were scheduled to do it, but I just didn't want to spend another 4 hours doing it.  Turns out that was a great decision as the skies opened up and it rained hard for the next 3 hours and we would have been right in the middle of it.

So I learned a lot of lessons about myself how to do a race, but the main lesson was I'm not a racer, I'm a rider, and I live in a great place to ride, with great people to ride with. Next stop is the C2C.
The Old Men Couch Potatoes
 (less Darin who was on the course)

The rolling start - my first mistake

Darin on the course of the 100

The downhills were great
As were some of the climbs
Who's in better shape, the 50 or the 100 guy?

1 comment:

  1. Congrats man, I totally hear ya and did my 1st race this year - the mudslinger - talk about mud and rain. As a rider and not a racer it was great to do but you hit all the points about doing your own ride.

    See ya on the trails

    Damien, Brownsville