Sunday, September 7, 2014

Barnburner - incomplete day

Off to Flagstaff for the Barnburner MTB.  It's a mountain bike race held on a bunch of forest roads just northwest of Flagstaff.  The 104 mile race that I signed up for is 4 laps of 26 miles each, around the Kendrick Mountain Wilderness.

Get there on Thursday and get my packet. Off the next morning to find where the event is going to be held. The instructions on the riders guide published online plainly say to take a right where 245 runs into 171.  So me and a bunch of guys in a truck with mtb bikes on it in front of me both did, and promptly managed to miss where the event is going to be held.  Only when we got west of the Kendrick area did we figure out what we had done.  Back to the intersection, take the left, then about 1/4 mile or so and take a right across a bunch of pasture and we were where we were supposed to be.

Got the bike out, rode about 5 miles or so in each direction, and then headed back to Flag.  As I was getting to the hotel a cloudburst came down, which was the same big rain that would turn the parking area at the event into a mudhole.

Went out to eat something on Fri night and was feeling really bad.  I have been at altitude before and still don't think that was it, but when I looked something up, the symptoms all seemed to match.  Long and short of it is that I wasn't sure at 8pm if I would even get up and go to the race in the morning or just go home.. I felt that bad.

4 am comes and I get up, say screw it, and head for the event.  No breakfast places open, so bananas, coffee, a fruit bar and a gel for breakfast.  Navigating my Subu through that field of mud was interesting, watching pickups in front of me spinning and turning 90 degrees in the mud !   The race start area was pretty muddy, and they cancelled the Lemans start normally held ... we just did a standing start at 7am right by the wooden gate that fronts FR 793.

My first lap felt pretty good, considering I was seriously thinking about packing it in the night before.  I finished up and took a detour after passing the timer, to my car and had some chips, a Coke and some other stuff.  Then back to the course.  I also dropped off my rain shell which I had for the first lap.  The sun was out, it was nice and warm and the course was drying out, just really pleasant.

My second lap also went pretty good.  Other than getting out of control on a descent and electing to just run off the road into the weeds rather than try to "save it" ( which worked well, by the way ) I didn't have any trouble.  Through the barn, and got a time ( which included the actual ride plus time between 1st and 2nd lap eating something.

Off and away from the car for the third lap.  It also seemed to go well, until big drops of rain began to fall and my rainshell was left in the car from the end of the 1st lap.   A pretty amateur mistake, made when I was trying to hurry back out.  So .. I got wet, as in really, really wet, along with being really, really chilled. We had a very cold rain, lots of hailstones ( little ones, but they stung ! ), and I rode pretty hard trying to generate some heat.

When I went through the barn for the period between the end of 3rd and the start of 4th, I had every intention of finishing, but I needed to go for the car again, to eat something and to try to warm up.  I was starting to shake a bit from the cold and I fired up the car to run the heater and try to warm a bit.  Was pretty sure they announced the cutoff time had been reached, and I was still at the car.  Technically I could have got back on the course, but I was still really cold and I kept the heater on all the way back to Flagstaff.

So.... two take aways ...  just keep the rain shell at all times, even if the sun is out, and for Barnburner, I noticed that lots of solo folks had a little support crew there with their goodies right outside the barn, nice and close to the course.

Next up, back to do the Cochise 164 mile ride again, along with Bike the Coast in Oceanside and El Tour de Tucson.  Lots to be done !

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