|Luck Number 100 for the 100-miler Open.|
I learned a few more things about endurance racing this year on my third bout with the unforgivable and fantastic True Grit singletrack. Every year I leave St George post-race completely demolished with a vow to never return. The Grit is a hard 100-miler to prepare for when you live in northern Utah where there is still snow on the ground through March. I knew going into this one I wasn't really ready to race 100-miles but I had already made the commitment to race so I was going to show up and see what happens.
Anyone with a competitive spirit would be lying if they didn't admit there is some part of them that would like to be up front mixing it up with the top-level endurance athletes. Watching these guys perform is a reminder of what it takes to ride at that level and the gifted athletes they are. Racing along side these top guys is kind of like a 50-yard-line seat at the Super Bowl for me. The fact that we can all line up together and do these type of events is part of what keeps me coming back.
This was my third year racing the Grit and it always goes pretty much the same way: I start getting ready in late December. I try to eat right, spend a lot of time on the trainer, plan the days and weeks meticulously, hope I don't get sick, I get sick, I recover, I build again, I have work commitments, I have family commitments, schedule compromises, and so on. Race day arrives and I hope I have prepared enough. I arrive in the dark, sort out my drop bags, spin around nervously for 30 min, chat a bit with friends, and line up.
The race director yells "GO!"
I cross the starting line, settle in behind the first 10 or so fast guys and spin out the first few miles as they slowly drift off the front. Almost every NUE race starts out this way for me and I am good with that. I love the experience and every endurance race is a race against myself, bad fortune, mechanicals, and the clock. I hurt, but I am happy as 12 weeks of dedication culminate as I cross the finish line. After a few days of rest and comfortably back in my day-to-day routine, I'm ready to do it all over again next year.
The script was pretty much un-changed this time around. The race was a steady state of forward motion and a blur of desert landscapes. I had a few crashes that cost me a bit of time. I cramped a bit after the 5 hour mark but that seems to happen almost every 100-miler so I was expecting it. I was worked over from the rough terrain but kept turning over the pedals through the finish line. I raced to the best of my ability and turned in a respectable time of 8 hours 13 min.
See you next year True Grit!
|Post race headed home|