It's taken me over a week to write this - I'm a total slacker. I'll start from the beginning but try to keep it short. The weekend didn't start out well - as I discovered I had a severely cracked seatpost on Thursday evening. Fortunately I had another post on hand and was able to fix the problem - but that did not leave me confident for the ride ahead.
Saturday morning came and I woke up feeling great - both the mind and legs felt sharp and ready to go. My plan for the ride was to try and finish in less than 12 hours. The gun went off at 6:11am and we were rolling (it starts in Marietta PA)
The ride doesn't start out easy - Chickes hill is about 2 miles in. The group took it's time up and over that hill and down through Turkey Hill. Shenks Ferry Rd is where everything changed. This particular road includes a nasty rise for about .5 miles. I simply accelerated to keep the same speed and found no one was able to go with me. I quickly caught the leader who broke away earlier and we were off and racing.
By the time we reached Holtwood Dam the other rider was obviously much stronger than I, so I felt it was best to ride my own pace and let him go (although I kept him between 8 and 15 minutes almost all day). So this meant that I would be riding the next 140 or so miles on my own if I wasn't caught. Before I knew it I was already rolling down Kirks Mill Rd (sight of my infamous breakdown last year) and arriving at the first Food Stop at the Octarora Reservoir.
At this point I was in total race mode. My rest stops consisted of rolling up to the van, exchanging my old bottles for two new ones, grabbing a quick bite to eat, and then hitting the road. Up until the last food stop at the Tree Top golf course 40 miles from the finish, the ride was relatively uneventful. This is where things started to come undone in the race for first.
After 135 miles on the bike and a total of about 20 minutes rest I was starting to hurt. I was told that I was 8 minutes out of first place (down 7 minutes from the last time check) so It was another quick stop and back on the road. But the effort was beginning to take its toll on my body.
By the time I got to the top of Old Hershey road I needed to stop and actually sit down for a little bit. This was my longest stop at 10 minutes. Being only 21 miles from the finish I knew I would make it, even if I had to craw into the school parking lot where we started. Once back on the bike I pretty much went to auto-pilot as I knew every road between me and the finish. To be honest I don't really remember much from the last miles as I was just focused on getting to the finish line.
After 10 hours and 42 minutes (of which only about 30 was due to stopping to rest) I rolled back into the school parking lot where I started, claimed second place, and happy to be finished. My expectations for this ride we to try and finish strong - not be locked in a battle for first place all day. So you can imagine how happy I am with this great result. I also need to give a shout out to my awesome support crew (Mom and Dad) - without their help I would never been able to put in the time I did.
Nightmare was one of my primary goals for the season and I'm glad that I was able to perform well. The next big goal is the Green Mountain Race in VT which is only about 3 weeks away. I am confident that I can keep this great form that I have right now until that time.
Also, the racing schedule just had a bunch of new additions by way of cyclocross races. I will be running 5 races in in four months starting September 19th (a few races will come as an official part the Richard Sachs team!!!!). As that time gets closer I will explain a little more about what cyclocross is and where the races are at!
Thanks for reading!