Saturday, May 10, 2014

Stottlemeier 30

This was a great weekend. I've never entered a bike race before and this one was a great one to start out on. Unfortunately, it wasn't a great weekend to start my illustrious mountain bike racing career.

Another thing I've never done is ride a 30 mile stretch on a bike. Mountain or otherwise. Now, as I've trained for this race I've done some pretty good rides. A couple of months ago I did 17, then two weeks ago I did 18. Last Saturday I set a goal to do 20 in Banner Forest, which I did. The 18 mile ride was in the same trail system that the race was held in.

So last year I was finally able to get the full suspension mountain bike that I've wanted for years. I rode (and still ride) the crap out of it. Amid this new excitement of biking again I became aware of an annual race held in my area, the Stottlemeier 30/60. It's part of the NW Epic Race Series ( It's called "30/60" because you can either ride 30 miles or 60 miles (in case 30 miles on a mountain bike isn't enough for you).

Well, I did it. I was aiming for finishing in some other place than last, and I did. So all in all, it was a success. It took me about 5-1/2 hours to finish, about an hour longer than I thought it would. But man, it was a soup sandwich. The last few days have been pretty rainy, even for here. While it wasn't actually raining during the race, the trail was something that would leave someone with discerning taste for mud a little misty eyed.

There were many sections where I struggled for balance and continually felt my rear wheel slip with each pedal stroke. There was this one time where there was a log laying longwise in the trail. My front tire went on one side and my back tire went on the other. It only worked because my back tire kept slipping along it while finding a little traction in the mud. After about 5 miles I let some air out of my tires, and that helped a lot.

In terms of mileage, the muddy sections were probably only about 25%, but they easily took 60% of the time. And what time wasn't sucked up in the mud was sucked up in the 2500 feet of climbing. The really great thing, though, is that lots of the muddy sections were also stiff climbs. You got the best of both worlds. I think an accurate description would be "thankless toil". I have never done anything so physically demanding as this. The mud resisted your every effort.

But, at last I reached the finish line where Chelsea and the kiddo came to meet me. I kept them waiting, because as I said, it took me much longer to finish than I thought it would. Afterwards we headed out for some dinner. You would think that I would be famished after burning 1922 calories (as estimated by Strava). The truth is that I didn't really feel that good. I still don't. This week I've had an upset stomach and luckily I got to bring that with me to the race. Also, I've never had so much cramping on a single day. Good times.

So, I should really be in bed right now, so I think that's all for tonight.