Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cream Puff Recap

I feel physically better immediately after this race than I have ever felt after a big one. Maybe it was the “recovery” food I ate; two cheese burgers, a Pepsi, a plate of chicken stir fry with peanut sauce, and a Dairy Queen Blizzard in the two hours following the race. Yeah, I mowed some food down.

Quick race summary
- Finished in 13:28:00
- 108 miles with an ass-load of climbing
- One minor mechanical issue that cost me 5 – 7 minutes
- Fueling & hydration were great
- Very positive mentally throughout the race

Pre-riding the River Trail section

So why wasn’t my finishing time faster? The results have not been posted yet but I am guessing that my time will place me mid-pack of the finishers at best. About 30% of the field typically DNF this race. It was hot in the middle of the day so it would have been hard to stop at fewer aid stations for water. I keep coming back to the descents and the narrow rolling singletrack as my “weak link” in this race. I am really curious to see my time splits so I hope that Scott posts them eventually.

The course had four main climbs on buffed gravel roads plus some shorter singletrack climbs mixed in. Every time the Earth tilted up, I felt good. I would guess that I went over the first climb in the front 20% of the race. It was on the initial descent of the Tie Mountain Trail that I lost the biggest chunk of time. It felt as if the entire race passed me. I crashed at least four times (all minor) and lost my nerve on the downhill switchbacks which left me crawling and skidding my way down the remaining singletrack to the next climb. Despite this, I was very positive and enjoying the gorgeous trail that was frustrating me at the same time.

After rolling through the aid at the bottom we had an 18-mile gravel climb that we would do two laps on with more singletrack in between. The first time up, I passed a lot of riders who passed me on the singletrack and felt really good. The second time up it was getting hot but I was able to stay in the middle ring and pass even more riders. About 7 miles from the top there was another small aid station with a creek behind it and I jumped into the cold creek for a minute. This did wonders for my feet which were swelling in the heat and pretty tender at that point.

In a sick way, I was looking forward to the last gravel climb because I was feeling relatively good and knew that I would pass a few more folks. Plus, as the race went on I was getting better in the singletrack and I wanted another shot at it to redeem myself. My final climb went well; I passed a few more folks, and stopped at the final aid station at the top to grab a flask of Hammer Gel and more water. As I stopped next to my cooler the aid station manager straddled my bike’s front wheel and I can tell he was evaluating my condition. They told us in the pre-race meeting that if they think you need it, they will sit you down for a minute…or ten. As I am swapping out my flasks and bottle he was asking me a few questions and I answered without stopping what I was doing. This took about 30 seconds. When I was done he was still straddling my front tire and holding my handlebars so I looked him straight in the eyes so he would know I was ok and said, “Rock on brotha’, I need to go. Thanks for the help today” and he smiled as he moved to the side to let me by.

My best descending of the entire race was from mile 103 to mile 108. I was finally flowing a little although probably not all that fast. As I crossed the line, JayP, Mike Piker, and Gabe were there to greet me as they all had very solid races. Scott, the promoter, immediately shook my hand and handed me a “finisher’s cap” and I thanked him for putting on an awesome race.

The Cream Puff will be one of my “must-do” races for the foreseeable future. Oregon is beautiful, Scott puts on a great race, and the riding is very different from what we have here which makes it more interesting.


Lynda Wallenfels said...

Great race report and congrats on a superb race.

Anonymous said...

Nice write up dave. I too can't wait for the results to be posted. I'm really interested to see how this all went down on paper.

Thanks for taking the time to keep us informed.

Grizzly Adam said...

Man that one looks fun. Good race Dave!