Wow. It's been a long time since I've written one of these. Yesterday I participated in my first race in near (if not over) two years! Time flies, etc.
Yesterday wasn't a traditional mountain bike race, it was a duathalon. God's Country Duathalon, 4 mile trail run, 12 mile mountain bike loop. Before you go getting all impressed at my multi-sport abilities: I didn't run, I raced a relay. A friend of ours is training for the Lincoln Marathon, which is next week, so the 4 mile trail run was a nice warm-up for the real festivities.
If yesterday's run is any indication, she'll do great next week. I was hoping for a sub 40 minute time and she came in at a touch over 35 minutes. I knew there was at least one co-ed team in front of us, so I was off. The River Trails are really fun for 29'ers. You get in the big ring and never leave it. The lowest gear I hit the whole race was 44x28. It's a really ripping course.
We did a lap and a half. The first lap I picked off at least 30 riders. Most of 'em were solo, but I saw a few 700 numbers on legs as I went by. It felt amazing to be riding against a clock that wasn't on my handlebars again. It's been way too long for that feeling.
I wasn't running a clock, so I don't have the exact time, but I believe I turned the 8 mile lap in a bit under 35 minutes. The half lap was good too. Before I knew, I'd covered the two miles to the turn around and was heading back. I got caught up in a few places where riders were starting to pile up which lost a bit of time, but everyone's out there to race, so ya can't complain. Once I hit the levy for the two mile leg back, I turned it up. There was one guy about 200 yards in front of me that I couldn't close down any gap on, but I pulled in another 6 or 7 riders there too. The 29'er wheels with a 44 big ring really leg ya crank it out on those long straight aways.
We ended up with 2nd place. I was 51 seconds off of closing down the gap to first place. Really makes me wonder if that wasn't the guy who was up in front of me that I didn't catch on the levy. If that's the case, we were about 100' away from each other on the singletrack and I was closing. Too bad there wasn't more single track. :-)
I'm happy though. I felt strong and pulled us into 3rd place in the overall relay and 2nd in the co-ed. Out of some 9 or 10 relay teams, I'll take it.
With the leg only being 12 miles, it felt really short. The last race I did was the twelve hour race in Gallup as part of a team. I think I put in right at six hours on the bike that day. There was a mountain bike race after the duathalon, and though my legs still felt good, I knew I didn't have that kind of juice in 'em for two short races. Now, had this one gone for another 12 or even 24 miles, I'd have been stoked.
It's nice to see that the legs are still there, even with all of the neglect and abuse I've given them in the last few years. The nice thing is that I really think my lungs are just high altitude only at this point. I pushed my legs a few times into the red zone yesterday, but my heart and lungs were in great shape. I don't think it'd take much to get back into race shape again.
Hopefully, this won't be the last of these for the year. I have a few races in mind I'd like to make, just a matter of everything lining up properly.