Monday, February 4, 2019


      The third annual Pace Bend Ultra was my first "race" of the season.  I really categorize this as a workout ride since there are no age groups, thus giving me zero chance to actually be competitive.  But a few folks were racing.  There are multiple categories, 24-hour, 12-hour, 6-hour solo and various teams, and the one I did, the 3-hour solo.  I did the inaugural race as a two-man team with Jim Hungerford in the 6-hour team (see the Feb 2017 post on that).  That day was cold and wet and a miserable ride.  Yesterday was much better, with warm (65-70 degrees) weather, dry road, but a fairly stout south wind.
     I opted for my time trial bike and helmet, Texas A&M kit, including shoe covers.  Now, at my speed I doubt the shoe covers help much, but they kept my shoe strap from flapping (shoes to be replaced in the next day or two), and gives the illusion of being a real time trialist.  Learning from the first Ultra, I again switched out cassettes, giving me a 32-tooth which came in quite handy.  But I had a serious lapse of planning when it came to hydration.  In the ten years I've had my Felt I've never had a water bottle cage on it, mainly because I've never done more than 40k.  For the long races I use a kid's Camelbak which holds 26 ounces.  So my plan was to make a quick pit stop and refill the Camelbak.  The A&M jersey is a pull-over and the Camelbak was under the jersey.  I was halfway through the race when it occurred to me that would take a lot of time.  So as I cruised round the course I decided to just thrust the replacement fluid water bottle into my jersey pocket.  More on that later.
     My goal for the three hours was to do eight laps.  Each lap is 6.21 miles.  Last Friday I did the Senior Games 10k Time Trial in an unofficial 18:20.  But that was all out for one lap and there wasn't any wind to speak of.  180 minutes divided by 8 equals 22.5.  My warm-up lap took 24:11 so I was fairly confident I could achieve eight laps.  Of course, that left very little for stopping, but the plan was not to stop.  You can see that I had forgotten about the hydration issue.
     Eleven of us started this race, six others were signed up but didn't show.  It didn't take long for the fast guys to move out, but I managed to pass three or four within the first couple of miles.  I took it out fairly strong and was happy to be in a tt-tuck going into the wind.  The big downhill was into the wind and I was hitting 34-36mph.  On Friday I did 39.  After a left turn onto Grisham Trail there is a strength-busting grade and experience has shown I should take it easy, so this was my recovery section.  As it turned out, my first lap was 18:56 so I was quite please that I'd put three and a half minutes in the bank.  I backed off a bit, but still was only thirty-seven seconds slower, so another three minutes in the bank.  I lost another thirty seconds, but now had about seven minutes for down time.
     Truthfully, I was happy as a clam with my riding.  After the fourth lap I started sitting up when the wind was behind me because my neck was really complaining.  After the fifth lap I stopped at the car and grabbed a Gu and shoved the water bottle in the back pocket.  Gave back a minute and a half.
     For laps seven and eight, rather than chance something happening while I fumbled with the water bottle, knowing I had time, I just stopped and drank up.  Between stops and just going slower, especially the last lap since I knew I'd made the time limit, I managed to lose a few spots to those who I passed at the beginning.  Really don't know how that happened, but the final results show me in 10th place.  The two leaders did ten laps, the next three did nine, five of us did eight, and one did seven.
     But for solace to my ego, I turned to Strava.  It appears that for all the segments, I am atop the leader board for my age group.  And just for grins, compare the times for the next two younger ages.
As I type this, my hips are killing me and my wrists are swollen.  When I turned off the Garmin yesterday it indicated I needed 65 hours of recovery.  I'll probably do an hour easy sometime today.