TLDR: So here’s the not so long of it – I “dnf’d” at my “A” race. Finishing only 58/100 miles. Beautiful scenery, bitter disappoint and friendships old and new…

My post from that day kinda sums it up:

It’s now 96 hours later and I am so ready to NOT rehash the whole story of woe. Instead, I thought I’d do my top 5 highlights, the top 3 things I am proud of, and the things I learned. There are no top five lowlights, there is just one, and you saw it above! So let’s get to it

Top 5 Weekend Highlights –

Highlight 5: The whole event;

It is awesome. The expo, the vibe, the staff and the course. (Only small complaint was late start time for the 100 miler, 9 am, really???) Here I am at the start of the race, that’s as good as that got for me 🙂

Highlight 4: The people you know, meet and see:.

Top Row From Left to right: Dave M, my b-school classmate. Dave, me and Dave’s old buddies Joe and Gary at camp before the race, great hanging and riding with you guys!. Me and Menlo Park Neighbor Sam, owner and founder of Speedhound, great to meet you, let’s ride sometime!

Bottom Row: Me with Willie the Weiner Dog with owner and 3rd place men’s finisher Alexey Vermeulen and my coach and friend Ruben Bacon in center. Fanboy pic of Winner Keegan Swenson, superstar and 3rd place women’s finisher Flavia Parks, a neighbor kinda from Pleasanton. Reggie Miller out of picture but there.

Highlight 3 – Hanging with Dave

So awesome to have a weekend to chat and reconnect with my good friend Dave. He was an amazing host in Denver, along with his wife Dana who is equally awesome, and he wired the camping process and supply from end to end. THANKS SO MUCH!!! Here’s a shot on the road the next day (see highlight 1)

Highlight 2 – Dave and Joe’s Race Day Finishes

As I lagged on the course, the texts from Dave showed me he was having a great day. Essentially riding at my race pace goal, while I was lagging behind struggling. Dave did amazing, here’s his results from the site:

And Joe did pretty well himself, finishing his first ever 100 miler (and he says last :)) in under 8 hours.

So happy for both of these guys. You killed it! And all of you were very chill with me after when I was feeling pretty low. (Gary was not riding the race btw, and did the Rabbit Ears pass ride solo, or as Dave insists did a Rabbit Ear, I don’t get it though) Goals for next year to finish and to beat Dave’s time?

Highlight 1 – Vail Pass Ride on Monday

I felt mentally and physically like shit Monday AM. Horrible night sleep reliving my DNF and even cramping a bit, but the guys insisted we break camp, drive to Frisco and ride Vail pass. I was nervous about trying to climb on my cramping quads, and just mentally beat. But the peer pressure was motivating and I could not say no. Thanks guys! Up to the summit of Vail pass is actually fully paved wide path from Frisco, an “easy” climb at like 3% average and 14 miles. While Gary looked for his bike rack lock key (Story for another time, but a good one), Joe and Dave patiently rode slowly up the climb as I was tender on the quads and worried I’d cramp on the way up. I didn’t I made it:

and we enjoyed the scenery as Gary hauled ass to join us at the summit despite missing a few lower gears due to a mechanical issue in the rear.

After a ripping descent back to Frisco, I was all smiles and realized that riding a bike is fun, after a day of suffering on Sunday. Thanks for not letting me bail guys.

Top 3 Things I am Proud

#3 – I was ready to go, at least aerobically. Even at the lowest points, and when I stopped at 58 miles I wasn’t physically tired. That was one of the things that made it hard. My aerobic shape was ready, but the cramps (due to heat, altitude, dehydration most likely, position???) did me in. My engine was running great, but the pistons were literally freezing

#2 I made it to mile 58!, 30 + miles cramping. I did the best I had in me that day. Despite literally leg locking cramps which started at mile 25!, I gutted it up 3500 feet of climbing and made it more than halfway. Woulda been easy to quit sooner. And I felt ready too several times.

#1 I did quit when I did – At mile 58 I was at almost 5.5 hours with over 42 miles to go. It’s slower than I had ever been. But even more importantly, every time I made any effort I started cramping again. I was really emotionally spent. Several times before making it to the hydration stop at 58, I found myself losing concentration. In hindsight, the best case was to suffer for another 4.5 – 5,5 hours and finish in almost 11 hours and be absolutely dead, that is If I did not crash or go into full body cramping. It was just not safe. Despite the tears, I think it was the right call. That doesn’t lessen the disappointment, but I am trying to use it to strengthen my resolve to come back next year (if I get a spot) to finish what I started. Net net – Hard but right call

Things I learned or are still figuring out:

  1. Gotta figure out the cramping. My hypothesis now is I was dehydrated at the start line, and even though I was drank over 6 liters of water in 5 hrs, exasperated by the extreme heat (90+ degrees all day) and altitude, I just never caught up. You CAN’T DRINK ENOUGH, AND OVER DRINK THE DAY BEFORE
  2. It doesn’t go as planned, yeah i knew that, but a hard reminder.
  3. Biking is fun (thanks Vail pass) and I need to keep it fun, even if I strive to improve. Maybe I put too much on this, I dunno still…

Well thanks for indulging me and reading about my fail! I still had a great weekend, and it still stings. They say biking is the hardest sport out there, and takes you high and low. I definitely felt that both mentally and physically. Next up is some easy riding and the local “Tour De Menlo” 100K fun ride and then a 2+ week 25th annivesry trip with my amazing wife Joel’ and without my bikes.

As for Steamboat, it’s still unfinished business for me. Hope to see your next year to finish what I started!

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