ORAMM: Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell (hardest race to date)

Spontaneously, as I tend to do, I signed up for ORAMM in North Carolina. I haven’t ridden my Top Fuel near enough, and it was time to see how she could handle some gnarly single track both up and down. Too bad I wasn’t near enough trained for the distance which made for a long day (7 hours and 34 minutes to be exact). My plan was just to suffer through it with a friend.

I was intrigued by the description:

The Off-Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell is a 60 mile mostly off road Bicycle route with 10,500 feet of climbing. From Old Fort you climb up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and just below Mt. Mitchell on beautiful Forest Service roads and unbelievable North Carolina single track. Mt. Mitchell peaks at 6684 ft and is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. The start/finish in the town of Old Fort sits at 1400 ft. Most of the climbing is on Forest Service roads while most of the single track points downhill! Link

But, I learned fairly quick into the ride that 10,500+ feet of climbing is nothing to ignore.

I had a good night sleep (better than usual before a race) because I traveled with a friend, Star, who helped with the getting to bed early. We carb loaded the night before with some friends and had a pretty good breakfast at the hotel.

The next morning had no real issues and made it to the start dropping off our bags for the sag stops. I only chose to leave anything at 2 of them.

At the start, a lot of pavement that was a nice high cadence warm-up for me. The 30 tooth was a better choice than the 32 that I had. In fact, I’m just going to keep the 30 on for awhile. I tried to keep Star in my sight because I figured she’d have a good pace, and I didn’t want to go out blowing up in the beginning. It was going to be a long day, and I wanted to stay at about 70-80% effort throughout.

Finally entering single track, I was in a rhythm even though there were some log jams at switchbacks.

There came a point where I had a fluke thing happen, a bee flew into my mouth and stung me in the back of the throat. My initial thought was one of anaphylaxis and throat swelling and how this would be one crazy way to die in a race. You can’t help but think the worse sometimes. I choked and coughed to get that stupid bee out and spit the bee out. I waited on swelling all the while pedaling and thinking how crazy this was. My throat felt swollen in the back right and burning, but I could tell it wasn’t a direct sting. A doctor riding with us a few minutes later told me if it isn’t swelling right now 10 minutes later, I’d be ok. I took his word for it and put it out of my mind. I only was reminded of it when I drank something. I hope this never happens again.

During one descent I rode off the trail but hopped back on. I definitely need more downhill runs to work on relaxing! I had moments of relaxing, but for the most part remember one guy following me telling me good job but that he was making sure to NOT take the lines I was taking. Ha! He was right, I was constantly reprimanding myself out loud with, “Wow, Beth. Crappy line.” Oh well. That is what happens when you don’t pre-ride a course a few times. Lines are hard to find for me the first go.

At the 1st rest stop, I refilled my Osprey with three bottles as I had been drinking quite a bit! I was ahead of the 1 bottle per hour goal I had for myself.

Curtis Creek Climb was the never ending climb separated from the Blue Ridge Parkway by a rest stop (#3). I saw people walking and taking breaks throughout Curtis Creek, but I just chose to keep going at what felt like a snail’s pace and a cadence so slow that my legs started to fatigue near the top. I refilled 2 bottles at the top. I was still doing ok in hydration but hadn’t needed to pee which probably pointed to heading into dehydration.

Heartbreak Ridge was interesting, to say the least. I’d like to go back and learn all the lines because it was quite interesting trying to get some kind of flow going. I felt as though I’d need new brakes after the race. The hecklers were hilarious. Luckily, they were taking a break from really making comments, or maybe it was the pained expression with the roadie helmet that made them pause. We crossed some tracks were some guy yelled at me for being too close to him crossing the tracks (you had to walk) and I just ignored him for the most part. It felt a little as though he was irritated a woman would pass him. I passed him anyway. There are a lot of dynamics on a trail as a woman, especially in a race that is 90% men, and you get different reactions when passing men. I just had my music playing and when an uncomfortable situation happened, I ¬†just put it out of my mind. Everyone was fatigued at 50 miles anyway.

I finished the descent and headed back into Old Fort with a former Ironman (saw the tattoo on the calf) hoping for a sub 7-hour finish (though not trained) and ended up with a 7:34. I was proud of the time for my first attempt. The Ironman validated my thoughts as this was harder than a full Ironman (I’ve only done a half Ironman but was harder than that, for sure). Definitely could be the case considering how I feel 5 days later. I’m still a little bit off in the IT band area.

I finished with a 4th master’s women, and 14/23 overall women and 155/290 male and female finishers total. Not sure how many DNFs there were. It was the course for DNFs I am sure.

I said I never wanted to see ORAMM again at the finish.

A couple of hours later said I would do it again after eating and sitting in the river afterward.

I found one picture – and it almost looks like I was “just” about to smile at the finish line sign.

 

Snake Creek Gap 2017: a recap

January 7th rolled around bringing with it ice. I was ready for the race and ready to beat last year’s time. I knew by those registered that I needed to focus on ME and my time and not trying to win or get on the podium. Sometimes I get wrapped up in who is racing rather than just going faster myself. One thing I am learning this year and this past fall: I am my own competitor. I am racing myself. 44-years old is no joke, and every year I have to do more and more before it comes down to age where I cannot really compete. Because of that, I tend to work harder and harder because I am running out of time to see what I can do physically. It wouldn’t be so if more women raced, but seems like the older women get, they lose interest or have too much going on.

 

I attempted to make it to SCG the morning of the 7th. I talked myself out of it somewhere along East Brainerd Road and turned around to go home and walk home because of the ice. I settled on almond pancakes, coffee, and playing in the ice with my son. My daughter wasn’t interested in it.

So, I lost the chance of the belt buckle this year.

February 11th arrived for the 2nd SCG and the finale.

And the weather was perfect.

Ron shuttled me to the start which really helped the race nerves more than anything. Last year I was a ball of nerves. This year, I was just ready to get it over with. I have not had time to get down there to ride the course prior to the race, but I figured that was ok. It is a bit remote and a bit of a drive, and it takes a whole day to make the trip, ride it, and get home. Pretty much.

The first hour of the race, I went out pretty hot running about 90% effort. The weather was warm. I didn’t really get cold in the mid to upper 40-degree weather. I didn’t burn it on the climbs, and I certainly didn’t handle the gravel descent well and saw Jen fly past me like a bystander watching a race. I love watching other women handle fear on a descent so much. It’s an area that seems to grip me at times and at other times I am ok. need more mental training I stopped maybe 2-3 times for seconds to let someone pass or because I didn’t plan my line right, but no stupid mistakes with too much clothing or freezing drive train.

I crossed the road to SCG at 1:52. I was ahead of my time a little bit. I felt pretty energized because of it. I mean we are talking 4 minutes faster than last year, but I will take it. I am such an endurance steady rider. Kind of like the turtle that is chugging along at a pace, and if you aren’t careful, I will sneak up – kind of rider. I really want to be the rabbit, but rabbits bonk, too.

What I remember most about this race is that I had some fabulous tunes. I trusted my nutrition which I didn’t nearly consume as much as I should have which leads me to a later issue I encountered the next week after this race… fatigue, both physical and mental. I enjoyed my Trek Top Fuel so much. Doug, at Scott’s Bikes, was right when he told me how great this bike would be for me. It handles well. The tires were handling every rock well, and I cleaned some sections I have never done before. It is light and really made the ride great. I remember bombing (my version of bombing is not really bombing) down the descent before the creek crossings, and I LOVED it. Hey, I hit 22.2 mph downhill. This is PROGRESS.

Every single section after SCG seemed to pass so quickly. There was not the usual mental questions I had with where is this landmark and that landmark with the race seemingly going on forever. Places CLICKED by and mentally I was fine trucking along. I always had someone to chase, and I liked that aspect. Seems like last year I rode alone more.

The wall was a pain, but not nearly as long as last time. I wasn’t behind anyone so it was ok. Walkie walk.

After that, it was fun. I was really trying to beat a 4-hour mark, but realized soon I was on pace to do what I had said out loud, “I want to finish in 4:15 or less.”

So I had to at LEAST do that.

And soon I was out in the open and was ready for the last descent that used to be the part I dreaded… and I flew like the WIND!

Just went almost 40 mph down Dug Gap. He was drafting earlier ūüėČ
I passed some dude on a bike who looked pretty fit, and afterward, he told me he drafted off of me and had to pedal to hang on. Who knew this fearful downhill girl could hit almost 40 mph on a mountain bike paved downhill descent?

I did!!

Need to tackle the mountain switchback downhill on a road bike next.

Snake Creek Gap Finale:

1 154 2 04:54:54 Hamlin Katie 34 Women 29 and Under -34 Mile Sorella Cycling
2 294 2 04:58:32 Russell Molly 34 Women 29 and Under -34 Mile Spindle
3 187 2 05:15:32 Mohn Megan 34 Women 29 and Under -34 Mile
4 123 2 DNF Cornett Kayse 34 Women 29 and Under -34 Mile Union College
1 198 2 03:37:39 Nielson Jen 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile SouthPaw Cycles / Liv
2 245 2 04:14:26 Childre Angie 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Childre Nissan
3 279 2 04:15:52 Lofgren Beth 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Scott’s Bicycle Centre
4 222 2 04:21:23 Snyder Amy 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Motion Makers Bike Shop
5 300 2 04:31:15 Simpson Loretta 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Traxxion Dynamics
6 276 2 04:38:04 Braddock Jennifer 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile
7 261 2 04:40:53 Cross Kim 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Sorella Cycling p/b Hincapie Sportswear
8 190 2 04:51:46 Morrow Mary 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Steel City She
9 278 2 05:22:34 Isaac Mary 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile SCO/BIKE ZO
10 257 2 05:22:38 Barry Beth 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Taco Mamacita
11 164 2 05:38:08 Jackson Eden 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile
1 220 2 03:59:14 Sickler Mary 34 Women SingleSpeed – 34 Mile GearONE
2 272 2 05:22:29 Ragland Grace 34 Women SingleSpeed – 34 Mile Teva Neuroscience

4th overall female in the 34 mile

3rd place in women 30 and over


 

Big Ring Challenge (Jack Rabbit Campground)

Muddy day at Big Ring 2015
Muddy day at Big Ring 2015

This is my third year in a row to race the Big Ring Challenge. Last year was a muddy mess. I remember lots of peanut butter mud and lots of repairs to the bike afterwards. I enjoy racing the team much more than 3-hour or 6-hour solo. I like that hour of rest in between and no camelback on the laps, but this year took on the 3-hour series. Next year, I’d like to return to Big Ring Challenge if I’m not working and do a team again.

Anyway, this year I rode with Noel up on Saturday morning and had plenty of time to wait on an egg white delight at McDonald’s (forgot breakfast), unload and time to warm up. It was nice not having to rush as I usually do. Eric and Mike were already there and saw Ron, too, who races with my husband. I did have time to pick up Noel’s bike and notice the difference in weight. Oh, snap! I want that bike.

The kids’ race was underway and the weather was warming up. We started out with a fog hanging in the area, but it dissipated quickly as the sun took over. We have been in the middle of a straight run of 90 plus degree days and I had a feeling that the course would be dry and slick unlike the Black Bear Rampage the week before.

We had the mandatory riders’ meeting and saw Star prior to the beginning. I assumed she was doing the team and hoped I would be able to hang out with her after the 3-hour race was over, but she was doing the 6-hour solo. Torture!

I had time to warm-up and find a bathroom at least three times prior to the start. Nervous bladder hits again. I carried about 72 ounces of water and 7 scoops of my custom made Infinit. I had a Honey Stinger waffle and a Honey Stinger gel in my back pocket, too.

Oh yeah, I carried a chain tool this time and a quick link along with a tube and CO2, etc.

The 6-hour racers started at 10:00 and we started at 10:15. The first 0.4 miles was pavement. I learned immediately that I did not have the right chainring in the front. It’s called Big Ring for a reason, folks, but I was still running my 50% used up chain with two quick links back-to-back. My heart rate never increased much in the beginning, and so it was evident I was holding back. I watched Noel pull away along with many others. I am not sure why I can’t seem to be more competitive in the beginning. Maybe I’m missing fast-twitch muscles?

Lap 1 had a lot of frustration mainly because of the usual trying to pass people. At one point, a couple of guys were behind me and a man and kid in front of me. The two behind me were getting impatient and tried to pass me several times as I was trying to pass the two in front of me. Finally, after many attempts and overexerting myself stopping and going, I passed the two in front of me and the guy behind me passed me. There is always a lot of wasted energy on the table with the passing game. My cadence was higher than in the past, my heart rate averaged higher than I would have liked maxing out at 180. The ole’ ticker was the only thing holding me back because my legs were ready to go. My heart was not.¬†2016_chain-busters_big-ring-challenge-1832-zf-5026-20250-1-001

Lap 2 I hit a rhythm. My heart rate was still climbing averaging out at 170 or so. I was feeling it. Eric and Mike passed me I think on the 2nd lap.

Lap 3 I was ready to be done. Then I saw Ron Marcus. The Village Volkswagen blue and yellow kind of sticking out in a sea of mountain bike outfits. Oh but I gotta beat Ron. Yes, my head kept saying it over and over. Beat Ron. Some guy in front of me was going around Ron and so I did, too. “Hey Ron,” I think I said. What I was thinking was, “Hey Ron, you gonna let me beat you?” Maybe I said it? He said he was going to hang on to my wheel but he didn’t. We were climbing.

On the descent, I let up because that’s what I do and Ron passed me on a switchback on the downhill. Dang it.

And so I attempted to sprint in following him and telling him he better pedal because I was going to catch him.

Ron beat me by seconds. It sure made the ending more fun!

Well until I saw he was riding a rigid.

3 Hour Female Race (because I like to see all of them lined up): this includes novice, base, sport and expert women:

  1. Beth Lofgren – Lap 1:¬†54:49.46; Lap 2:¬†52:56.07; Lap 3:¬†54:54.30 — total time¬†2:42:39.83 (3 laps)
  2. Christine Grant – Lap 1:¬†55:45.92; Lap 2:¬†56:04.02; Lap 3:¬†55:54.57 — total time¬†2:47:44.51 (3 laps)
  3. Bianca Pearson Рtotal time 2:53:09.84 (3 laps)
  4. Kelly Gwin Рtotal time 2:53:14.41 (3 laps)
  5. Michele Allgire Рtotal time 2:54:40.64 (3 laps)

The rest of the field did 2 laps or 1 lap – 9 more ladies. So out of 14 ladies… I had the best time, and I’m happy about that. I do know next year I will do 6-hour if I can make any of the races. Big Ring will be top on my list.

I cannot wait to see how a Trek Top Fuel handles that course.

 

SEC #2 Green Gobbler (Chain Buster Racing)

2016_Green_Gobbler-1005-(ZF-10428-20249-1-005)Chain Buster Racing’s website says, “Our biggest race of the year, the Green Gobbler is held at the 1996 Olympic mountain bike venue: the Georgia International Horse Park.” Another course I had never seen or ridden. The week before proved to be a little trying in the Lofgren household. My oldest came down with a pretty serious stomach virus that hit on Thursday evening with a fever and vomiting on Friday. Friday night landed us in a clinic in the evening upon his insisting. I figured I would take him since he was begging to see a doctor. I guess at the age of 7, he was serious though I knew there is not a lot you can do about a stomach virus but just wait it out and use a lot of bleach. We ended up ruling out appendicitis purely out of “just in case” because I knew it was nothing other than one of the -virus (entero-, roto-, adeno-, etc…) but decided to waste a good six hours and sleep that I needed for Saturday. Kids come first.2016_Green_Gobbler-789-(ZF-10428-20249-1-004)

I ended up with 4.5 hours of sleep which is horrible for me. I knew I was going to be digging super deep and didn’t expect to feel great. I caught a ride down to the venue with a couple of friends and immediately noticed the humidity. I kept with the usual mL/hr of fluid and should have upped it. Hindsight.

I watched the 6 hour people speed off and felt my heart racing before it began. Finally it was our turn, and we were off. I had positioned myself up close to the front only to let fast people pass me in the open field part hoping that I didn’t start out too slow, but I did. I was sluggish. I always go through this self-talk during the start of a race where it is almost like I have to talk myself into continuing and you will settle out. Calm down. Spin. Breathe. Get lost in your music. Go.

2016_Green_Gobbler-511-(ZF-10428-20249-1-003)I loved the beginning. Flow, and lots of flow. I was able to really let go more than usual and my bike felt like a part of me. This is one reason I really want to find a carbon superfly frame and keep my stuff. I just love the design of the superfly FS. I am so resistant to change! There were two big climbs on each lap, and the first climb was a stinger. My heart rate hit 189, and I almost panicked. I had thoughts of cardiac stress tests and pain. There were always people gathered at the top catching their breaths. It was seriously quite the climb.

The second climb was more open and a stinger in itself.

Every lap magnified the pain more and more on those climbs. I saw a couple huge snakes. The creeks were fun – I would just completely let go as fast as I could go and kind of bomb through them hoping I wouldn’t flat.

I ended up being fairly steady lap to lap but definitely felt I wasn’t 100% healthy this time. I still ended up 1st in Sport 3 hr, and I’ll take that! Chain Busters puts on a great race, and I loved this course so much more than Tribble Mill.

2016_Green_Gobbler-510-(ZF-10428-20249-1-002)

 

The Snake Creek Gap Time Trial Finale

All week I had focused on the impending cold weather that was to peak just in time for the Snake finale. I haven’t been doing a lot of rides outdoors like last year and so I knew I wasn’t really used to riding in the 20 degree weather. I know I drive my biking friends crazy with constant questions about what to wear and what to drink. Forgive me. I am just not wanting to finish knowing I made a huge error, but this is how I learn… making mistakes and taking notes. This time with Zack’s help and the Taco Mamacita Hincapie lecture earlier, I may have a handle on it.

I screwed up some of the timing of my training leading up to the race because I have started running and maybe it played into the day as well. Can I please have a time machine to take me back to when the Chattanooga Half Ironman opened and NOT sign up? I still haven’t started swimming again since May last year and have no desire right now. Even with the TT bike Jeff had built up for me, I am just ambivalent. Maybe it’s the fatigue from the Snake. I don’t know. I don’t want to train to run or swim right now. I only have 3 months to go for that pain. I digress.

I arrived at Dry Creek cold as I knew I’d be and was thankful I had spent the time the day before preparing everything. All I had to do was put my shoes on, put my helmet on and go to the bathroom a couple of times. Oh, and pay the $5 fee to park.

I checked out what others were wearing. I looked comparable. Maybe. There were a few tough guys wearing shorts. I wonder if they are actually human.

I keep checking the time and things are going well.

Finally, it’s time to take off and had a few last minute adjustments with my layering and hand warmers in my gloves. The Hincapie balaclava was a superb choice I could tell.¬†I opted to carry 2 L Infinit mix plus 1 bottle on the bike of the same. I also carried 3 oz of pickle juice, a Honey Stinger Waffle and a couple of gels.

I was off.

I did not feel strong but lethargic. The cold was real, and I had been out there the week before with Christine and knew the pain ahead. I wanted that feeling of January where I felt fresh, but the cold was interfering with my breathing. My legs felt the sting past the portable bridge and I set my mind on concentrating on my playlist and making time to beat my January time. Then, well, I learned that iPod shuffle means just that. My music wasn’t in order. It made me laugh. Shuffle, after all. I made it to the top of the first real climb (John’s Mountain) and did my version of bombing down which is slower than I would like and continued on to Snake Creek Gap. Here is a write-up of the first part along with a map. I made it to Snake Creek Gap around the 1:56 mark and knew I was behind. My plan was to not stop and so I continued into the climb out of Snake Creek Gap feeling the burn.

I descended down into the valley prior to Stover’s Gap and crossed the three creeks and noticed my derailleur started acting weird and I couldn’t pedal. I was almost to Stover’s Gap and had to stop and try to unfreeze my drivetrain. Mine was more about the design of my power meter with leaves and debris mixed with freezing water.

The Wall was brutal this time.

Once I got it going, I could tell my legs were not in it like before. I ate a frozen Honey Stinger waffle. I kept spinning and moving but ended up finishing 7 minutes slower which gave me a 3rd place finish in the Women 30 and older category. I’m glad I was able to get a Scott’s jersey up on the podium! Noel finished 2nd in the 17 miler and Christine ended up 1st in the 17 miler. There are some strong ladies racing, but I would love to see more women entering races!

The Snake is the hardest thing I have ever done in mountain biking and I can’t wait for next year. One of these days, I hope to do a sub-4 hour 34-miler for this race. I have a lot of work to do to get there. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to ride for Scott’s and that we had no precipitation on either race this year.

 

 

 

My First Snake TT 2016 (34 miler)

Last year, I wanted to ride in the Snake, but had surgery and was still in recovery mode. I had heard it was one of the toughest races around the area, and I like a challenge. For me, it wouldn’t be about winning but about FINISHING.

Fast forward to 2016, and it was more about placing in the top 5. I wanted to run a sub 4-hour 30-minute race. That was my ultimate goal, but I had my backup I will settle for a sub 5 hour because “I have no idea what I’m getting into”¬†backup plan.

I hired a coach (Steve C. from Echelon Рcoaches many others and the Taco Mamacita Road Racing team in Chattanooga) in October, and I have been adjusting the past three months to a whole different mentality of riding. Used to, I would just go mountain bike as hard as I could if I could, most days. Now things were changing with prescribed workouts and analyzing data and figuring out what my body can handle and measuring results.

I got my 2014 Trek Superfly FS8 (it may not be carbon, but she handles well with over 3,500 miles) ready at Scott’s Bike Centre in Cleveland, TN. I feel it’s a huge blessing to be added to the Scott’s Bike Racing Team along with some other great riders. I really am not at their level, but working hard on it!¬†trekaftersnake

I spent every single day for a week leading up to the race checking the weather. 100%, 80%, 70% chance of rain. A friend of mine was bailing out. I was making my plan on attire and nutrition. And, I did not sleep very well the three nights leading up. I bet I was more nervous than when I took the boards for pharmacy!

Base layer and pants and shorts. What was I thinking? I was not. Also waterproof gloves that were too big. My cap was in the back of my jersey. Overdressed for snow or something.

The day called for 47 to 53-degree temps with rain likely. I settled for shorts with chamois, a¬†base¬†layer and pants over that. Mistake. My legs were hot. I had a cap on my head under the helmet. Mistake. At least, I didn’t finish out the multiple errors with the jacket I brought. I had on my new Scott’s Bikes jersey since I ride for them #trek!

I arrived around 7:15 am at Dry Creek and parked the van. I had only had a protein shake and a banana for breakfast because I didn’t get out of the house faster. I also had some Osmo Preload stuff too. It tastes terrible, by the way. I can’t get used to the flavor. It is the women’s specific formula. I had hydrated a little bit during the week but not as much as I should have. Everyone was lining up around 8 am, and I was off. Everyone goes one at a time a minute apart, and I settled into my prescribed wattage in power. My heart rate was nutty immediately, but I started settling down once the climb started. I had moments of deep breathing and a time while climbing where I channeled some Lamaze breathing techniques pretending like my legs were the only thing working and relax everything else I could. The mind does funny things while working hard physically. There are games I play mentally like:

  • Breathe out more than breathing in – ridding myself of CO2.
  • Inhale more air and sort of holding it allowing O2 to really get in the body. This is all in my head as far as what it actually does.
  • Music. I have a particular playlist that is awesome. Sometimes the right song comes on and I forget the pain.
  • Talk to myself out loud. “Come on Beth.” “Relax.” “Stop braking.”
  • And the mental section by section and noticing the time.

The bridge was out over the big creek, and it was fun flying over it without sliding off.

I thought I handled the climbs well.snake502

Mistakes (and I learn as I go!):

  • The temperature was 47-53 degrees. Basically, I wore too much. My head and legs were roasting. The torso was perfect. My gloves look good (ha!) but, they were purchased with liners in mind. Because the temps weren’t that cold, I ditched the liners, but they were bulky and waterproof. I love these gloves, but next time will keep that in mind.
  • I carry way too much stuff. This has been a common theme with me because I do not want to stop, but I ended up wasting 9 minutes stopping anyway. I had an osprey with 2 L and one bottle. At Snake Creek Gap I swapped out bottles. Not worth it. This will take practice though.
  • I took on way too many carbs on the ride. I calculated 80 carbs per hour!!! The recommended that I keep finding is about 30-60 grams of carbs per hour. I am not sure why I felt I needed so much gel. Perhaps I was just hungry? I’m thinking about ditching Infinit¬†for awhile and ruling out the added protein causing GI issues. I took in 1,489 calories during the ride. I may try something totally different in the next 5 weeks to dial in some issues. The thing is I may be confusing what I am experiencing as fatigue more than cramps/needing carbohydrates. I should have ordered my Infinit without protein. May ask for that. May try another brand. I carried 2 L of Infinit on my back. I don’t mind the weight, but if I’m going to carry three hours worth, the bottle I had should have been enough to finish it without stopping.
  • Need to hammer it more. Period. It looks like to me I didn’t give it my all in power though my heart rate says otherwise.

As far as the course goes, I love this terrain. It is HARD. Hardest stuff around. Lots of rocks and lots of climbing. Over 5,000 feet of climbing in 34 miles. The new 50 mile option added almost 2,000 feet of climbing to the course.

scg34
The Snake 34 mile

The Snake 34 elevation profile

The Snake 34 elevation profile

I heard it was much better when they had shuttle involved. The finish line this year seemed a bit lonely since most people had to go retrieve their vehicles at Brush Creek and then return for their bikes.

snake503
Best expression ever for the Snake Creek Gap TT!
323 1 04:02:46 Nielson Jen 30 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile SouthPaw Cycles, Liv
327 1 04:20:50 Lofgren Beth 43 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Scott’s Bikes/Trek Racing
306 1 04:53:43 Whitaker Julie 49 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile
339 1 05:05:38 Richards Lara 34 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Sorella Cycling p/b Hincapie Sportswear, Inc.
320 1 05:44:08 James Deidra 46 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile
277 1 06:18:06 Hutchens Tiffany 37 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Dans Comp
314 1 06:57:33 Witt Erin Trin 46 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile Traxxion Dynamics
200 1 07:17:35 Kocarek Corianne 32 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile
204 1 07:17:42 Costello Lisa 46 34 Women 30 and Over -34 Mile FMBR

The results after the first race. Second race in a few weeks.

2016_SCGTT_2016-01-09-165-(ZF-7333-49770-1-002)

5 Points 50: 2015 Version

BLP_7997-2This race. I was on the fence but the week before had a lot of miserable rain in the forecast and the next weekend was hinting toward absolute perfect tacky trails and sweet racing on trails not usually open to the public. How could I refuse? As the days approached to the race, it was obvious I were staring straight into yet ANOTHER rainy race of misery. As usual, I had my “glass-half-full glasses” on, and as usual I was wrong. The rain was there and not just moving in and out but swirling like a mini small hurricane not leaving the area until I had left Lookout Mountain myself.

2015 will forever be dubbed the year of the muddy races.

I arrived early as usual and went through my usual pre-race checklist. Tire pressure – ran about 22 in front and 23-24 in back. I almost forgot to put on my small camelback but in the end the only kink was linking up my garmin cadence sensor to the 510 edge. Lost that data, but that’s ok.

We started, and I ditched the glasses fairly early. The mud flap was a Godsend. I may just leave it on my bike since I seem to be magnet to muddy races. We rode the five miles on pavement, and I didn’t have that usual feeling of speed. I felt tired and lame. A friend of mine in Velo Vixens was on a fat tire with her boyfriend, and after another Velo Vixen, Melanie, past me again, I settled into the pace I had going. I past two ladies during the whole race. There were not many of us – only 10 women.

During the race I learned some lessons.

  • Just because the elevation profile is less than another race doesn’t mean the race will be easier. Maybe it was the horrible conditions? Maybe the climbs were steeper. It was harder than I thought. Training Peaks agreed and assigned it a harder ranking than Fool’s Gold 50.
  • This race has a ton of climbing after mile 35 when the legs are already fatigued. Torture. I walked. I prayed. I contemplated phoning a friend to send a lifeline.
  • Crossing the river (maybe it’s a creek normally?) freaked me out. I wasn’t prepared for it as no one had mentioned it and hadn’t seen an online write-up about it. Thank goodness for ziplock bags or the phone would have been ruined. The bike is a mess, I will say.
  • Red thick clay mud is no fun.
  • Lula Lake has some beautiful land. I’m thankful they allowed us to ride on it the one day out of the year.
  • I did better on nutrition this time. I had 5 bottles with two scoops infinit each. I think increasing my water in real life is working.
  • A rear mud flap isn’t a bad idea.
  • Melanie is amazing on a SS.
  • I had wanted a sub 5.5 hours but I will take my 5:56:30. Fourth place.

 

¬†So overall I was ok with the race. It was hard, and I didn’t feel 100% healthy with an upper respiratory infection going on. Next year hoping for perfect conditions since the last two years were muddy.