So the weather. Let's talk about perfection. At least for Laps 1-3.5, the temps were spot on and the wind was minimal. It would, of course, have to pick up at the end. But the thing I love about singletrack riding is that even when it's windy, you're twisting and turning so much that you don't have the same sort of sustained headwinds. And considering the last time I rode at Tranquility was at last year's over-100∘ degree race day, I was fine with a little wind. And definitely fine with the upper 60s/low 70s. Particularly after the season opener at Swanson in the 90s...thank you, weather.
Because of the morning time trial (which Marathoners were exempted from for stage race scoring purposes), all classes of racers started in waves at the same time. Marathon was sent off between two heats of Cat 2 Men, and this was excellent placing for me. I got to spend much of the first lap paced by these fast fellas, mostly quite experienced and polite passers. To many of you in this group who know my name and say it when passing me, I'm sorry if I don't always say yours back. There are so many of you!! I digress...
|Photo credit: Michael McColgan|
At the start of my 4th lap, I was feeling pretty good. I'd paced myself nicely, finishing each lap in about 50 minutes with a little refuel break after each one. This, however, messed with my lap plan reckoning. I figured if I was taking about an hour per lap, 4 laps would be just about perfect for the 4 hour marathon. Shave off 5-7 minutes each time, and I came through the start/finish 25 minutes before the time cut-off.
|My decision-making moment captured. Photo credit: Michael McColgan|
I hemmed and hawed for 5 minutes before having Emily refill my water and grabbing some more food. I had the goaders-on's assurance that they'd still be there when I finished and race official Darrell's comment that I'd "already be sore, why not add a lap?" so I started turning the cranks for a relatively solitary Lap 5. I spent a chunk of time chasing Brian from EVCC, but after a sloppy move on the camel humps that had me rolling down the side of the hill, he was out of sight, and I finished alone, to the very enthusiastic cheers of the small crowd of remaining bystanders and finished racers.
4 hours, 40 minutes, 13 seconds, 46.5 miles.
Big thanks this time to teammate Emily, who, after racing and ending up on the podium (yeah, girl!) ran to the grocery store to get ice for my cooler, the one thing I managed to forget to pack. Not only that, but she stuck around long after, cheering me on and helping in the feed zone each time.