July 28, 2008

2008 Wilderness 101 - Result: DNF

Daily Total: 28.39 Race Hours: 09:59

Insulin Breakdown:
Meal: 2.65u
Corr: 8.02u
Basal: 17.72u

Daily Carb Intake (recorded): 40g

22:35 205cz
19:51 191cz
18:49 202cz
17:07 186cz
17:02 Race End
15:53 214cz
13:59 117cz
12:08 127cz
10:50 108cz
09:43 75cz
08:03 73cz
07:00 Race Start
06:41 178cz
06:23 152cz
04:29 372cz

Energy Expenditure    8612 kcal 
Number of Heart Beats    95137
Minimum Heart Rate    104 bpm 
Average Heart Rate    161 bpm 
Maximum Heart Rate    191 bpm 
Ascent    7792 ft

The Wilderness 101 Mountain Bicycle Race is an 101 mile (162 km) event held on July 26th. The race starts and ends in Coburn, Pennsylvania, and is one 101 mile loop through the Bald Eagle and Rothrock Pennsylvania State Forests. The course is 65% fire road, and 35% singletrack with miles and miles of technical downhill sections. Over the 101 miles, riders will climb 10,000 feet.

George, Greg, and I headed up to Cobrun on Friday morning, July 25th. Coburn is located near State College, PA (home of Penn State), and we figured about an 8 hour drive or so. The trip up was CRAZY (accidents, traffic, and, yes, a melted mountain bike tire on Greg's bike which we rushed around State College to get a replacement for), and we finally reached the race site 3.5 hrs later than we expected.

With these races, there are rest stops (aka aid stations) every 15-20 miles or so. You are allowed 2 or 3 “drop bags” to be placed at aid stations of your choosing. The three of us filled our bags (big freezer zip lock bags), and placed them in the appropriate rest stop number bins. I chose stops 2, 3, and 4.

We stopped for dinner in Coburn around 21:30. I was very beat down from the trip, but the when the waitress at the Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks brought me a diet Root Beer in a chilled mug my spirits where completely refreshed! This very small town has a lot of charm, and I the mountains in the background looked inviting. Tomorrow would be great!

Bedded down in a hotel in State College (about 25 minutes from race site) a little before midnight. I never sleep very well the night before an event, and tonight was no different. I was truthfully a little worried about the race – still hung up on the errors made at Cohutta and trying to make sure I had thought of everything to avoid them again. I was riding without a hydration pack this time, and was thinking about the fueling I would need and the distances and pace I needed to keep between aid stations.

Up before 04:30 on Saturday morning. BG was very high, which was probably due to the fat in the ice cream we ate for desert the night before. I took in 5.5u to correct for the 372, and then took in 40g of carbs for breakfast with a 2.65u bolus at 04:54. Packed up, checked out of hotel, and headed back to Coburn.

Weather was SPECTACULAR! Low 60s when we arrived in Cobrun at 06:00. I set my basal rate down to the normal 55% reduction at this time, in preparation for the 07:00 race start time. Got the bike setup, and just took in the scene. 300 riders in this small park located behind a street with 30 one hundred year old Victorian houses of all different colors. Pretty cool.

At 06:24 BG was a 152. I set my target BG on the pump to a 150 (the optimal setting I use for races). Since I was getting close to start time, I lowered my basal rate another 5% to a 60% reduction. Nerves usually cause a downward trend, so I wanted to get a jump on it. 20 minutes before race time, BG was at 172.

Lined up to race with the other riders at 06:50. A prerace highlight was going over to Harlan Price Harlan Price (Team I.F.) at the start to go say hi for my friend Marcy (I needed to include that part). Got some last minutes instructions from race directors, and then was lead out of town for a paced first mile at 07:00 sharp.

Wasn't long before the first climb of the day began. Big, long continuous 1100 foot climb on some loose gravel fire road. Spread the field out quite a bit, and my heart rate strayed slightly into a higher than desired range during the first half of it as my legs came around to what was to be expected the rest of the day.

Tested an hour into the event, and was running a 73 at 08:03. Since I was fueling at my usual race rate of 1 PowerBar Gel and 40 grams of other carbs (Fig Newtons, ½ PB&J, 1 Pop Tart, etc), I reduced my basal rate to 25% of normal and took in some simple sugar to correct.

Another 1700 feet of rolling vertical over the next 1 hour and 45 minutes before next test. Stayed on normal fueling plan for the past 1 ¾ hrs and was at a BG of 78 at 09:43. Kcal burn rate was up near 1000 kcal/hr at this time, so, again, I made a reduction to 15% of normal (an 85% reduction). More simple sugar and fat in at this time, and motoring on.

Very, very fast 1200 foot decent via gravel fire road to the second aid station at mile 40(ish). Made good time to this point, and was at rest stop in 3hrs. Didn't bother to test here (it had only been 15 minutes), but did refill the bottles and grab PowerBar Gel replacements, along with other food replacements, from my drop bag. Psyched to be at 40 in 3hrs, and everything so far was going great for a good finish.

Following this rest stop was the first of the 3 tough climbs of the day, a 6 mile long 1335 continuous uphill. Just settled in and peddled along the fire road. Kept HR in middle to top of T2 and got to the top feeling pretty darn good. Temps where up now, and my legs where feeling it some, but I was not too bad. About ¾ up this climb we rolled past a 5 foot rattlesnake stretch across the fire road. First one I have ever seen in person. Cool? Was running a BG of 108 at 10:50 when I reached the top of the climb. Doing much better, and in the groove now.

This climb was IMMEDIATELY followed by a singletrack, tight, technical, downhill. Very step, and ROCKY (I cannot overstate) 1300 foot decent. Along the way down there where literally dozens of waterbottles, tubes, riders, and even a bottle attached to a cage that had fallen off on the way down. I was hoping to hydrate and recover a little on the way down, but it was much too harsh for that. On the way down one of my waterbottles fell out and popped the top. I stopped to pick it up, but this was to be the first in a series of events that would cause issues later on.

When I hit the bottom of the decent, the trail turned and headed back up for another 1100 foot ascent. I ran out of water on this climb, but KNEW the next rest stop couldn't be that far away. I reached the top of this climb at 12:08 and was at a BG of 127. NICE! Was beginning to feel a little thirsty, which is not good at all. I just kept thinking that the next rest stop was just around the next corner of the decent. But no such luck.

Reached the bottom an pushed another steep 350-400 feet uphill to rest stop 3. Found out later, that rest stop 3 had been moved 4 miles further and was located at mile 64. Was in desperate need of hydration at this point, so I took 15 minutes to take in water and electrolytes as well as some fuel. BG was all good at a 117. A lot of folks abanded here, and I hear some talk about being too tired for the next decent. Hmmm...

Coming out of rest station 3 was the last big climb of the day, and, I think, the nastiest. All steep upward singletrack which looked freshly cut with lots of stumps, holes, logs, rocks for the first ½ of the 1300 ascent. Took me 80 minutes to work my way to the top. I did stop along the way to try and take in water and fuel as well as pour some on my head. I was a bit tired when I hit the top, but I felt psyched that the last big continuous climb of the day as behind me.

I was only about 4 or 5 minutes from the top when I realized why the other riders were worried about the decent. It can only be described as SICK. Rocks. Bowling ball to garbage can sized rocks, on a continuous steep, steep decent between very tight trees. Man, it was WORK. On the way down I ran into a rain storm, which made the rocks a little slick. About 800 from the bottom, it happened. Crack!

Slid the bike into a rock, and bent my rear derailer into the rear wheel causing it to lock up. Spend about 30 minutes or so getting the shifting working and wheel spinning. This was time I could not afford to loose. I needed to be at aid station 4 by 17:00, and, with the distance I needed to travel, I really needed to ratchet the pace to make it in the remaining 40 minutes.

So the assault began. I went as fast as I could at this point, and basically did a TT sprint to that check point. Over the rest of the downhill I just let the brakes go and bombed over the rocks and roots with complete reckless abandon. Once back on the fire road for the climb to the rest stop, I just hammered out of the saddle in the big ring and drove as hard as I could. Legs and lungs where screaming at this point. I hadn't fueled or taken in any hydration in over an hour, and I turned myself inside out to reach that checkpoint.

I just kept thinking about how I needed to finish this event. I could put Cohutta to rest with the fine BG control I kept today. I was no where near the front, but didn't feel destroyed by the climbing. I needed to get to the end. I needed to finish. I needed to finish. I needed to finish.....

I reached checkpoint 5 at mile 77 at 17:04. 4 minutes late. Others had already been stopped there, and I was not going to be permitted to go on. My HR was near 180, and it had been there for the past 30+ minutes. I set my basal rate back to its normal rate at 17:07, and my BG was up near at 186. I took the time to ride out a little and stretch, as well as bolus a little before finding some shade under a highway overpass to sit down.

I couldn't believe it was over. I was so disappointed. My race plan was almost perfect. BG was great all day. Climbs didn't break me. But yet, here I sit waiting for the shuttle back to the start/finish line. Damn.

Energy Expenditure 8612 kcal
Number of Heart Beats 95137
Minimum Heart Rate 104 bpm
Average Heart Rate 161 bpm
Maximum Heart Rate 191 bpm
Ascent 7792 ft

Although my race was over, my adventure was not. I waited about 30 minutes for the shuttle, and as I waited and thought about the day, I could feel my body beginning not to be to happy with me. I was starting cramp literally everywhere, and I began to feel queasy.

It got worse. Much worse. On the shuttle ride back, I need to get out and vomit twice. By the time I reached the race site, almost every muscle in my body was seized up tight – fingers, toes, abs, everything. I could barely move, and every step hurt. I made it to the car and laid down. George found me at this point, and we figured I was probably extremely dehydrated. George was awesome, and got me some ice cubes to eat. None of them would stay down. Time to get some help. The medics called EMS and they arrived to check me out.

My blood pressure was VERY low, and I was a wreck. BG was holding in the low 200s, so that was ok, but I needed some fluids. So they transported me to the hospital in State College where I was given 5 bags of IV. (That is 1.3 gallons for those who are counting). While there I had two Endos (med students I think) come by and talk to me for about 20 minutes once they heard I was Type 1. They where really curious to hear how I went about BG control and what tools I used over a race such as the W101. Both of them thought it was pretty wild that I was trying to do it, and where impressed with the work I had done to figure out how. This conversation lifted my spirits a bit.

I was released at 01:30 Sunday morning, and grabbed a taxi cab to the hotel that George and Greg had secured. What a day.

I thought a lot about the race as I laid in bed trying to fall asleep. I actually couldn't be too unhappy with how it went. I was disappointed that I had not finished the last 24 miles, but I needed to focus on the positive. First, my BG was pretty much spot on for the day. Started a little bit lowered than targeted, but I recovered nicely and kept a level BG throughout the ride. Second, I did push myself as hard as I could (literally) to not fail. I gave all I had to the Wilderness 101, and I couldn't ask more of myself than that.

George and I where already talking about the 2009 Wilderness 101 at breakfast on Sunday. :)