July 11, 2009

2009 Tribble Park 12 Hour:EPS Race #3 - Result: 4th

July 11th was the 3rd race in the Dirty Spokes Endurance race series. I headed into the weekend 2nd in the 12 hour Expert division, and was looking forward to the event at Tribble Park in Lawrenceville, GA.

After surviving the mud/swamp/rain/river fest alone at the last race, I conned, er, convinced, my good friend and sponsor George Scott to head down with me. He brought his Supercaliber 29er, and raced in the 6 hour, before putting on his support hat for my solo effort.

We arrived at the race site on Friday around 16:00 and picked a choice pit location.

Fisher tent up and tables delivered, we headed out to lazily pre-ride the 8 mile course. Course looked smooth and quick, with a few rocks and stream crossings. We arrived back at the start in 34 minutes. 34 minutes? Hmmm… something is not quite right here. Turns out we missed a tiny 2.5 - 3 mile section of single track somewhere. The first indication of the Keystone Cops style of weekend.

George and I headed back to Athens (the closest real town to Tribble - no offense) and headed out for dinner. Ended up at the Mellow Mushroom on Clayton St. Why is this important? Well, I will give you a hint: if you are at the MM on Clayton St, sit at the corner of the bar below Uncle Sam. Look out window towards top floor across the street. Be amazed and laugh about it for 3 days. (Times are WAY different than when I was in college). Anyway….

Up early on Saturday, and to the race site by 08:15. We brought the other items to the pits, and got all setup for the 10:00 start. I lowered my basal rate to its normal 55% reduction right at 09:00. Also inserted my backup infusion set, and set the target BG in the pump wizard to 150 from its normal 100. Blood glucose was a near race perfect 134 at 09:25.

I got assigned a race number that actually gave me goosebumps.  121.  It was and omen, and made me think it was going to be an amazing day.

I headed out to get warmed up. Now is where it began to get interesting. As I gently rolled the Superfly out onto the entrance road, I went to make a single gear change out back. Pushed the lever. It clicked and then it popped and then it crunched. That’s not good. The trigger moved the gear back no problem, but the level would push with almost no resistance for 180 degrees before making the gear change. You’re kidding me right? 25 minutes to race time, and the rear shifter is screwed. Perfect. Go to backup bike? Nope.

Ok, I figured out I could use it to change between two gears in the back. Front was working fine. Looks like 6 speed Superfly for the next 12 hours.

The 10:00 start was the most nervous part of the day. 150+ on the mass start sprint into the woods via the parking lot we just parked in. Yes, as crazy as it sounds. Went out hard to get out front and out of the “Thunderdome” of riders behind me. Entered the woods around 20th.

First 3 laps where fine… given the (lack of) gear selections I had. The shifter got progressively worse, and was completely dysfunctional by the end of 3. Lost some time switching pedals, lubing chain, and getting front wheel to the HiFi 29er and headed out on that. Nice to have full gears again.

At one pit stop, I saw a trail of evidence running through the tent making me think George was having some mechanical issues as well. A SRAM wrapper, the top of a chain box, the bottom of a chain box, some links, and then a destroyed chain. I laughed out loud. It fit with the day.

I fell a bit behind on my hydration during the first 5 hours. During hours 6-8 it began to show itself. A bit nauseous all the time - first stage of hydration. I took more time between laps to try to take in as much as possible. Getting off track is a vicious circle type of problem. Nauseous means less carb intake. Take less insulin. Take longer breaks to fix. Blood glucose climbs during breaks. Switch to 100%+ basal rate to combat. Higher blood glucose levels lead to dehydration. Repeat.

So it was a struggle there in the middle hours of the race for sure. Many, many pump basal rate adjustments based on the amount of intake, the lap effort, and the time off the bike making adjustments. Stayed right on the edge of bg/hydration meltdown all day.

About 8 hours or so in, the Hi Fi suffered a component failure. I got back to the pits and just kinda sat there. Smiling. These days happen. What can you do.  I switched the pedals back to the Superfly, and moved the wheel back over. Then I cut the rear shifter cable on the HiFi and removed the rear shifter. George was kind enough to bring the Supefly and the shifter over to neutral support. 30 minutes or so later the Superfly was back in business. Sweet!!

Under 4 hours to go, and needing 4 laps to be on the podium. Time to ratchet it up and try to go.
Next lap was fastest of the day, but I was running out of time. I needed to put in a huge effort and try to save lots of minutes right here, right now. BG of 63 before heading out. Took in some simple carbs, and rolled out on the next lap. About 15 minutes into this route, those simple carbs decided not to finish the lap. I didn’t stop, I just yacked off the side of bike. Not pretty, I know, but I needed to keep going. Not much later, the bg was, of course, dropping like a rock. Well, that’s that. Race over. Oh well, that’s endurance racing.

Ended up 1 lap behind 3rd place. The saving grace… this race puts me in 1st place in the series by 7 points heading into double point finale. Must remember to load up on chains, shifters, tires, lube, 4 leaf clovers, a horseshoe, my lucky yellow boxers, the penny I found when I was 8, …., ….., ……