By TTMember David Juneau
Vermont 50 Mountain Bike Race or Ultra Run - Sunday, September 29, 2013 6:00 am
Well this was 'only' a 50 mile riding event. How much could there be to report?
I was quite scared approaching this race, and not looking forward to it. I really question my singletrack riding abilities. Having done the 50 mile run here in 2003 and 04, I have seen what happens to this course during a big rain: it gets a lot harder for the 650 or so riders. Those two things together made me wonder why I had signed up. I have done some other ultra-mountain biking, but I understood Vermont to have a greater percentage of both climbing and singletrack thrown into their race. Three days before the race, the forecast called for a sunny day. My attitude started to improve.
That left the singletrack. I actually had fun on the singletrack. The course was in awesome shape. I tried to relax and smile and stay focused. I still crashed three times, but not onto rock ledge like I usually do on our local trails. I had some bleeding but nothing major. I was also able to climb a lot of stuff that had me scratching my head saying, “How did I just do that?”. Must have been the TT Torque hill climbing sessions paying off. I needed those sessions; my Garmin 500 recorded 7800 feet of climbing for this event. I remembered that I had failed to adjust the limit screw on my rear derailleur when I twice shifted my chain into my spokes. D’oh.
I ended up riding a good chunk of mile 37 on with a woman, Shannon, who is a SRAM Rep for new England. She saw and recognized my TargeTraining kit. She finished as 2nd masters sport female. My time was 6 hours 58 minutes - 12th out of 40 masters (age 45-55) novices. If I had entered in the next hardest category, ‘sport’, I would have ranked 75th out of 99 finishers in my age group. I gave it everything I had. I raced with one good contact lens, with the other lost somewhere in my sink due to hastiness at 4:15 am. Funny how your eyes adjust to the task at hand.
Miscellaneous: I met Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Ted King the day before the race. He won it last year, and again this year. Amazing what a UCI Pro can do when he hops onto a mountain bike. He broke the course record this year, finishing in 3 hours 59 minutes. A runner from Quebec broke the 50 mile course record, with a 6 hour 9 minute feat of strength. That’s right, he finished way ahead of a lot of the riders.
Thanks very much to coaches Eneas and Scott for staying after me this year and getting some tougher rides into my legs. The 100k events were especially helpful, and great for spending time with other TT Endurance folks too. And I am pretty sure a lot of my improvements came from the TT Torque sessions. My other riding buddies Jan and Rich have also noticed the change in my form this year. I tell them it all started last winter - indoors at TargeTraining..