Sunday, April 18, 2010
The LBD, otherwise known as the Leesburg Bakers Dozen, is a 13 hour endurance team relay event just outside of Leesburg Virginia. I have heard good things about the race from previous episodes of the event, but have never had the chance to do it until this past weekend. As of my last blog writing, I was not too sure where I was going to race this weekend. I thought maybe a XC race close to home, or if the weather was bad maybe a road race close to home. Well, my unsure race plans all change on Monday when I received an email from my friend Blair Saunders about joining him on a two person team in the sold out LBD. I mean how could I say no to this offer? Not only is Blair a fast racer, but I also got to do an off road endurance race instead of doing a race option that would have probably been used more for training purposes.
So, the next thing I knew team CanAm was listed as a last minute entry on BikeReg for the two person team category of the LBD. Blair picked the team name of CanAm because he is Candian, even though he now resides in Delaware, and I am American. With the quick changes in my race plan, I had to adjust my training plans for the week a little, so that I could arrive at the LBD feeling fresh. I also had to organize a lot of gear, food and other things to make sure I had what I needed for the race. One thing I can say for certain is that preparing for an endurance race is completely different than the preparation needed for shorter races.
Upon meeting at the hotel I booked, Blair and I made up a race plan based somewhat on his past experience from doing this race. First, and most importantly, we decided who was going to start the race. We both felt like a fast start would be important for this race, so to make this critical decision about which of us would start we decided on doing a coin toss. I loss the coin toss, so Blair got to be our starter. I actually preferred not starting because it gave me an opportunity to pre-ride the approx 8 mile loop before I went out on a race lap. Lord knows you need a good warm-up and pre-ride of the course during a 13 hour race, right??? Anyway, we also decided to do a one lap on and one lap off race format until we decided to see how things were going between us and the other teams.
As it turned out, the 8 mile loop was taking us about 30 minutes to do during the race. At first, our format seemed to be going pretty good and it was allowing us just enough time to recover from our hard effort before heading back out for another lap. We used this strategy for the first 7 or 8 hours of the race before deciding to switch to doing double laps. The switch seemed to be a good idea because after we made the switch we soon moved into the first place position, after riding the first part of the race in second place at about 4 minutes behind the lead team. Once we took the lead, it was just a matter of us being consistent, smart and smooth on our bikes to maintain the lead. We seemed to do all of these things perfectly and were able to finish the race without any problems and secure the win in the two man team category.
It has been awhile since I have raced in a mtb relay event and I must say it sure was fun to do again. Usually, I concentrate on long individual endurance events, but I may have to try and fit some more of these events into my racing schedule in the years to come. Of course, having a good teammate makes a world of difference when doing a race like this. So, I must say thanks to Blair for thinking about me when he made his teammate choice and also thanks for riding a good race. If you ever need another "CanAm" teammate, Blair, you know where to find me.
The LBD Registration sold out this winter on BikeReg in less than an hour. The promoter limits the number of total racers to 425 probably because 95% of the course is held on tight single track trails and having more riders would jam up the trails way too much. The promoter had things organized well for the race itself, plus he finished the event off with a bonfire, free pizza and a live band. What more could a guy want? I was lucky enough to sneak into this race at the last minute because Blair was one of the first to be put on the LBD waiting list and because he thought of asking me to do it with him. If you missed your opportunity to do the race this year, I feel for you and if you have never done it, be sure to get online early next year to register because this is an event not to be miss. Happy Trails, Gerry