I wasn’t planning to race this weekend. I figured it would be better to recover over the weekend by doing long training rides after competing at the Cohutta 100 last weekend and having the Wildcat 100 on the race schedule for next weekend. But, the 6 Hours of Brady’s was just too hard to resist doing with a great course design of single track trails, being close to home, and also having a very nice payout to all of the solo classes. So, I decided to skip my rest weekend and do the six hour race instead of resting.
I signed-up for the masters class because the payout for all the solo categories was the same and I was hoping I would not have to go super hard at this race, so I could save some gas in the tank for the Wildcat 100. I also had a major landscaping project planned at my new home for Saturday that I knew would kick my butt. And, kick my butt it did! I ended-up spending 14 hours in my yard on Saturday planting 17 shrubs and shoveling 4 ton of river rock. My arms and back were spent after doing all of this and I wondered how I was going to feel at the race the next day.
I woke-up at 5:00AM to prepare for the race on Sunday. While drinking my first morning cup of coffee, I noticed my arms were still pretty spent from all the shoveling I did on Saturday. I came up with what I thought was a bright idea during my next cup of coffee and decided to build-up my geared bike real quick for the race instead of using my normal single speed machine. First, I tried moving my suspension fork to my geared bike, but it didn’t work because the steer tube was about 1/8” too short. Fortunately, everything else built-up pretty quickly and the thought of racing with gears for the day seemed like it would make my day much easier than using a SS bike.
With nothing packed for the race and the extra time I spent preparing my geared bike for the day, I ended-up leaving home about thirty minutes later than I had initially planned. Additionally, I forgot to take into account that my new home was an extra 15 minutes away from the race venue I have been to a number of times over the years. Needless to say, I wound up arriving for the race a little late, like 20 minutes before the start. I like feeling prepared for races, but I was certainly not feeling this way when I arrived at this race so late.
The start was fast, kind of like an XC race start. As a matter of fact, the whole race kind of felt like an XC race. This may have been because the mostly single track course did not give riders much of a break, or because there was always somebody to “race” against with all the duo class riders on the course too. I rode in the first group for the first lap and most of the second lap. Eventually, I decided this was not wise when I remembered about trying to save some steam for next weekend and also knowing I had a comfortable lead over any chasing master racers.
Initially, I found my geared bike to be just the ticket needed to help me deal with my sore, overworked body. But, as the race approached the 3 hour mark, I noticed my arms were feeling really beat up from riding the course with a rigid fork and I was starting to not enjoy the whole shifting thing. Luckily, my SS bike was waiting in the transition area and I decided to switch over to it for the last three hours of the race. I immediately noticed a difference on my SS bike and my lap times came back down again.
The next three hours of racing was pretty much uneventful and I pretty much just rode at a fast training pace. My legs never felt real good at Brady's. I'm not sure if this was from doing Cohutta and a hard week of training afterwards, or from the all the work I did landscaping on Saturday. It was probably a combination of the two. I do know that I was happy about deciding to race with guys my own age at Brady's because I certainly would not have been competitive in any other category with the way my body was feeling at the end of this race. I did hold on to my lead to take the masters win, but was pretty much completely spent after the race.
I can't end this blog without saying a big thank you to Chris Miceli and all the riders from Beaver Valley Velo that made the 6 Hours of Brady's race one of the best endurance races I've done. The course was in great shape, well marked and everything about the event seemed to be organized very well. I may have beat myself up pretty good this weekend, but I'm glad I made the decision to do this race and will certainly be doing it again in the future.
Happy Trails... Gerry
Thanks to Mike Briggs for the photo!