Mostly a fun day on the bike. Got pretty ugly for me for a variety of reasons late, but what's the fun if not the challenge? The conditions were something that I'm sure a lot of people will talk about as being "epic" for years to come. From my perspective this would have been great conditions for CIRREM or really most any ride on winter. Of course, it 'should' be spring now and this is a 44 mile longer course than CIRREM with some roads that turned out to be long hikes (one took me 25 minutes to walk up). This was going to be a tough day.
Here is a shot of the start (decent turn out, but I am surprised anyone with the mindset to do the Rok in general would drop out due to the weather???)
Notable moments in my race:
2nd in all of the KOM locations and lost barely overall to Jesse Lalonde. If I'd really wanted to win it I should have gone harder to try to win the first couple but my strategy was more to pick up as many points as I could easily and without sprinting or raising my heart rate much.
Should have ridden my bike more with the wheel/cassette/derailleur combination I was going to be racing prior to the race. Things were close and got worked out during the race but 10? miles in I dropped my chain over the top of the big ring, swung my leg over at speed to fix it and realized the ground was very icy vs. my shoes. Piled up onto my bike, left me with some nagging sore spots. Thought I'd have time to catch up comfortably but then remembered we had an MMR in 1.5 miles. Was forced to run most of the MMR to catch onto the lead group of 6. Had to do it, but running is not good for me. I'm going to have to find a way to run more before next cyclocross season, but I still have knee pain whenever I do so and I do not want to make things worse.
Was able to ride the entire MMR leaving the Zumbro off of county 86. At the top it was just me and Jesse with Josh Roeser eventually chasing hard. I was thinking this was great, but things didn't play out like last year where stronger riders than myself had worked with me all day... this time Jesse was obviously just going to ride away. I was forced to try to get as much help from Josh as possible all day while slowly losing it as we gave chase.
I lost it far more than I should have. I thought it was just a regular bonk type thing (and it certainly partly was- I was trying to ride with some very strong guys and going pretty hard) but I think I made a nutritional mistake as well. All of my water was mixed with gu roctane powder in a pretty high concentration. As early as right after the first checkpoint I passed some really painfully burning, sweet smelling urine. This persisted until I was able to drink some straight water after the race. My first reaction was that I needed to drink more and so I kept drinking the roctane throughout. I don't think my body was able to process something about it correctly without more water. Next time I'm mixing it 1/3 or so as strong, or maybe half strength and also bringing a pure water bottle. It was stupid of me to do this in this race. I had the idea that I wanted to carry all of my water in a camelbak for this so that I could theoretically walk/run up the MMRs with the bike shouldered. I never did shoulder my bike and the camelbak thing is what led to not relying on mostly water and the regular gu roctane gu shots that I have a lot of experience with.
Jesse had about 6 minutes on Josh and I at the final checkpoint. I knew I was really fading at that point and hoped Josh could give him a run for the win. Felt like Josh had been waiting for me for way too long given how strong he looked, I feel bad. The rest of my day was a matter of survival.
I spent 26 minutes like this...
and I could barely get back on my bike. Charlie Schad was able to catch me on the walk and simply rode away while I struggled to loosen my lower back enough to pedal.
I looked back with 4 miles to go and saw Sean Mailen. Luckily I was able to find something and power the rest of the way to the finish/maintain my gap on him. I think I actually feel much better about my day because of him being there at the end, it was really nice to finish on a 'high' note rather than just limp across broken.
Congratulations to all who finished. As always, the longer you were out there the harder it was. Those who took 9, 10, 11 hours are the real heros, the tough ones.
Look forward to coming back next year.