I was thinking about waiting for pictures to post a recap, but I don't think I'm going to feature real prominently in any. I spent most the day following wheels as hidden as I could get. I know I am weak, but at the same time I'm feeling so much better than just two weeks ago I can hardly believe it. I've gone on a very strict diet. Eating primarily of almond snickers (seriously one of the very few snack foods that seem 'safe' for whatever reason), pork, steak, chicken, potatoes and corn meal. I started it on the 20th and felt so good by the 22nd that I went and raced aggressively on the road in Iowa.
So, I was feeling better for about a week then found myself trying to defend my title from last year... and riding "as if" and I wasn't dropped at mile 12 (like CIRREM). Then I wasn't dropped at mile 30. Then I realized I felt pretty normal. Then somewhere around mile 50 I started getting real real tired, but I was able to hang in there at the front. I found myself in a group of 5 and was forced to get out in the wind some, but I didn't blow up. Then I found myself in a group of 3 and I really was forced to rotate. It hurt, but I knew the other two riders were really strong and I was so happy to be there. I attacked on the last hill out of fear of anyone else attacking and the legs felt pretty good but it was covered well. I knew we were going to the finish line together then. I tried to jump the sprint as I saw an opening and knew I was likely the weakest and it didn't work.
Later we found out that we had short cut the course a bit accidentally. We had missed an out and back climb! The riders who rode the whole course were, therefore, the first real finishers. We had known it was out there and had actually talked about how it must have been missed while riding. We had though it was about 10 miles from the checkpoint and therefore the entire large lead group had missed it before any splitting? But it turned out we were wrong. Such is gravel racing.
I was very pleased with how I was able to ride. I hope that if I stay on this path diet wise that I'll be able to make something of the next couple of months. It's nice to be a bit "fresher" than normal I suppose.
I have some suspicions about what the diet issue is yet, but plan to hold the line with the diet for the full 8 weeks regardless. I do not want to mess up feeling better.
Postcards are rolling in - A few handfuls of postcards have started to trickle in. I'll get them entered in hopefully by Sunday night and post up here so if you sent in a card you'll...
2 weeks ago