Monday, April 27, 2009

Greenbrier Marathon

What a weekend!! We left at 2 pm Friday and made it to the Harrisburg airport just in time to pick up Big Dave--we ate and headed down to Maryland. We stayed at the "Duck Hotel" --the kid's absolute favorite--it has a pool and free breakfast in front of a widescreen tv--enough said. Greenbrier is a great venue with a park and lake for the kids to play in.

The Bull says, "Me no like bike racing no more!"  It looks like he's going to pursue a career in  plumbing!

Boo bear is working out her nutrition.

We were up early Saturday morning and off to pre-ride the marathon course--it was much drier than last year which made it feel quite a bit different.  Probably more importantly, it was 90+ degrees which really changed the program from last year's race. The course is fun and fast but really bumpy which takes its toll--5 miles with approx. 900 ft of climbing per lap. We rode 2 laps at a slow pace and headed back to the hotel for some R&R.

A little unscheduled maintenance--the night before the race, Big Dave found that he had a broken spoke.  Of course there were no bike shops open at 8:30pm and amazingly, we found a replacement at Dick's Sporting Goods and Big Dave handily trimmed it down to size--no problem!!

The race went well--Big Dave was having a great day until flat #1 then #2 and finally #3 resulted in a mile hike-a-bike which ultimately ended his day, as the USA cycling nazi would not let him take a tube from Cora in the feed station.

Big Dave after #3 flat walking in to meet the nazi--the big guy had 7 total flats over the course of the week--not bad.

A little extra effort to finish up lap #3--about 4 mins faster than last year with 4 to go!

I had no real plan except to have fun and try to do 7 laps in the allotted time. I also wanted to do the first 3 faster than the 3 laps I did last year. I went out pretty hard--something like 31 mins. which would have been doable for 3 laps but I had to slow down if I was going to get 6 more in. I rolled around to start my second lap just in time to catch the tail end of the beginner start which slowed me up more than I would have liked--it was all good and fun riding with them and remembering the good ole days --it did get to be a little frustrating on the first steep climb when they all jumped off their bikes and walked right up the center of the trail without a care in the world--I caught myself screaming like an uptight bike racer as I was trying to avoid a hike myself. Lap 3-6 were uneventful-- each a couple of mins slower than the previous one with a touch more pain added in for good measure. I started watching the clock around lap 5 and knew it would be close making the cut off--I told myself if I make it, I've earned the right to go around for number 7.
I came through the start/finish 3 or 4 mins. before the cut off and pulled into the feed station--now I was not so sure I wanted to go again and I must have looked pretty bad--it's the only time I have ever heard Cora sound a little worried--something about having 3 kids and another lap wasn't worth having a heart attack for. I knew if I got to the feed station and Big Dave was there I'd have zero chance of stopping--I was secretly hoping he'd be absent--no luck, he was there and quite persuasive, so after 3 mins. of rest and some moral support, off I went.

Trying to look like I was not dying as I finished up lap #7.

I was successful --and many thanks go to Cora who managed the feed station--the temp. was over 90 and she kept us very well hydrated/fed--she was perfect--thanks, you rock!!
She gave me either a bottle of Cytomax or water every lap with 2 electrolyte tabs plus a random gel with the water bottle laps and something solid every other lap (clif bar and PB&J)--all worked really well except the Starbucks shot which came darn close to making me blow chunks--not good after 5 laps. Next time I'm gonna try the much lighter Rocket legs, as the caffeine is a needed boost.

Cooked!!  The only downer was the 7-hour ride home which actually went by pretty quickly--but next time I'm staying for an extra night.

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