Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Uxbridge - Part II

I said earlier that I would later be happy to have been the first group to leave the start line in the morning. As I pedaled up the first section of fire road, the conditions worsened. The 8 km sprint racers, the 25 k’ers had done a job on the course when they followed us through. It was much more difficult the second time. All of the double track seemed to become ten times worse, soupier, deeper and more difficult to get through. I ended up running close to a kilometer in total through the muddy double track section. My second lap I managed to set a faster time on the concession roads - maybe my legs were more warmed up or the previous weekend worth of climbing in North Carolina bumped up my pace, either way I felt really good. Cold, but quick.

I had to stop at the water feed to refill a bottle, at the start of the race I took two bottles (one in the cage, one in my vest rear pocket) and no hydration pack, as I went for weight savings. I had only two gels for the entire course - one each lap about mid way through. I felt like I had enough energy, but as one of the paramedics told me later (yep, paaramedics . . . it only gets better) was that I my body totally depleted itself during the race effort and also in trying to keep itself warm.

I was relieved to finally enter the single track, knowing that there was only about 4km of trail left before I crossed the finish line. The single track only diminished in condition as well with the number of riders on it during the rain. From a trail builders perspective, I really hope that the race organizers went back that day to do damage control.

One of the funniest things that happened to me in the whole race was in the last few km’s of the race, when I passed a woman who had obviously gotten into something way over her head (I think that she must have been doing the 25km race and I had lapped her) politely asked me as I climbed past her, "Excuse me."......I was ignoring her because I had absolutely no energy left to turn the cranks let alone answer her idiotic question, but again it came . . .. "Excuse me. When does the race end?" I thought to myself, "You’re kidding me, right?" I was annoyed, tired and just wanted to be finished, so I sarcastically shot back, "When you cross the finish line!" and kept on climbing out of her sight. What do you mean, "When is it over?" ?!?!

A few minutes later I caught my last rider who had earlier been two rises ahead of me on the concession roads and I managed to catch up to and sprinted him for the finish. I didn’t beat him as I hit a stump and got thrown a little sideways as I tried to go around him in the last 10-15 meters before the finish line. I didn’t care, I was just happy to be done.

I had a look around for Matt, Brandon and Rick to see if they had dropped out - conditions were horrible, cold and wet - there will be undoubtedly many dnf’s. However, they were not at the start line. I walked over to the timing tent, checked my time (unofficially 9th/22 riders in my age category, apparently the 2nd single speeder to come through and 2hr 30min time final- my second lap was the exact time as my first, talk about consistency!)and had a look around at the medal/schwag table, was going to grab a free sub- but didn’t feel much like eating. It was raining a bit heavier by now and I was soaked to the bone. I rode over to Rick’s truck to double check - maybe he had forgotten to unlock it - no such luck. Rode back to the finish line. Still no Matt or Rick. I found a pop-up tent to stand under. By this point my teeth were chattering and I was shaking pretty bad - no surprise, I had emptied the tank, was soaked to the bone and the air temperature before windchill was still only +3 degrees.

As my luck would have it, the tent I was standing under was adjacent to the Canadian Ski Patrol Tent who were doing the first-aide for the race. They spotted me and came over immediately. Started asking me some questions which I had a hard time answering (still don’t remember) and got some chocolate into me. Next came the space blankets and heavy warm wool blankets. I started to go downhill and fast. Matt crossed the line and spotted me - apparently I had seen him and called to him to take my bike and helmet to look after as the paramedics were taking me away somewhere warm.

I don't remember being transported by car to a shelter, but once there they stripped me of my race kit and wrapped me in warm blankets. Later I would find out that they took my core body temperature and it was 35.7 degrees - if it had gotten down to 35.5 degrees they would have shipped me off via ambulance to the nearest hospital. Fortunately I was under some excellent care and they gradually warmed me up - took the better part of an hour to get my temperature up just two degrees. Big thanks to the Dax who looked after me and his partner who kept a continuous supply of hot blankets coming. Rick and Matt eventually made there way over to me with some warm clothes, but not before Rick made his way onto the podium for finishing first in the Clydesdale category - nice job Rick!

Took me a little bit, but managed to get dressed and got into the truck and wrapped my sleeping bag around me for warmth. Was feeling much better. We stopped for a coffee and it all came good. Will take a few days off the bike to recover - my legs feel good, surprisingly after all the mashing on the pedals that I had to do to get through all that mud. Dax said that my immune system would be pretty low for the next few days following the race so to take it easy and rest up. That's what I'm going to do. Cheers.

I didn't get a chance to take any photos after the race, for obvious reasons, however Matt snapped one of Rick - will post later.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun!..

Congrats though.

BTW, when they "take" your core temperature do they "give" anything back??

Papa G said...

Glad you made it out in one piece Craig. Congrats on your finish. It sounds like the conditions were pretty atrocious.


the original big ring said...

let's just say I'm glad they took my temperature with a digital thermometre in my ear, rather than the "old fashion" way - I would have found out what a popcycle felt like!

The Vegan Vagabond said...

Wow Craig!! That sounds crazy..glad you're okay.

Great race report..felt like I was there. Glad I wasn't really there though! Sounds nasty.

Way to get through that wanting-to-quit feeling.

Anonymous said...

Awesome effort Craig!! I also feel like I was there, great write up. Nice finish, 2nd in the SS's is great!

Glad to hear you're OK and too bad about all the suffering. Get lots of rest so you can get out there and kick some more a$$!!

Anonymous said...

i like it!!

the original big ring said...

Mike, you a sick boy. When's your first race?