Kudos to Jessica and Birgit for putting on a top-notch event, you guys did a great job. All of us at Team Rainbo really enjoyed the event. I sure hope I can make it down next year again.
I'll try and keep this short, I have a full account on my blog
if you want to read the detailed version.
Having been skating indoors for the last 4 months, I felt like I was in no shape at all to skate a marathon, I had very low expectations, to be honest. I was glad to be away from the 18-degree weather though!
The Squiggy course if flat and smooth, very nice to skate on, very well maintained.
The time trial was fun, even with the hurricane force winds in our face! Seriously, the gusts were so strong it was amazing. It would easily knock 5 mph off your pace at times. As usual my back was killing me, and I honestly questioned myself whether or not I would even attempt the marathon the next day. My time trial:
: 16.12 mph
I was just glad to be under a half hour!
The morning of the race was chilly! But the sun eventually warmed us up. I got myself into trouble by not having a plan at the start of the race. Because I was mentally juggling how ready I was and everything, I failed to get with a group of people that better suited my pace.
Consequently, I got caught behind a slower group while the guys I needed to be with skated away. The long and the short of it is I tried to shoot a gap to catch this disappearing group, and bit the dust. I don't know what or who I tripped on, but it was pretty much my own stupid fault. I went down hard on my right side and even my head scraped and hit. (Yay, helmets!)
At that point I was extremely angry with myself. I was fine, I got my stupid carcase off the ground and took off to catch the group I wanted (this time without crashing.) Turns out that group was the General's group as he mentioned above.
Turned out to be an excellent group with which to skate. There was a team of I think 3 guys who had a plan on what they wanted to do (possibly that was your team, General?) and they did a majority of the pulling. It was a great pack in that it was friendly and cooperative - no blocking, guys letting pullers back in, etc. You couldn't ask for a better pack.
In the group were two other Rainbo guys with me, Guy and John. We each took at least one pull, I myself only took one at the end of lap two. I would have liked to have gone up again but I feared it would ruin me for good.
I was really struggling with my back pain, and it was a constant mental battle to continue. But as Cale always says - "Embrace the pain!" At the end of lap 3 my left foot was becoming completely numb. The last lap was a struggle to keep blood circulating through it while trying to keep up.
The thing is I was not having any cardio issues keeping up, it's the other things that are bothering me right now. Maybe someday I'll actually skate a race where I feel good! (Boy, that would be an experience).
At some point Guy consulted his GPS and said he felt we might finish in the 1:40s, which I thought would be great. At the beginning of the race, I was hoping to be under two hours! That's how unsure I felt. To this point my best was 1:48, I would be happy with anything around that time.
With about 4 miles to go, our guy John decides he's going to break away - honestly not a good move. So Guy jumps out to go too, and I figure, sure why not, here I go too. Guy and I skated for maybe a half mile out front (not catching John) and the pack sucked us back up. Even Guy said "that was stupid!" Problem was we had no plan. Maybe if we had all three gone together and worked together, we might have been able to stay ahead, but we didn't do that.
We sucked up John too. Inside the last two miles it became time to start jockeying for position for the sprint to the finish. This was fun for me, it being the first time I have been in an advanced/experienced pack that would sprint to the finish.
My goal was to hang back until the last half mile while people moved around, then get to front so I could lead the sprint without any obstruction - this was the one point where the narrowness of the Squiggy trail became a concern.
Just inside a half mile I did just that, pulled to the front and then slowed the pace down quite a bit - maybe down to 12-14 mph. We all were skating relaxed, now in two lines leading up to the last curve into the finish. You really could kind of feel the tension of the group, everyone waiting for someone to make a move.
With maybe 300 yards to go, I think the guy on my left began to go, so I took off too. About halfway in, I got passed by two guys, but held my position there I think, for the rest of the way - it was a killer sprint - Guy was right on my heels.
When I looked at the clock I was floored... 1:33. I felt we were skating at a good pace, but I had no idea it was close to 1:30. Having set a personal goal of 1:30 for this season and to nearly hit that on my first race, where I felt like I'd barely finish one lap, it just astounded me. My final results:
: 1:33:36 (new personal best)
: 16.79 mph
: 21st out of 52 in the open division, 19th out of 40 males, 6th of 7 males 40-49.
I guess it goes to show that I was not in as bad a shape as I thought, but also it shows you how important it is to skate with a good pack. I was also pleased considering I fell at literally mile 1. But maybe I needed to fall, I needed a kick in the arse.
The other great thing was meeting so many skateloggers and seeing them face to face. I've forgot a couple names, and seemingly I met/skated with the General without knowing it, but it was good to meet Jess, Birgit, ckMost, Bryan, SkateKat and her husband (Chris?) LezSk8 and more that I am forgetting already. The dinner ck organized was great, lots of fun all around.
A few pics for ya:
SkateLog dinner my table:
Jess & Birgit workin' hard:
Rest of my pics here:
Not too many good ones, hard to get pics when you are trying to compete.
Great meeting everyone, and great weekend.