I can check the Cream Puff off my list. Yesterday was a perfect day to
ride the Alpine trail in Oakridge three times.
The weather topped out at eighty degrees and the trail conditions were
It's hard to believe it's over though, after a full spring and summer
This time around I felt so much more prepared and the race was less
traumatic. Granted the course in '08 was brutal and the weather was 100+
degrees, but there were some key factors that helped improve my experience
1) Mental preparedness.
The silent ten day meditation I did last year helped me a lot. If I got through that I can
get through anything. It helped me deal with my thoughts that can
either be my friend or enemy. My inclination tends toward the dark side
and ten days with no way to distract myself gave me the opportunity to balance
that out. Endurance racing means finding the light in your own darkness, and fighting
deep down demons that might appear otherwise in different ways.
2) Physical preparedness.
Had some damn good times training and wonderful people to do it with. Part of doing
an endurance event like this is because of the training. It takes a lot of time and energy and after a while spending every weekend on epic mountain bike adventures gets tiring, but hard to complain about doing something so awesome so much. Abby Watson did the race as well and she and I spent so much time exploring Oregon trails and roads in order to train. Plus, she's one of the most adaptable people I know, which is a brilliant quality to learn from. She had a great first epic endurance race.
3) Bad ass and wu-wu Pit krew.
I've had some amazing support from massage therapists, acupuncturists, and my movement therapist. Ira noted that if my pit krew were on the sidelines, rather than wearing baseball caps and hoodies, they would be sporting flowy pants while waving crystals and singing as I went by. Auh....auh...auh.
However, Ira and Matt were so great to have for support. They didn't sing as I went by,
but they are constant sources of inspiration as fellow mountain bikers. They simply shred, nuf said.
Plus, my bike was dialed thanks to Ira. My body felt like an extension of the machine, like a yin yang promoting balanced energy to roll through the woods (om shanti..om). I am very grateful for that mechanic of mine.
4) Calories in the food hole.
My tendency is to eat whole, good, food. As much as possible I try to avoid refined sugar and artificial flavoring. Last time I did CP nutrition was a major issue though, and I definitely didn't get enough calories. Partly it was the heat from that year and partly it was that I tried to stick to my whole food diet. This year I was determined to not have the same problem. I trained with science food like unflavored Perpetuem, but knew I'd need a lot more than that during the race. It's hard to imagine what your body is going to want after so much riding.
The morning of the race I made myself eat huge breakfast portions at 4am when nothing sounded good. Then on the first climb up 1910 I continued to eat because I knew it would be easier earlier than later. Half way up the second round of 1910 my body revolted when I tried to feed it a bar. Okay, sticking to the liquid stuff, I resorted to putting gels, sugary blocks, and Perpetuem continuously in "the food hole" for the remainder of the race. At the aid stations I ate anything salty I could find, and towards the end of the race I was so happy to be done just because I wouldn't have to eat anymore. My stomach is still a little funky from the race. Nutrition is a hard one for events like these especially for someone who doesn't like to detach from the food they're putting in their body, but calories are calories and it seems like science food is the most effiecient way to get them.
My naturopathic pit krew person compared doing a race like this to birthing a baby. The training is like the pregnancy, the actual event is the birth, and she suggested that I give myself time and respect for what I've accomplished after - to avoid post-race depression. Western society has a tendency to just get back to life as usual, and to just keep an eye on what's next. Not me though, my Puff baby and I are recovering fully and going to take some time to enjoy doing nothing.