Sunday, September 11, 2011

Landmine Classic Marathon - Race Report.

I had such high hopes..  Possibly delusional hopes -  but this course was reputed to be chock full of rooty & technical riding  - with virtually no climbing.

Couple that with the Spearfish  which was designed with endurance events in mind and it seemed as though I might have a chance for some kind of payout (5 deep for the CAT 1 / Pro field 50 mile marathon)

I'll save some drama:  In the words of Jack Skellington after realizing his aspirations were out of reach:  "Ohhh  well..."

According to some of the event coordinators turnout was a record breaker.  No surprise really.  Between the proximity to Boston, the weather and a relatively quiet weekend for events, some talent showed up on a day or two before the event.  Including the usual suspects:  Jancaitis, Hines, Bold, Petro .. Yeah,  Those guys. 

Lotsa folks.

I arrived about an hour before the 9:30 start and got a little warmup riding in.  I also found where I was parked was optimal for setting up a midpoint station.  Out came the cooler and bottle stand.  The plan was to put one bottle over at the feed station you passed on the way to the lot - then set up this station. 

Between the bottles here and there with some Heed - and 4 packs worth of Gu in a Flask - I should be all set!  Right?!  It seemed like a good plan.

At about 9:20 we all grouped together at the staging area, listened to the pre-ride announcment and then rounded the bend towards the start.  I was in maybe the 2nd or 3rd row - not too far from the front. Nowhere near my usual hiding spot at the back.

When it was go time I maintained position - then as we started passing spectators near the parking area I heard someone shout "Go Alby!!" - Not wanting to dissapoint, I throttled it and gained 4 or 5 spots before entering the single-ish track beyond the field. 

I followed Steve Segenchuck for a little ways then passed and realized he was running full rigid.  Freaking Masochist. 

The lead group wasn't too far off - so I evenly applied some more power - and within a few minutes caught up with a second group not too far behind.   At the back - Will Crissman.  Oh good - he turned out a respectable time last year.  If I can just hang with him.

We continued on through moderate terrain - the pace was hurried but not quite as insane as the lead group ahead.  At the first sorta hill a few riders slowed up - so I passed on the right.  Will returned the favor and then muscled past (SS 33X17).  He did mention that was pretty much the only hill.  Thatsa relief. 

After Will gapped me by about 10 seconds I slowly made ground and caught back up.  Will had joined up with Greg and Alec - and who were pulling at a strong  but manageable tempo.  Sweet!  I'm riding amongst these guys!  That's gotta be good!  As we made way - the terrain got progressively more techy.  Even better! 

At some point Greg lost his chain. Will and I darted past - now Alec was leading.  I forget where it happened but we were able to pass through a rough spot.  Holy @#$!!  I'm in front of Alec??  Will joined up and we discussed this improbability.  I figured Alec and Greg maybe did a 12 hour race the day before or something.

After pacing with Will - he missed a turn leading.  I was able to yell to him within 10' of the turn - but the damage was done.  Now, I was all by my lonesome.   I little ways further a spectator yelled out:  "They're about 50 seconds ahead" - who?  The leaders!  Damn.  Today could be the day I thought.  Then I realized it is stupid to think things like that so early in the game. We were like 17 miles into a 50 mile race.  Alot of stuff can happen.  

Within time it starts to happen.  I am easing up a little to save energy for later - and little by little I can hear and see Alec making ground.  Crudburgers. Where did he come from?  Oh right - it's Alec you dope.  He snacks on over spirited youngsters who try too hard at the start.  Same goes for Greg.  Won't be long.

I approach the satellite feed station and stop to fill up my water bottle - then continue on straight ahead. There are lots of people at this station and I quickly realize the course don't go this way.  So I turn around then ask:  Where does the course go?  Someone pipes up - "over there!" pointing to the left.  I head over and get cranking.  Within 5  minutes I realize I have ridden this terrain before.  Uh oh..  What to do?  Turn around?  Maybe they just change up the course as you go.  I have been in races where they do that.  So I keep going.  Oddly - no one is around.  Am I really riding this well?

As I keep riding I keep looking at my watch.  Huh.  If my calculations are correct I should be passing the midpoint around 2:15 or so.  Was the feed station the midpoint?  I am not thinking clearly at all.   To make matters worse my flask cap has gone missing.  Rather than risk losing any of the precious contents I down it all.   Big mistake.  After an hour or so going around the loop I start getting that quivering sensation that occurs when a bonk is imminent.  You're supposed to consume this gook  guck (no Charlie, I don't supplement rides with yellow skinned peoples) little by little. If it lasted then you'd just down it all and go ride for 4 hours.  Crap! Crap! Crap!  Riding devolves into a death march.

Sure enough the feed station comes back into view - and now I see clearly where things went wrong.  I ride ahead to a table - find my bottle of HEED (Thank god) and down it in about 10 seconds while belching in front of some pretty girls.  Hey, I'm happily married and stuff - who cares.

I head back to fill up my water bottle and the folks at that table say "You know you're going the wrong way right?".  I know too well - turn around and launch up the embankment outta there with enough speed to catch way more air than I really know what to do with.  Yeehaw!!  Riding when your pissed is kind of liberating.  I blast through the last 4-5 miles passing countless riders from other classes. It is amazing how much of a difference having some fuel in the tank makes.  The speed differential is rad.  I remember thinking how rad it was being passed at my first race by some Pro dude.  I wonder if they are thinking the same thing..

I pass through the start/finish line 3 hours on the money.  Based on my estimates- yeah dumbass,  you messed up.  At this point reality has finally settled in.  So I just ride it out with the intent of getting in a good workout.  May as well.  These trails are super fun anyways.

The plan is to take a right turn at the feed station and finish up my ride with the same miles as you would if you rode the course correctly.  On the way to the station the ride is as lonely as it gets.  There's like no one in this pattern.  Finally at the aid station I hook a right and head back to the finish. 

At the finish I tell Jill and some folks tabulating results that I should be disqualified for screwing up.  I head back to the car wash up and discuss with folks.  Then it dawns on me:  I have done exactly the same terrain & mileage.  Maybe I can Un-disqualify.

Right - we'll see how that goes. 

Final results should be posted soon.  Finishes I think I have correct:  Will: 5th / Alec: 4th / Jonny: 3rd / Gregory: 2nd and first - I'm not really sure.

Damn, damn, damn.  

That won't happen again - at least at the Landmine.

The Landmine is a fun, fun course.  In spots the flow is too sweet - think swoopy up and downhill terrain that goes 8' at a time.  Whee!! 

When I got home - the usual post-race meal, Well, not quite.  I changed the brew up a little - have to support my VT peeps.

T-Bones - On sale!

Yep - it's prit'near fall.


  1. Such a bummer you missed the turn, Alby. You were riding a great race until then. Good riding with ya - hope to spend some time with you at th VT50. Good luck at Bradbury this coming weekend. I hope you and Rick can put the hurt on.

  2. Oh them steaks were good alright.

    Will - it was a treat riding with our little group. You guys have got this pacing thing down. See ya in VT - if I'm not entirely Freyed.. Ha! huh! Snort, gasp... cough.. wheez..