Monday, June 22, 2009

Feel the Heat

“Some like it hot and some sweat when the heat is on
Some feel the heat and decide that they cant go on
Some like it hot, but you cant tell how hot til you try
Some like it hot, so lets turn up the heat til we fry”

The above lyrics are from the song ‘Some Like it Hot” by the 80’s group, The Power Station. I’ve had this song in my head since this weekends WORS Subaru Cup mountain bike race, so much so the Kelly had been getting really annoyed with me singing it around the house. In my version I decided to add the following lyric to the chorus “Some like it hot, I do not”. Probably not long enough to be added to the chorus, but it is straight to the point on how I feel about racing the heat. I have never been one that performs well in the heat, and this race was no different. My race went off at 2:00 and the temps were in the mid to upper 80’s and high humidity. Before the event I tried to stay as hydrated as possible and out of the sun, while watching teammate Andrew Truemper suffer in the heat during the Expert race. By the look on his face I knew my race would be tough.

I was racing the Comp category and we were scheduled for 4 laps. The gun went off and I had an OK start, but was quickly feeling the conditions, and within a half mile I was doing my best imitation of Frank Schleck with my jersey completely unzipped to deal with the heat. As the first of four laps progressed I found myself making stupid mistakes, one that was really embaressing. Coming out of a wooded section I thought it was going to be a flat doubletrack trail for awhile. I reached for my bottle with my right hand, and started to drink and quickly realized there was a short downhill section, so I grabbed the front brake and completely lost control, almost flipping over the bars. I ran off the trail into the grass, almost going over the bars a couple more times as I let on and off the front brake. Under normal conditions I would probably have let go of the bottle to get two hands on the bar, however the heat had me doing really stupid things. After that near miss there was a tough secion of tight uphill switchbacks. With the crowd of riders on the first lap I ran the last couple of switchbacks and once out of the woods pulled off to the side of the trail and sat down. I was hurting and thought if I continued I was going to end up hurting myself. So I sat there for a couple of minutes and decided to finish up the lap. As I got near the start/finish I told myself to give it one more lap, considering I had drove 4 hours and spent money to race I owed it to myself to give it another shot.

Lap 2 went OK, and I decided to finish the race after a stop at the neutral water area where I drenched my head in cold water and filled up the water bottles. As I started lap 3 I came up with the goal of passing 5 riders in the next two laps. I was feeling much better, not sure why, and I slowly picked off a few struggling competitors. In the end I passed 11 guys and finished up hard to hold off a couple of them. So not a great race, but I was happy the way I finished, and really happy that I decided not to pull the plug after lap 1. The course the WORS crew had set up was awesome with lots of climbing, some tough rock gardens and tones of great singletrack. I can’t say enough about how well these events are organized. The WORS crew does an amazing job !!


Soupy said...

Sounds like an honest hard effort, Greg.. Great job!! Way to stay with it!

Seegs said...

As I was reading the USA Level 3 coaching Manual, it states that your athletes must finish the race at the Cat 2 to get better. Unterstand what being tough is and the pain you go through but to always finish. I know it is tough out there sometimes and it is good to see you get through it. I have been there. Nice job Greg!!!