The Vermont 50 is one of those races I tend to look forward to all season long. I’ve entered this race three times in the past and every time something major goes wrong for me. The first year I was having a great race until sometime around mile 30 where all the spokes in my rear wheel decided to go loose. All of them. I dropped from 7th place to something like 33rd. The next time I bonked somewhat near the end of the race but managed to come in around 38th. The last time was a complete mud-fest (2009). In my excitement about the race I failed to eat enough food before and during the race. I bonked hard and quit about 35 miles in. Lame.
I’m hoping to correct these problems this year – especially the food issue. Bonking is never fun.
Since I work at a college, September is a busy month for me. Consequently, I’ve not ridden as much over the past few weeks as I would like. That may be a good thing as I tend to over train if I’m not careful.
To make up for scheduling problems, I decided to do a 6am ride this week to get in a hard ride and to see how things operate for me in the morning. I got out of bed around 5am. Not as early as I will need to be for the ’50 but unpleasant enough to get the feel of things. If I could arrange the world to fit my desires, one thing I would do is start my day sometime around 10am. Anything prior to that is like wandering through a thick mental fog, so getting up for this was an incredible demonstration of will power. I ate and took the car out to Kingdom Trials. The one thing I learned in this process is that it has become DARK at 6am. Since there was a thick fog it was even worse than usual. I tried wearing my yellow/orange tinted glasses but that proved to be completely out of the question before I even got into the woods. Even without the glasses it was difficult to see once under the tree canopy. I was using the braille method for riding single-track. The woods were wet from the previous night’s rain. This, coupled with fallen leaves, made for a wonderful experience when navigating around root strewn corners. No major crashes but I managed to break yet another spoke. I will be rebuilding the rear wheel with 14g spokes once the season is over.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad ride. I stayed on the East side of Darling Hill the entire time. It was cool enough that I wasn’t completely drenched in sweat as I normally would be after a hard ride. That will be my last real workout before I race on Sunday.
I still need to figure out what I’m bringing for food and pack to camp at the base lodge area Saturday night. A few minor repairs to the bike (the spoke) and I should be all set. Now if I can just kick this head cold.