Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Formula

The formula for success in endurance athletics is a perplexing and at the same time alluring. Last weekend, I didn't have the race that I wanted, and MNSCS#3 this weekend gave me the opportunity to tweak the formula (my preparation) one more time. This time it involved something simple: eating more the morning of the race. I have never been a big breakfast eater, so eating before races is pretty forced, and I don't eat solid foods inside an hour and a half of the start.
With 4 blueberry pancakes in my belly, Jen, Tego, and I made our way to the ski hill. The temp was already 85 on its way to 90 for the day. I shortened my warm up and kept drinking the entire time. When it is that warm, the muscles don't need much of a kick start.
The race started off with Fisher pounding nails and me following. Paul, Sam, and Ben were in hot pursuit. I prefer slower starts, and the pace Chris was setting was perfect...not too fast and not too slow. Near the end of the first lap, at the top of the "Manhandler" climb (the feared climb the goes from bottom to top of the hill without respite) Chris was hurting and let Paul, Sam and I by. I rode comfortably behind Paul and with Sam for the second lap. I was planning to attack at some point but with it being so hot, I didn't want to go off on my own too early.
At the beginning of the 3rd lap, I decide to give it a go. I was surprised to see Paul and Sam fading. I continued to ride hard in the single track and climb at a reasonable pace. Because I was on the Fuel, I was able to gain chunks of time on each decent (Sam and Paul among others were on hardtails). Going into the 4th lap, I had about a minute. I started to cramp, but that subsided after sucking down most of my bottle. I rode home alone for the win about 1.5 minutes up on Sam. Paul had faded back a little but held on for a strong 3rd place. Ben continues to impress me and scored 4th.
Jen Meyer flatted out so she was hanging with my wife for most of the race. When they get together, things tend to get a little crazy... In other racing news, my Velo Rochester teammate Charly Tri took a win in the Wisconsin endurance series. I have a lot of respect for endurance racers like him, as it takes a lot of physical and mental toughness to win. Check out his blog (link on right side of the page) for a race report.

So, do I have the formula figured out? No, but I am one step closer.
Thanks for reading.

4 comments:

Richard said...

Nice work!

Alan said...

Great strategy and impressive job Brendan! That was some brutal heat, man.

samo said...

great job Brendan!You pulled away from us like we were standing still.Wish I had the full in the singletrack sections,was hard to recover after the climbs.

T Miller said...

Nice riding Brendan! It's gotta feel good to nail down a hard race like Afton, especially when it's like 90+ degrees.