Disappointment and Concern

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Well, race #2 is in the books and for me, it was disappointing and concerning.

Ever since the Rocky Hill SuperD and XC Race last weekend, my cardio has just been out of whack. My first ride back on the bike after last weekend was my planned Tuesday interval ride. I was crazy busy so I couldn’t get out during the day so I set up the trainer to ride that evening.

I am going to jump in here to say I picked up a road bike for training purposes. A good deal on a Specialized Allez Elite.

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I climbed on and began my warmup. Almost immediately I could tell that things weren’t right. My heart rate was very sluggish to rise and was well below normal for even a warmup. I pushed on and began my first interval, which was to be an all out for 3 minutes. I pushed and pedaled hard but could not get my heart rate out of the 160’s, let alone to my target of 180.

Well, I figured I needed more rest, so I dialed it back and just did a steady tempo for an hour instead.

On Wednesday, I did some research looking to figure out what was going on with my body. Long story short, I self prescribed a little more rest and recovery.

Onward to Thursday, I again had another interval session planned but had already decided I wouldn’t likely do the intervals. I did attempt to push hard for a couple of minutes to see how my heart rate would respond, and again, was tough to maintain a higher heart rate. I decided not to push it and settled into a steady tempo ride for 45 minutes.

I was becoming worried, moreso that my Saturday performance would be off than anything else. I still wasn’t really concerned that I might have done any real harm. At any rate, I was still excited to be racing at Cameron Park in Waco in the 2nd race of the series.

Saturday’s race start time was 1:30 and through a bunch of scheduling, I was able to leave the house at 10AM. I arrived at Cameron Park at noon, which would give me plenty of time to prepare and warm up for the 1:30 race start.

I got registered, and began my warm up. I was feeling pretty good, heart rate was responsive and everything felt great. Legs felt strong and more importantly, cardio felt good as well. I felt normal and that was a good thing!

As we gathered at 1:15 for race staging, we get word over the PA that the race is delayed 30 minutes due to paperwork issues. Bleh, well, it would have been nice to know that a little sooner so I could have better scheduled my pre-race prep work. I had just taken a Honey Stinger and was primed to go. Ah well, now it was time to keep legs from cooling off too much over the next 45 minutes until the new start time.

At 1:45, we met at the staging area and they separated the age groups. The start area was a crowded mess and it was difficult to get to the proper place. Not to mention the stagger times were only 1 minute between age groups so that left even less time. I have always felt that last few minutes were so tough just before a race, but this time it was a rush to get into place, get set and go.

My goal for this race was going to be to hit the singletrack with the top 3 so I could avoid any potential jam ups in the singletrack.

The whistle blew, and we were off. I settled into the 3rd spot and hit the singletrack feeling strong and happy to be in the position I was. We were smoking through the singletrack for only a couple of minutes before we started hitting the prior age group. Well, crap, looks like we’re going to get traffic jams anyway. For the record, a 1 minute split SUCKS and they need to stagger more. I was really banking on good time in the singletrack ahead of the pack for my overall performance.
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Through the initial singletrack I was strong and felt great. I had no problems keeping up with #1 & #2 until we hit a longer slightly uphill climb. It was here where a couple more from the pack passed me up. Those long, gradual inclines are my weak spot.

No worries, I was able to keep strong with the leaders the remainder of the first lap, although it was a PITA dodging so many of the earlier age group riders so early in the ride. Every single climb was a traffic jam, with forced dismounts where I can typically clear with ease. I was a little ticked at this, but you do what you gotta do.

I finished the first lap and felt good. I figured I would be able to bang out the same, if not better times over the next 2 laps to finish strong.

Unfortunately, my chest decided otherwise. It was just as I was dropping into the singletrack on the 2nd lap that my heart rate started dropping. I didn’t really feel tired, but something was definitely wrong. I tried to power on for a little bit, but it quickly became apparent that my heart was going to have none of it. I was forced to slow down and at this point I started feeling really, really shitty. Like so shitty that I was seriously considering if I should quit the race.

I pedaled on, with my heart rate lower and lower. I pulled the effort way back and thought I would just try to finish out the lap and make the decision to finish or stop. Towards the end of the 2nd lap, I at least felt semi-okay again. I was going much slower than usual and my heart rate was way low, yet I still felt like I was running at race pace.

I decided I would go ahead and try to limp through the 3rd lap to finish out the race. Some finish would be better than nothing.

I felt a little better on the 3rd lap, but I had slowed considerably. I pretty much just dialed it back to ‘fun ride’ tempo in an effort to finish the race.

I finished the race, and while tired, I was more disappointed and concerned than anything else. Disappointed as I am starting to fear my whole season is in jeopardy and concerned because I didn’t know wtf is going on with my heart.

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Don’t let the levity of this picture confuse you, I was hurting =)

I hoped that I still finished in the top 15 as I did have a very good first lap and felt while my other 2 laps were slower, that maybe I was able to maintain a decent position.

We waited for the race results. We waited… and waited … and waited. Now, I think it is worth mentioning here that my wife is currently out of town, and my daughter and son are being watched by not 1, but 2 sitters so that I could make it out for this race today. My absolute last cutoff for heading back to Austin was 5:30. I finished my race at 3:15, SURELY results would be out by 5:30, right?

Wrong… The results never came and I eventually had to throw in the towel and head home.

The next day the results were posted. I showed 16th, but my time is off by more than 2 minutes. Looking up at the #14 finisher, that time matches my time exactly and one of the other racers informs me that when they finally did post the results, that I was originally in 14th before at some point getting bumped to 16th. Who the F knows, but it really didn’t matter too much anyway. 16th it is I guess…

I have plans to get to see a doctor this week, and keep bike time to easy spinning at most, and possibly off the bike altogether. I don’t have a race next weekend, but Mellow Johnny’s is in 2 weeks and I really, really want to not only race that, but finish strong.

After all of the build up from last fall and the winter, so far I am hugely disappointed. And I chalk it all up to that stupid SuperD at Rocky Hill.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get in to see a doc soon and hopefully they will be able to tell me what is going on and when I can expect to be back to normal.

Race Day Recap:
Weigh In: 160 lbs
Bike weight: 26.6 lbs
Nutrition: 2 servings oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 cup coffee, 1 honey stinger 30 mins before race, 1/2 water bottle during race
Weather: Dry and clear, 62 degrees
Dress: Bibs and short sleeve jersey
RPE: Great strong first lap, 2nd lap felt like death, 3rd easy slow lap
CTL: 27.3
TSB: -3.8 (steady)

About TC

Long time mountain biker, recent mountain bike racer. Borderline unhealthy obsession with mountain biking, constantly drawn to hit the dirt and share my experiences.

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