After the Mexico de-training, I tried to get my act back together for the week's leadup to the River Valley Royal Rumble. Had a great Wednesday night hammer, couple other rides, and "dieted" as long as that word means not eating a pound of guacamole and a gallon of margarita per day ; )
Jon, Andrea, Cindy and I loaded up the wagon for the drive north, and rains cleared not much past Red Deer. Despite predictions, we had nothing but dry terrain and pure sunshine all day. The relative forecast between Calgary and Edmonton looked favourable, but this exceeded expectations.
Cindy said she loved the course and that it was "so much fun". I'm glad she enjoyed it. She rode well, felt good and was happy. Can't ask for more than that.
I felt good during warmup, and decided I was going to start in relaxed fashion after Lethbridge's evidence that it worked just fine for me. I think there was 17 starters in our category. The first bit was grassy field until the trails, and my first obstacle was avoiding buddy next to me who jammed up his gears in the startline acceleration, looked down, weaved, etc. Funny I guess, it happens to everyone at some point. 4 guys in front of me put down power hard, braked into the bunch up at the first corner, accelerated hard, braked into next corner, accelerated up the first dirt roller. I stayed 15 feet back, soft pedalled, coasted the first corner without braking, repeated on the second, and by the second hill that led into single track, used one little burst to pass the 4 after they'd already done 4 accelerations. I don't think my heart rate would have been over 170 yet. So I felt smart in that.
Passed one or two more on first and second laps, it was an "easy" course to ride - anyone could ride it and it wasn't that technical. The fun and challenge came from milking speed out of every chicane and corner, it was a flowy fun riding course where you maintained speed the whole time. One rough downhill section someone was behind me, and I started slowing down as a saw the rider in front of my splayed out in yardsale fashion at the bottom. Once I hit the brakes, guy behind started trying to pass, thinking I was going to downhill awful, so I had the fraction of a second to start yelling rider down. We avoided the 3 rider pile up narrowly.
I rode the first 3 laps in 10th, which given the field, was about right. Felt good. Could see 9th and thought I had half a chance of slowly reeling that spot in. Then...
... as I kept drinking, I sort of noticed my belly sloshing. My fluids were just sitting in my belly and not going through. I get that periodically. All of a sudden, the guys who were 40m back sounded like they were 10m behind, then right there. One snuck by, then another. Then I'm starting to feel really sluggish, like the last lap and half are going to be torturous rather than fun. I implode and just keep going in reverse. I feel bloated. Towards the end I feel crampy. I haven't seen results but I'm pretty sure I'm DFL (results now here). I go rinse off in the river, feel crampy and cranky. I've dehydrated with fluids in my stomach, and not ridiculous fluids at that.
Jon has a good day, as does Andrea. Both know they can do a little better, but all in they rode well. It takes me a coke and 40 minutes to start feeling chatty again. Bummer.
Beauty day, fun car rides with friends, and if it were a 3.5 lap race, I would have felt like I raced appropriately to my engine. Oh well.