Saturday, February 15, 2014

Location =  Grants, New Mexico  
Distance =  27.26
Time =  2:05:13
Ave. Speed =  13.0
Max. Speed =  36.0
Monthly Dist. =    110.32
Yearly Dist. =  239.56

Race day has arrived and it's time to see how well five weeks of training translates into results. Pretty well. I have to be happy with my climbing time which was one hour and fifteen minutes. I descended in about 45 minutes. The extra few minutes of time accumulated on my computer after the race was over from just riding around and having forgotton to unplug the thing.

The weather did more than cooperate for the race. It was unseasonably warm with temperatures well above what you would expect for mid-February in Grants, New Mexico, between 6500 feet and 11,300 feet in elevation. When I started it was probably in the low 40s, and when I finished it was probably around 60 degrees. Very nice. I had all my clothing with me to deal with any weather conditions that Mother Nature might have thrown my way, but I didn't need any of it. I wore half-fingered gloves, my lightest tights, a light shirt and a windbreaker. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the warmest Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon in history. I'm not complaining.

At 8:00 a.m. the solo riders started out. They make up the majority of the racers. At 9:00 the teams all start. Like all the races that I am in, I start out closer to the back than the front. I don't want to get in anyone's way and slow them down. I know my place. After the starting gun fires everyone quickly spreads out and settles into their proper position in the race. A little bit of leap frogging goes on and then the chase begins. Several young ladies passed me and I made a special effort to try and keep up with them. One of them faded badly on the steeper climb near the top, but another one was keeping her distance and making me work hard to try and catch her. Knowing that I would be giving up my chip to the runner on our team at the transition, I decided to turn on the after burners and close the gap. I shifted into a higher gear and powered up the last half of a mile, closing a football field sized gap. That was my big thrill for the day. I handed the timing chip off to Bill and now all I could do was sit and wait, and wait, and wait......

Before the race started Debbie drove up to the transition point with Sofie so she could keep me company while I waited for my turn to bike down to town. I now had to wait for the run up. ski up, snowshoe up, snowshoe down, ski down, and run down, before I could get back on the bike. The wait became longer than anticipated because our skier/snowshoer decided to try some borrowed skis and that turned out to be a bad decision. It took her much longer to complete the ski section than she anticipated. You know who you are, Regina.

Eventually, our runner, Bill, appeared and it was time for me to go. Bill stopped to hand off the timing chip -- and it was gone! Somehow, it had fallen off of his ankle and was lost. The race officials were still able to get a time for us, but it was an unnecessary aggravation.

I headed down the hill and tried to spin up my speed as best I could. I thought I was doing pretty well when a guy passed me and then a young lady passed me. I was trying to hang with them but they were pulling away from me on the downhill and the flats. The young woman had an especially fast spin and a very aerodynamic position. She was flying. Then we came to a small hill that is about a half a mile long about halfway back to town. The two people who had just passed me slowed down significantly when faced with the climb and I saw my chance to catch them. I charged up the hill and passed the guy first and then the gal. I never saw the guy again, but the young lady was a different story. She caught me on the other side of the hill and left me in her dust. I tried to keep up with her but I never had a chance. I lost sight of her long before the finish line. Good job young lady! I tip my hat to you, and I will think of you as I train to try and get faster.

Upon arriving at the finish line I had to find a timing person to make sure that our time was recorded, since I didn't have the chip. I was assured that we had a time, so with much relief I settled back to wait for my teammates to get shuttled down from the mountain.

All in all, the race was fun but it wasn't that hard. My rides to the crest are a lot harder than this was. I might want to try to do the bike and the run next time. That is if I can learn to run.

Way to go team, Psycho Dawgs! And we have the finishing medal to prove it.

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