Matt Donahue

Monday, August 29, 2005

A few more days

There is less than a week until the Shenandoah Mountain 100 mountain bike race. I am totally psyched for this event. Similarly to others with whom I ride and race, Joe Foley, Gwadzilla, among others, this race serves as a sort of seasonal landmark, benchmark? I suppose I can use that biz-speak term.

I've ridden in this race twice, the first time in 2003, turning out a time of 13 hours 10 minutes, the second in 2004, 11 hours and 45 minutes. This year I resolved to make a serious attempt at racing and competing for the whole season, with this race serving as the main event for which I would prepare. No more lazing around on weekdays taking the short commute into work; get up early and go for long morning rides. Mix that schedule in with races or long rides on weekends and Wednesday morning Coppi hill repeats, and lots of help from my friend and coach JB, things have certainly progressed this year. However, unlike the other races, my goal with the 100 isn't to beat anyone but myself. That is the unique thing about this race, it's so long and so big, most people outside of the top 20 riders (and even they are pretty laid back I would imagine?) are riding for the ride. The mood of the event is filled with camaraderie, and the collective feeling has always seemed to be, "woah, this is big, good luck everyone!" Riders are friendly and supportive, volunteers are supportive and industrious.

I've set my goal for a finishing time of 10 hours and 30 minutes. Shaving an hour and 15 minutes off of last year's time is a lofty goal. I'm not sure if I'll make it. I'm confident that I will go faster than last year, so long as the bike holds up and I don't crash or have some other disaster. But achieving this time is a real unknown. I have no cycle computer on my bike- so I won't know my average speed, which would be a good thing to know in order to keep track of my progress. But really, I think I prefer to feel it, go at my own pace, keeping track of the time but not really stressing it if I'm not "on target" to meet the 10:30 time.

This week wraps up nearly 6 months of training. Saturday was a long 5 hour ride up at Gambrill/Watershed with two other CB riders who are doing the 100. It was a good fitness confirmation, after 5 hours I was still ready to ride 5 more... Sunday was an easy 2.5 hour spin on the road bike, and this week will be filled with easy commutes, rest, carbs, and avoiding sickness!


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