Matt Donahue

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cranky Monkey Dirt Crit Burnout

First, I rode an 82 mile Mass-Sky ride in Saturday's heat.

Sunday was the Cranky Monkey dirt crit. It's a full gas effort for 60 minutes plus one lap- a.k.a. 70 minutes.

I was carpooling with Steve (teammate and neighbor who lives behind us). At about 10:30 we realized the race started at 12, not 1. Neither of us had our bikes in any working order. His BB was pulled and in pieces, my bike hadn't been touched since my final mud-bath lap at the 24 hours of Killington the Sunday prior. Each of us went into overdrive to get ready. We rolled out of the alley at 11:20 for Wakefield. 40 mintues to go...

Earlier in the week, my coach JB and I agreed that this was not a 'priority race' for my season goals. So I had it in my head that it was just a training race. But couple that with being wiped out from the day before, and late arrival (no warmup) it was not starting out well.

We rolled into the parking lot- with 7? minutes until the start. I jumped into my kit, put the front wheel on and headed for the reg table, grabbed my number hastily twist-tied it onto the bike and sprinted down the path to the start line as the field was disappearing up the road and the organizer was yelling at me "GO! GO! their off!" Steve ended up starting further back than I did, he lined up with the single speeders who were next on the line.

So I sprinted up the road and caught on to the end of the expert group as they entered the singletrack. I started passing people fairly early, and was making good headway to a mid to upper mid-pack position. I was battling pretty well with 3 or 4 guys. At that point I was riding strong, not suffering, riding at probably 85% and feeling like I could hang with and eventually beat the guys I was around by hanging on and exploiting the passing opportunities. Then I started to suffer. It was hot. My mental state was such that I didn't really care how well I did, yet I didn't want to get beat by the guys who I had worked to catch.

Meanwhile, on the physical side, I was getting stuffed into the hurt locker. The 82 mile ride from the day before in the Shenandoahs had left me feeling pretty empty. Mentally I wasn't willing to go into the hurt locker. So I started thinking I would let up a bit, which resulted in the guys I'd been battling with riding away. I started giving up. I began evaluating whether I would throw in the towel and just ride off the course. But there were only 3 laps left, and I was still ahead of a few guys. And it's a race! come on!

I went through some back and forth, but generally kept slowing down. Steve passed me... and just as I was about to head off the course, I saw a teammate who rode earlier in the sport race cheering me on. His enthusiasm was enough to get me through the second to last lap, which quickly became the last lap as the leader lapped me (thank God).

So that's what being late, mentally unprepared and having a bad attitude got me. Not a stellar race, but it's all part of the season. I'm probably suffering from a little burnout.

Time to focus on training for the SM 100.


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