This was my third trip to the Fall race at Crystal Mountain. I had a great time and enjoyed the scenery in Northern Michigan. How was the race?
It was a typical 'roll out' down the asphalt. The guys seemed to settle in quickly and rode relaxed until we crested the small hill. Then the pack began to swell at the front and going into the left hander you needed to be attentive. Guys were breaking, tires rubbing and elbows out. Now it was time to make the right hand turn onto the dirt and fight for a place on the trail. Having finally settled down the train started through the fast, sweeping single track of the Betsie River Trail. The body was feeling strong and relaxed. Nothing much happened until we reached the climbs. It seemed like people just stopped. Riders got bunched up so you needed to find your way around or loose time. On the short steep climb towards the end of the lap I dismounted and ran up. I passed 4 guys! Crazy! Then the climb to the top. It seemed tough. I was looking for a comfortable line and the legs weren't turning over as quickly. Like I said it was tough. Lap 1 @ 43:xx.
Lap 2 was basically a power test. Go as hard as you could when you could. The riders were thinned out so you tried and ride with a group and when you hit the 2 track go for the pass or hold on. All was still going well until the climb up the slope. Again, I couldn't get comfortable and turn over the gear. Made it over and down. Lap 2 @ 44:xx
Lap 3 started off with some EFS and water on the cart path, quickly followed by putting my head down hand and pounding down the road. After turning onto the trail I thought the final lap was going to be fine. It changed after the climb up from the Betsie River Valley. I stood and powered up the climb. About 10 feet from the top it kicks slightly and that's were it happened. The cramp! My left thigh, on the outer quad started cramping. I eat the rest of my EFS and drank what I had but it was too late. I lightened by pedaling and dropped the heart rate to around 155. I didn't have any more cramping until I picked up the HR. On the last climb I suffered. I was riding middle /32 and wanted to go easier, but I wasn't going granny. The cadence slowed and I struggled to the top. The finish line came and I finished in 2:15:36 with a 48:xx final lap. I dropped off by 4 minutes.
The glass is still half full. I did 6 minutes better than last year and had a pre-race goal of 2:15:00. Next stop is Ann Arbor CX and then IceMan. I am still on track for my IceMan goal so I need to stay focused for three more weeks.