At just over the 50 mile mark my head was starting to swim and my breath was really shallow. As I came down a hill I realized I had a rear puncture so by the time I got to the course marshal (now walking) at the corner she was shouting at me "Aren't you supposed to be on your bike?" She said it with a laugh so I know she meant well. I sat at that corner for 20 minutes debating what to do and finally realized that sanity dictated I should resign for this year.
|My nerves subsided by the time my daughter and I were prepping my aid-station drop-bags. Each bag had two bottles of water, a peanut butter sandwich and a spare tube.|
It was a rolling start with a field of just over 300.
|That's me above, almost dead centre, in the orange.|
I did cramp a lot but managed to get through it every time. I drank plenty of water and ate at every opportunity. My legs felt good, my conditioning felt good but the heat (oh, the heat) defeated me in the end. I think I was very, very close to heatstroke. In one of the post-race interviews a competitor said her Garmin read 104 degrees.
|Although I'm smiling in this after photo my head didn't feel right until about half way through dinner.|
I left it all on that course in West Virginia/Pennsylvania so I have no regrets. And I will be back. June 21, 2014.
Lots of fun. Great camaraderie and conversations abounded. Interesting aid-stations, if not actually useful (M&M peanuts, pretzels, trail-mix, Famous Amos cookies) and I even got a mention on the local news coverage (well I was one of the three Canadians in the race).
A couple of additional observations:
- West Virginia back-roads use much larger diameter gravel that we do in Canada. Those chunks were basically golf ball sized.
- The smaller the home the larger the flag.
- Not Obama fans in those parts. I wouldn't normally wade into the political but they made their opinions very clear.
- 35c tires aren't quite wide enough for this ride. I am looking at some 42c Schwalbe's for next year.