Lake Havasu Race Report (L. Kelley)

I've had my cup of coffee and a small breakfast and have been contemplating on the race..... if that's what it really was. It seems that it was more of a "ride", which is good yet bad. I've gone through the race with Sue, the woman I did the BC race with, and I just can't seem to figure out what the heck is going on. Even you and I have had this discussion.....and still an epiphany escapes me. WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?

So…. with that being said:

The race was about 3+ hours away and the weekend after the 24 Hour race, so a lot of people bailed on this one, there were only 4 marathoners….one was a team mate that had yet to race this year…not sure why that matters. Okay back to the story.

I arrived at the venue around noon on Fri to pre ride the course and to see if the 32/18 was going to be a bit much. After one loop and trying to figure out if I wanted to spin out or suffer on the hills I thought I had come up with a solution….go with the 19…..easier said than done. I went to put the 19 on and didn’t have the right type of spacers….so didn’t want to run the 20….which might have ended up being fine but why would I do anything easy????? So I stuck with the 18.

I know how important sleep is the night before a race but let me tell ya, when you are staying in one of the busiest places for spring breakers…..oh boy, and it’s not even spring break! So at 1:30am Mr. Drunk man is trying to get into our room….. trying his key, yanking on the door, pounding on the door…. for about 15 min, because I was not opening the door and when I tapped on the window to get his attention he was oblivious! That dude was going to be feeling like a truck hit him in the morning. Finally I called the front desk to get him. I had just fallen back asleep when drunk man #2 showed up looking for Roy, beats me who the hell Roy was but #2 wasn’t happy about not being able to get into his room. Come to find out, he ripped the screen off the window from the room next to us….. It’s a good assumption that I will not be staying at this hotel again. So sleep was not good…..oh, and then they didn’t serve breakfast till 7:00, seriously???? I have an 8:30 start time. Good thing I brought some instant oatmeal just in case, so had that for breakfast.

Okay, back to the race/ride. Lined up and the horn blew. Jessie, my team mate hasn’t raced all year due to working, so I had no idea how she was riding but I knew she had been training hard….and off we went. The course was broken up pretty well. The first 3-4 miles was gradual up hill with a few rollers and a few sections that were long double wide. I sat on Jessie’s wheel till we hit one of the hills and she spun out and I went by, so she sat on mine. We got to the “white truck” which was a right hand turn that produced a couple of huge rollers then a fairly steep climb. I was still on her wheel when we got to the top. The next part was just giant rollers and a river bed that we zig zagged across till we hit the “dirt wall”. Neither of us could ride it so we just walked it. When we got to the top, we looked for the other two girls and couldn’t see them any where. So Jessie followed me through the next tech section and to the switch back, which was super loose and steep…we walked that too. Then I was back on her wheel to the dirt road that lead to the start/finish. We went through the feed zone and lap timer together. I was feeling pretty good and figured we were keeping a fairly good pace.

Lap Two: pretty much the same. Jessie rode my wheel to the “white truck”. I rode her’s to the “dirt wall”. She rode mine to the switch back, then we rode into the feed zone together. This lap though we started getting caught by some of the Pros and Cat 1 men, so we did have to slow to let them pass. Oh and I ended up off the trail in a bunch of loose rocks, but didn’t go down : ) I also had to dab on one of the hills….. which I knew was going to happen as the race went on and the legs got tired. In the feed zone I grabbed some water and off we went again.

Lap Three: once again, Jessie and I shared the work load, but this time on the long gradual climb out, I could feel the fatigue setting in from having to ride the 18. I couldn’t spin up this section at all and was really having to push the gear, but felt I was still keeping a good pace. Once again, we were passed by some of the fast men but now we were starting to catch some of the marathon men that had gone out too fast. We pulled over at the top of the “dirt wall” to let some men go by (and to see if they could clear the short steep climb) two guys made it and the third had to dab at the top, I said….”oh, you almost made it, good job.” He goes “Well I’m on a single speed” I said “Well so am I and I’m marathon.” Needless to say, that shut him up…. stupid boys….hahahahahaha. Jessie and I finished the lap together. I stopped in the feed zone to get another bottle of water and to have some water dumped on me….it was starting to warm up and I wanted to stay cool.

Lap Four: by now my quads were feeling it. I let Jessie get ahead of me on the climb out, I was having to push way too hard and I felt like I was crawling. She slowly pulled away but I kept her in eye sight. She got to the “white truck” and I saw her go up the climb. I was half way up the climb when I got behind one of the marathon girls, she had had a flat and was now getting lapped, I could’t get around her because of the single track…there was just no where to pass. So I just followed her till we got to the “dirt wall” She let me by, but by now, I had no idea how far Jessie was ahead of me. I tried to just ride smooth and get up the hills….quads burning! I got to the switch back and saw her at the top. I walked up them as fast as I could but got behind two guys that were cramping and had to follow them till I got to the top….. I know this is where Jessie threw it down. She said she saw me when she got to the top…. Anyway, got back on and finished in second place….yep $90. That’ll pay for my massage later today!

My legs were like noodles. I haven’t even looked at my HR data, I’ll upload that after work. I drank two Muscle Milk and went for a short spin while I waited for my daughter to finish….. poor thing crashed and she had no rear brake for her last lap…she came in crying….. told her it was all a part of racing.

The Good: Felt strong during the first 30 miles, then could feel the fatigue setting in. Nutrition was good. I think I still need to work on a bit more calories but never felt like I was going to bonk. Hydration was good too. I’m getting much better and walking my bike up hills : )

The Bad/ to work on: Still trying to figure out how to “race” the darn single speed. I turn the pedals over but sometimes I don’t feel like I’m turning them over fast enough…. maybe that comes with strength? And I’m not sure where to put this and maybe this has to do with the “racing” part. Seems my legs give out a bit before I’m exhausted. So is that I’m not working hard enough, but I’m not wanting to fry my legs…. does that make sense?

So back to the nagging question as to WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING? And I guess it’s more everyone else saying WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING? Everyone is so sure if I was riding a geared bike I’d be winning… but instead I’m out there on the single speed and taking second…..

Am I happy with that???? I honestly think I am. And I’m drawing these conclusions as I write. Sure I come in second, and who knows next race it might be third or fourth, but I’m doing what I want to do. I love riding the single speed ….yes, it makes me feel like a bad ass and a little crazy….but I like not having to think. And yes, I love riding marathon, because I’m riding my bike. My daughter kind of summed it all up for me this weekend. She was cheering me on when someone asked her “Why does your mom do marathon on a single speed?” She answered “Why wouldn’t she?” Smart kid! So I guess the moral of the story….. I’m doing what I like. Maybe I could win on a geared bike, maybe I couldn’t but would I have as much fun??? That I doubt.

Two weeks to Estrella…. and already people are telling me to ride the gears and full suspension


Coach Matt

About Matt Carnal

I love riding my bike, and helping others achieve the goals that they've laid out for themselves.