Learned a few things at this race...
1) Why it is called SweatShaker - it's a very bumpy trail. It will shake parts off your bike if you're not careful.
2) Don't ever try using only a water bottle at a race you've never been in. I figured it was a short enough race that I shouldn't need my camelback - it would only irritate me and make me more hot. If there was ever a venue to demand a camelback, this would have been it. And a full-suspension bike.
3) Tall water bottles will not stay in your standard bottle cage. Lost my only source of hydration on a hot/humid day before hitting mile ONE. Shook it right out...gone. Thankfully a guy behind me yelled that I lost it so I stopped and walked around for maybe 20 seconds to look for it. Couldn't spend any more time - all the rest of my age group was now gone. I knew today I wanted to dig deep, but I didn't know I would have to go this far - no water.
So onward I rode, the next 13 miles w/o any hydration. This is not good, I don't function well w/o water.
Mile 3: Dry mouth. Dust from the dry trail coated me inside and out. Could not swallow my own spit. How am I going to do this? Scofield already passes me, he started minutes behind me - I can barely say 5 words. Too dry.
Mile 8: I start to get the cold sweats and a headache. Already sweating a ton, I knew things were going to get bad quick if I didn't do something. I slow my pace, I'm losing my ability to concentrate on the trail.
Mile 10: Body being punished by the trail. Upperbody tired, struggling to hold my line. Back spasming - can't get up out of the saddle long enough to stretch, too bumpy. Legs failing. Utilizing the granny gear on steeper climbs. I think to myself, has it really come to this? I decide to choke down a Gu Gel, sans water. It's got extra caffeine, so hopefully that will keep me alert. Sticky hands, mouth, lips. Terrible to choke down. Plus the fact, I was expecting Pineapple, but it was Vanilla. Bleck.
Mile 13: Reaching the point where you ride through the first 2.5 miles from the beginning of the race again. I slow my roll to scan the forest for my bottle, need it desperately. I find it nestled next to a log, in the shade, presumably taking a nice quiet nap as I'm out on the trail without him. Pick it up, immediately take a large sip (still COLD, YES!) and tuck it in my jersey pocket for safe keeping.
From this point on, I don't remember any of the last 2.5 miles of the race. I remember going VERY slow into turns, barely able to navigate. Now relying strictly on instincts.
I finish the race, just about completely wiped out. Borderline confused, dizzy, things zooming in and out - seeing stars. I'm aware enough to know where the sounds of other Rapid Wheelmen were standing to I come to a stop there, lay the bike down, immediately strip off my helmet, gloves, open my jersey. My back is a wreck from all the jarring. I could not get comfortable. I stand with my hands on my knees, then sit with knees up, then stretched out on the ground. Figure I had better stand up and get my bearings. Water never tasted so good.
In the end, it was a good time, with good friends in a new place. Trail is decent, it's twisty with some quick dips and climbs. Technical because of that. For a smoother ride, it requires a lot of standing. This would be a good place to train - not much fun if you want to go fast for all out speed.
Races are fun, but I never seem to perform up to my own expectations, which usually leaves me to be disappointed in myself. I don't know if that makes me non-competitive, or just always looking within for something better. Always destined to "fail"? Is that good or bad? I don't know. Just keep sticking with it until something golden happens I guess.
In the 4 hours post-race, I would consume 92 oz of fluid. Water, energy drink, Recoverite...plus then a 12 oz beer. So, 104 oz of total fluid. And I peed once around 5pm - only maybe 10-14 oz worth. Dehydration confirmed.
I survived. Hope I can do it again.
Garmin Connect - Details