These wicked numbers mean: I finished 13th out of 335 riders
. Woo, that's pretty sweet! And 100 times better than I would have ever expected.
Sorry to complain now, but I had no fun at all during that race. The weather was perfect, the trail in awesome condition, all signs for a good day - but I was in no racing mood at all when the gun went off at 6:30 in the morning. Just too much race-time on the saddle lately.
While riding up and down the Virginia mountains I often though about just stopping, maybe pretend I have a knee injury or I could simply ride down one of the steep cliffs and then pretend I crashed - luckily I realized these are fairly stupid ideas.
So I kept suffering until aid-station 5, at about mile 75. That's when the girl that handed me some food said to the five riders currently hanging out at the station: "Congrats, you guys are in the top 20",
and when 2 more riders pulled in she said "and they are also still top 20".
I couldn't believe it, I always was under the impression that I was way further back. Now there was only one thing to do: Get back on that bike and ride as fast as you can to stay ahead of those 7 from the aid station and approximately 300 riders further back.
In the final following miles I was only passed by 2 more riders, finished 13th overall and finally had a little more fun than early on!Some stats:
3560 meters of climbing, 156 km in 8:41. I beat my time from two years ago by 40 minutes, and my heartrate was 147 (compared to 148 in 2003).
I'm especially proud that, once the race was over, I only had beer for the rest of the day (free beer for all racers!). I was pretty much wasted at 5 in the evening... cheers!
(Pictures to follow soon)