This year, I decided to be a bit more smartah' and try to improve over last year's performance. That meant some more focused winter training and a few fat bike races to remind the legs how to work hard. The winter prep started out all grand like with me finally podiuming at Moose Brook and then having a solid finish at Sugarloaf despite suffering two flats early in the race. Sadly, that's when things started to go south. I was hit with "issues" during the Titcomb fat bike race and then spent a month not feeling quite right. I began to wonder if I was overtrained, although that didn't seem likely, but I sure as hell wasn't feeling good on the bike.
About a week and a half before heading to Austin, the mystery was solved when a painful rash showed up on my right arm. It turns out that all of my symptoms were the early signs of shingles! As pissed as I was to have shingles, it sure was nice to finally know what had been going on with my body....So, the doc put me on a super high dose of anti-viral meds and told me I'd likely be ok for the trip. I finished my meds 1 1/2 days before departure and, thankfully, the rash was still there (still is right now actually) but under control and no longer painful.
Lotsa Hei Hei's on the trip...
Once in Texas, I built up my new Kona Hei Hei DL which I'd barely been able to ride because of the abundance of snow back in Maine. I guess this trip would be my chance to dial it in. Afterall, there's not better way to get to know a bike than to do a 100k race on it! Ride day one included 4 hours of mixed single track. Some fast flowing, some gnarly, rocky goodness and some boulder field scrambling. Basically just a good solid day of riding and getting to know my bike and all of it's capabilities (of which there are many!). I probably dug a bit too deep on these rides but it was hard to not be super stoked on riding outside, on dirt, in 70+ degree weather so I figured it was worth it.
The day before the race we did a pre-ride of the course. It turned out to be almost identical to last year's course (with just a few minor tweaks) and I was smart for this one and kept the effort low so I'd be fresh for the next days suffering.
That's all the time I have for now. Part 2 tomorrow (or whenever I get to it...)