SoCal Fat Tire Epic 50: A Book With Chapters

Today Tim and I did the SoCal Epic 50 race at Vail Lake in Temecula. It won't lie it was actually 48 miles. My main goal was have fun. I also hoped to execute somethings I didn't in Tahoe so I can have a better day in Hawaii. Today's race was twice as long and twice as hot as Tahoe but I felt twice as good. I guess altitude really does count for something. That being said it was still a day that required more than Wheaties. It was a day for a roar like Tony the Tiger. Here it is in chapters. Read's like an Oprah pick minus an editor.

#1 The Hole shot. 

I planned to ride the first lap and race the second. It was to be a long day. Guess what? I got the "hole shot" for the girls. Well the amateur ones. It was a happy accident but it made me smile just the same. Let's be honest: I just like the sound of it. "Hole Shot". I was right behind Tim and I knew he'd be proud of me. 

#2. Chill Out:

  The first 10 miles humbled me greatly. I didn't know what was coming and I was late on all my turns and shifting. I shifted under pressure continuously and set a new PR for throwing my chain. Yes, throwing my chain. I don't drop it. I throw it. I was also riding like a crazy person, charging up the hills until I about rolled down backwards. The chain throwing bothered me. I hung my head in chain shame. Finally, I decided to get a clue and copy off the people who looked smooth in their execution. I was going back and forth with them and felt I was expending myself for no real gain. If you can't beat them, join them right? I learned I just needed to ride more patiently, climb with a less panicked approach. I just chilled out. Guess what? It got easier. Things really came together. One by one I started passing people and it was sticking. Lap one was  history.

#3 The Pitt Stop:

Special needs in Ironman is cool but the "Pitt" is even better. You get to set up a little camp with all you need. Our camp was a really cool 2000 Subaru that recently passed the smog inspection :) I pulled into the "Pitt" with 2:20 on the Garmin switched hydration packs, threw ice cubes down my shorts. We had all sorts of everything in case we needed it, even spare pedals. I was going to reapply sunscreen but I decided it was not a priority after passing all those people. My arms and face are now fried and I look like a dork if it makes you feel any better.

#4. I Ripped:
 I ripped my arm coolers off because I thought they weren't having a cooling effect at the speed I was traveling. When I say "ripped" I mean ripped. Seriously one ripped into shreds. I guess adrenaline does funny things.

#5 . I Pods are Legal:

 The race directors acknowledged it would be a long day. They legalized I Pods and even made it a point to announce it. They just asked for racers to be smart, play it low. Total performance enhancer.

#6 Cramping Up without Crapping Out.

 I cramped like never before but made good choices and managed it well. I downed all my planned nutrition and drank liters. I figured everybody was cramping. It was 100 plus degrees. I had so much fun loop 2. All these things I screwed up the first time I nailed. I only threw my chain once. Hah.

#7 Motivate with Motivator:

10 miles out I got really excited. I really felt like I was "having a breakthrough." I knew what was left and there was plenty of caffeine in my blood steam. There was fun single track, "easy climbing", more single track, then out to the pavement where I was going sprint my legs off to the finish. I wanted to finish like in the movie "Chasing Legend" where the crusty old guy comes on the radio and and tells the tour riders "You're going to eat shit now boys" He makes them cry like babies. They sprint into a paincave until the finish line. Yup, that was my vision.

#8 Paul Simon, Graceland:

6 miles out I was railing on the single track. Loving life. Paul Simon, Graceland  was blaring on the I Pod.  It was all I could do to not start bouncing up and down with my suspension. I was so excited. Tim would NOT be expecting me so soon.  I noticed my rear tire was sliding around the corners and it seemed slower up the climbs. Maybe despite my bouncy state I was fatigued.  Then I really skidded sideways. I was in such denial with 5 miles to go but I didn't want to eat it. I hopped off the bike for an inspection. The rear tire was really low.

#9 Trusting Latex:

Today was my first day going tubeless. Tim warned me if the tubeless leaked a little to pump it to a higher pressure. The latex goo would presumably fill in the leak. I guess you could say those who trust in latex are taking a chance.

 #10 Down Hill From Here:

This is where it all goes downhill. I hastily filled the tube with a bit of CO2, ripped off the adapter, replaced my camel back straw in my ear. Yes, I tried to put my straw in my ear instead of my head phone. I was riding my bike like I was on borrowed time. The borrowed time ran out and so did the air in my rear tire. Two miles out I was on the rim.

#11 Good For Lance:

 I am told Lance rode the final 4 miles at Leadville on a flat. Good for Lance. I find this impressive. I am not sure what kind of tires he rolls but mine rolled off the rim. Riding was not an option now. A maintenance truck came by and offered a ride. Thanks but no thanks. I came mostly to have fun and to learn today. Racing the way I was exceeded my expectation. The opportunity to execute my goals was still there and I wanted not to quit.  I started to try to run it in. 2 miles in mtn bike shoes. I didn't think of barefoot running. How long would it take me 20 minutes? More.  Did I have to finish with the bike?

#12 The Kindness of Strangers

 A male passed and asked if I needed anything? I was not his problem. I selfishly thought it would take me max 10 minutes to insert a tube. Max! Especially since the bead was off. I sheepishly bummed some Co2 . He handed me his adapter with it. I tried to chase after him to give back the adapter. That it had but he said he'd get it later. I felt a bit greedy. Me, me, me, My finish was all I could think about.

I was stumped. There was a valved screwed in the whole my new valve should go through. I tried and failed to remove it. I pontificated a tool was required. Yes, girl who stick straw in ear pontificates. I found a strange piece of hardware amongst my belongings. I tried to use it. Failed. Now my bike was in several pieces, running was not an option. Another man and asked if I needed help. I named Tim's bike and of course he knew it. I asked it him message Tim that his wife was hosed when he got to the finish. An SDBC rider came by and asked if I needed help. I selfishly told him I didn't have the right tool to remove the valve stem and he in serviced me on how it was done. No tool required it just unscrews and I don't know why I couldn't do that. He was so kind.

The number of people willing to take time out of their race to salvage mine absolutely floors me. I resumed changing the tire. It was a big slippery latex mess, but the tube went in easily. The tire was super soft from the heat. I prepared to inflate with the huge can of borrowed CO2. I couldn't get my adapter on the valve stem. I was perplexed. I stared at it in dismay. I know I am the girl who stuck her straw in her ear but the inners were missing from my CO2 adapter. No question about it. That thing, I assumed was a strange tool packed by my loving, hard working husband, was a piece of the adapter. Slap forehead with hand now! It wasn't over though. The nice man  lent me his adapter with the can of CO2. I wasn't really sure how to use his gas. I was really afraid I'd be like Chrissie Wellington in Kona and send the CO2 into the atmosphere. Just in case you hadn't had enough of the men who asssisted the damsel in distress stories here's one more.

Driving toward me in a golf cart was the nice race director. The man, the myth, the legend, who legalized the I-Pod. He even checked to see if I had pinched the tube. I didn't, I gave myself an a A on that assignment. I commented that I was only 2 miles out right? Less than that. 1.5 miles and 1 was down hill. I forgot about the parade lap.

#13 Parade Lap:

At the beginning of the race we did and out and back on the pavement through the Vail Lake Campground. I forgot about the parade lap. Who forgets they started their day in a bike parade?  Is their am emoticon for hand slap to the forehead. Shoulda, woulda, coulda ran faster than that fiasco. Well in hindsight I could have ran 7:30 pace into the finish, that's how it works. I learned so much about the kindness of strangers and how to deal with tubeless.

#14 Celebrate in Style:

A pickup truck will do.

Tim got second place in the single speed division. The nice lady is getting out the jersey for the winner of the division. Single speed savages.

Despite loosing time I still got some hardware. I lost a couple places in the women's overall rankings. Raise your hand if you care? I don't see any hands.  I know your heart bleeds for me. I mean my latex mess is right up there with world peace. No? Aslo that is a horrendous picture of me but once again I feel your heart bleeding.

Some are saying the competition isn't very deep.

Yup, It's just that easy ;)

Seriously though. Big, huge, gigantic and enormous thanks and hugs to all those who encouraged me today in so many ways. I am overwhelmed by your kindness.You made my day a positive one. Special thanks to Tim and Paul for the time they spent on my bike and well waiting for me while I ride it.


beth said...

JEN! i didn't even know you were doing this. i am SOOOOO impressed. and i definitely raised my hand for caring about the latex mess. i was jumping on my couch for you to fix it nice and fast.
and i bet you would have won if that didn't happen. but of course you're too humble to write that :)
stupid latex.
congrats on not giving up!

tim said...

so sorry your tire blew out! I am always nervous when I work on your bike...

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Thanks Beth, you didn't know because it was a Thursday night decision and I was thinking I might drop out after the first lap if it was no fun.

And Tim ....don't worry. It's part of the game. I had 4h 45 minutes and 45.81 miles on the garmin of amazing riding thanks to you! Never would have done it if you didn't suggest it.