Yesterday, Jeff and I set out to do a training ride for the upcoming 6 hours of Warrior Creek mountain bike race. Our plan was to do 4 laps without the myriad stops and breaks that are the hallmark of group mountain bike rides. Just the two of us in a not quite race simulation ride.
The weather was nice and warm, but inexplicably, the trails were greasy to peanut buttery for long tractionless stretches. Right off the bat, precious watts were exerted to essentially go nowhere. Forcing your weight onto the rear wheel proved futile as I was still spinning it while nearly pulling a wheelie. Our plan looked questionable as we made slow, energy sapping progress.
We got out of the truly sloppy portion of the trail and were greeted with decently tractionable stretches of trail broken up here and there with more glop and goop. The first lap was finished and we were on the second lap as we realized that the trail was tacking up the riding was getting much better. For me, the second lap was when the demons started to work on me as I toed into the uncharted waters of more endurance type mountain biking than I am used to. I pushed through the dark moments and made it to the finish of the second lap, convinced that I had reached my limit and would not be riding further.
We sat and ate, took stock of our physical state and took off for another lap. At this point, we were 2 laps and 3 hours into the ride. Physically, we were getting somewhat sore and fatigued, but not unbearably so. I kinda got alittle concerned about our plan when I noticed that the sun seemed to be going down at a decent rate and the air was getting cooler.
It is weird how fatigue magnifies little mistakes and you find yourself crashing in really stupid circumstances. I started to walk the short power climbs that were greasy, rather than waste the energy trying to ride them. Concentration seemed to waver at the wrong moments and it becme a game to try and snap back to attention in time to keep upright and pointed down the trail. It was nice to come to the end of lap three. Despite the myriad problems on each of the three laps, average lap times were pretty close to each other. I was pleased to note that I felt like I had another lap left in me, but was equally pleased to head to the car, get out of the chamois and head home for some food.
Now the question remains: should we do another shakeout ride and push for 6 hours prior to raceday? or just keep training and save it all for the race?