Once again I competed. I went out strong and continued fairly strong through the first aid station. Somewhere between 1 and 2 I faded and faded hard. I lost all power and wasn't feeling up to the challenge of beating my previous time of 8 hours and 46 minutes. My plan was changing.
Once I arrived at aid station 2 I was feeling better. I loaded up on some fruit and water, refilled my bottles and within 5-10 minutes I was off again. A friend of mine was also racing who thought he would be chasing me. In reality, I was chasing him until the 4th aid station.
Between 2 and 3 I felt strong on most climbs and downhills felt better. I was cramping slightly in my quads as the heat was tipping the high 80s. I kept reaching in my jersey pocket to grab some sport beans and take a sip of water. I was back on track for beating my time.
I arrived at aid station 3 over and hour earlier than I had the previous year. We once again loaded up on some fruit and water, rested for a minute and decided to take off. So I hopped on the saddle and clipped my right foot and then tried to clip the left foot in. I thought "where in the hell is my peddle?" I looked down to find the crankarm gone. So, I looked back and saw it laying neatly in the grass behind me.
Well, sh*t... now what? With some help from a friend and local bike wrench, we put the crankarm on the best we could with the tools that were available. The arm stayed on through about half the distance from 3 to 4 when it fell off again. So, I stopped and put it back on again. This time I made it the last 4 or 5 miles of downhill riding to aid station 4.
While there I was tightening the arm when another local bike wrench from Spearfish asked if I needed anything. I said "yeah, I could use a crank bolt." He then asked what size and walked over and saw I was running SLX cranks. He didn't have anything for me but he did use a better tool to tighten the crankarm onto the spindle. It stayed the rest of the ride.
Right after aid 4 is a horrendous climb that goes straight up on an old forest service road. For me, its a 30-40 minute hike-a-bike up to the bacon station. My friend the wrench and the other friend who I was chasing were all hiking together when to my luck, they started to cramp. I asked if I could do anything while they stretched out and just kept walking. This was clearly my chance to move forward and regain my lead.
Once at the top at the bacon station it's a short climb then a very sketchy downhill where I broke my collarbone 5 or 6 years ago then at the bottom begins a slow, steady climb up a fire road for a few miles. I cranked away and kept going until I hit more single track. We're almost home... After the road, there is some small climbs up to the top of Tinton. I got there and felt really good about myself and the time. I was going to be in right around 2 p.m. which was alot earlier than last year.
I pushed as hard as I could the last 10 miles not getting out of the middle ring for any of the short bursts of steep climbs on the downhill run back to Spearfish.
I arrived at Spearfish park in 6 hours 51 minutes after starting the 50 mile race. I crushed last years time of 8 hours 46 minutes and set a new personal record for myself. I was extremely happy with my time and my race. Fun times... Can't wait for next year now. Can I go under 6?