Sunday, June 12, 2011

Michigan Mountain Mayhem 2011 RR


Firstly, I am really mad because I got lost on the course (twice) and thus prolonged my ride by 30k!!! That's like 1 whole hour!

It was held close to Torch Lake in northern Michigan and I went there with bunch of people from tri club. One guy has a cottage right on a lake and 14 of us stayed there+ 2 in a hotel. So that was fun.
I was planning on doing century ride (100miles)- longest I have ever went. But when we were in a car going up one guy was trying to persuade people to do 200k ride with him and because I am...well, me...I started thinking about it.

It was raining in the morning and they thankfully postponed the start by 1hour because it was supposed to stop. It did and were off.
It is not a real race, it is more like a ride but some people race it. People think that I am a fast cyclist and I was offered $500 bucks if I beat one super-fast guy from out club:) Well, I knew I could not do it (yet!!! and on my little crappy bike) but would be nice. By the way, this guy is "kind of" single and VERY good looking. Some people questioned him and he said he had "kind of a" girlfriend but apparently sex is not that great and she is not a runner and it bugs him. I should start doing some training rides/runs with him:)
Anyway, I went for a female win although there are no awards, it is just for bragging rights. I started with people from a club because some of them were claiming they want to go fast. But they did not go fast so I just went ahead. I knew I need to find someone to draft off and I decided to choose a first guy who passes me and even better if his quadriceps were as huge as my waist cos big quads=good biker. Sure enough, 6-7k in one of those passed me and I decided to stay with him. But then I started to feel bad about drafting of him so I let him go. But they I started to regret it because we were moving at 20+ miles average (very fast downhills and pretty fast uphills, I definitely did not hold my HR under 160...) and I knew I would not be able to do that by myself. Fortunately he lost his water bottle and went looking for it so I caught up to him and stayed with him.
I was kind of wondering whether we will be able to sustain that pace for 100miles but whatever. We were going, it felt easy and we were passing people. Actually, I think that only 2 people (this guy and later one other guy) passed me the whole ride but that's because I started at the back and fast dudes were already gone.
But then it turned out that this fast guy was doing only 100k. Then I knew why he was going that fast. He left me pull him for around 4minutes and then thanked me for that and then left me draft again. We were approaching one aid station and discussing whether we were stopping or not and I missed my turn for 100miles and have not realized it until almost 3 miles later. Damn. So I left my fast guy and went back:(
Then I was all alone for quite a while until another fast guy passed me and I started drafting of him. Again 20+ miles average. In one of my previous posts I posted an elevation profile of this race and there was mentioned something about optional Super Hill with 29% degree steepness as one point. And this guy did not want to do it (actually, only very few people did it) so we passed it. I did not want to loose him but I knew I would not be able to fall asleep if I did not try it. So I let him go, turned back and went for it. It was not that bad, problem was that it was slippery because of rain and when I stood up my rear wheel started to "slide" (I do not know how to call it). I was very very close to making it but it was only a very narrow path, not a road and there was this sharp turn and I did not managed to keep my bike on pavement so I failed the hill:( I was considering about trying it again but I knew that it would mess up my time even more than it was already messed up so I let it go.
Then again I rode alone for quite a while, but I saw some people in front of me and I was gaining on them so I decided to hammer and catch them asap and then cruise behind them. I caught up to them but soon realized that they were not going as fast as I thought they were. But that was not a problem because soon we were passing an aid station and some guys that looked fast were pulling out so I just jumped on their wheels. And I basically stayed with them the rest of the ride.
We were moving fast and they did not let me pull- advantage of being a young girl among 6 fast men:)
Then the dilemma came- we got to the point where 100miles and 200k routes split. I decided to do whatever those guys were doing. But part of them went for 100miles and part for 200k! So I was like, whatever, let's do 200K! I can do it:)

So I just stayed with them, they asked me my name and they told me they were from Canada and it looked like it was some kind of biking club with a coach and some of his riders. We caught up to some other people and there was 9-10 of us riding together. It was great.
But there was this one young guy who was clearly fading and on one of the hills I went ahead and only 4 of them went with me, the others decided to keep it easy. So then it was 5 of us. I soon started to regret my surge because geez, we were going fast and I started to hurt. But I just put my head down (well, actually I was staring at the back and lower of a guy in front of me, it was a pretty good view actually) and hammered along. We passed 100mile mark in 5:25.18 (the first girl last year did the 100 miles in 6:20, but the course was slightly different last year they say but still you get an idea about our speed). Soon there was only 4 of us.

And then we got lost and did some extra loop around trying to find our way back. I was really pissed because we were going to break 7 hours but then I knew that that was not going to happen anymore!
Eventually we found the course again but we kind of split and there was only me and one Canadian together. He did most of the pulling but left me pull sometimes because clearly he was not going to maintain 20mph by himself for whatever we had left. We eventually caught up with 2 other guys but by that point I had NOTHING in me. I was on autopilot, hammering and staring at whoever was in front of me and every hill was a torture. I was already at 216k and I had to idea how long we still have to go, so that did not help neither. I was hurting and miserable and hungry and just wanted to be done. But I hanged on. And then The Wall came. That's the name of a steep long hill (there are actual signs warning cars that there is a steep hill ahead). Most people were walking but there was no way I was going to walk that sucker! Unfortunately the other two guys apparently caught the second breath or something and they pedaled ahead so it was again me and the Canadian guy. I do not remember much of last couple miles, I think I ate 2 gels in last 6 miles hoping it will get me through that because also the Canadian caught the second breath:) And then the finish line came and it was all good:) 230k!

I stopped once to pee and once at the aid station to refill my water bottle and stock on gels and eat watermelon and strawberries.
The results are not up yet so I do not know my time with these breaks, but my time for pure riding was 7h51m, average speed 29.3kph (18.3mph!). That's freaking fast for the course with 10,000feet of climbing. Sure, it was 10,000fet of downhills as well and I was drafting 60-70% of the time but still, I have never ridden that far and that fast. Unfortunately my official average will be much lower than that because it will be calculated for 200k + extra time for stops not for 230k I actually did.
I just wished we had not got lost because we would have broken 7 hours. Hopefully next year. I will be starting with the fast guys!

I was sooooo hungry when I was done. I ate 3 chicken wraps, lot of rice and beans and salad and later pizza and gummy bears and the Canadian invited me for a beer:)
It has turned out that almost everyone from our group bailed out of 200k and 100 miles and most people did 100k. Slackers:) Only 4 of us did 200k. The guy who tried to persuade people to do 200k with him had to drop out at 38miles because his chain broke:(
I do not know the official time of the fast guy, but I did not win my $500:) I think that he said his average for the whole ride with stops (although I do not know whether he stopped or not because he was racing to win. It seems that he was second though) was 19.1mph. So I still have some training to do to beat him. But his one wheel is worth twice as much as my whole bike so that should have been definitely taken into consideration:)

I had a blast anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was forced to wear running capris because it was cold so for your information, you can ride 200k in underwear and running capris, no problem. Biking shorts padding is overrated. My muscles are not sore at all, although my knee, left ankle and left hip hurt a bit. And one of my cages on pedals broke, so I need to get a new one:( Or maybe I should just get real biking pedals and shoes.


  1. You are awesome. Totally earned your Bat. Totally.

  2. Thanks Michelle! Great, now I hope you will forget about Bat swimming set:)

    Thanks Mad, I am still now Lance like you but getting there:) I am starting to think that I should have been a cyclist. It hurts more than running but I am probably better at it.

  3. you are seriously so good.