Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

HART Challenge Solo: Tiger Claw vs. Cat Paw

prerace briefing
So I just recently watched "Fearless", that Jet Li movie about respect, fear, and all that mumbo...then it dawned on me that it was just like the HART Challenge that we raced a few weekends ago. Yes, I have been slacking and if I had any avid readers, they would be pissed. Things have picked up in the training realm, so I'm actually pretty busy with everything. Still, I will carve out some time right now to finish one of two blogs that are outstanding (as in late, not f-a-b-o-l-o-u-s...as in, the rapper, not the word...as in...). Anyway, I came in knowing I was a bit out of shape so I figured I would just do this race for training and for good measure...wow, what a race to come in on! Alarm bells chimed early as the ringers came out of the woodwork: Talamini, Carlos, and some other speedsters. My navigating would not save me now...speed would really kill on this battlefield.

It was another cold, brisk morning and Mo came with to help me set up. It was a no-support race of course, it being a sprint, so she decided to help out with the race. I tried to get all my gear together and I know I had way too much stuff, but I always like being prepared for anything. We had a pretty good workout the past Tuesday and I was still sore from it the night before race day when I decided to go on a short "feeler" run. Despite feeling like crap, I came to the race anyway--can you say stubborn? I can. I am. So I went on a warm up run right before the pre-race meeting and my legs and back were still not right. Oh well, time to tough it out and maybe it will work itself out.

ikimasho!!Rick gave the pre-race meeting and wasn't able to get a preacher for the pre-race prayer this time, so he gave the blessing himself...hey, maybe that's what was wrong?! LOL. So, we lined up a few minutes later and off we went. Again, when I saw that it would be heavily weighted on the running side (10mi running to 16mi biking to 1mi paddling), I should have bowed out gracefully, but I thought I had Tiger Claw. And it felt like I might have it...for the first few minutes. Then reality set in and Carlos started to gap the field. I knew that this would happen, so it didn't really suprise me. I just tried to stay relaxed. But the up and down rolling of the run started to get to my sore legs...my Tiger Claw was turning into a Cat's Paw. I started to drift back, but still able to hold my place for the most part. After the 1st 4mi run, I was so excited to get on my bike. I was about 8th at the time.

I had a pretty quick transition and was able to beat one guy out to the bike. With a full head of steam, I tried to jam into the trailhead ahead of another guy. But I was thinking I was in a TMBRA race where most knew about race ettiquete. This barney, upon hearing me say "on your left", swerved to his left and pretty much cut me off. I was so taken by suprised that I jammed on my brakes and proceeded to superman into the trail. Nice. Not exactly how I wanted to start my glorious comeback. Somehow I was able to collect myself pretty quickly and now I was on a real mission. I caught back up to barney and made sure he knew what I was doing this time and blasted past him. I tried not to blow it all on the first part of the bike, but I was fuming. Also, I wasn't sure if I could really catch up to these guys. Still, I kept churning at steady pace. That's when I saw the guy in a triathlete suit and Ali right ahead of me. It was at the first road crossing. Shortly after we crossed, I passed triathlete dude and got up on Ali's wheel. I knew a few mild climbs were coming, so I just sat behind him to get a breather.

let the pain beginThe trail opened up on the first pipeline section and that's when I decided to pass. I knew there was a good likelihood that they would catch up to me on the 2nd run, so I tried to make some time on the bike. It looked like it was working--I would look back periodically and I saw no one. At the 2nd road crossing, Rick told me I was 4th and not to far from the leaders, which probably made me a bit too reckless. This was the fast section on the course, so I tried to pour it on here. The bad thing was that I haven't been trail riding at all in the past several months so I probably shouldn't have been going that fast. This turned into fact towards the final stretch of the bike where I ate it big time. In the process I tweaked my back and my calves went in to spasms. After trying unsucessfully to pop back onto the saddle, I had to sit there for about a minute to collect myself. Man, what is up with me and crashing?! As I tried again to get on my bike, I heard Ali and a new HART member come up on me. I just let them pass and took a few more seconds, then I got back on and pedaled like my bike was a big wheel from toys-r-us. I pretty much turned it off right there as I was officially having a bad day. I just wanted to survive the second half of the race.

I slowly rolled back into TA, Rick with a befuddled look on his face, and I really didn't want to go on yet another 4mi run. But I had to...training, right? So I did, small choppy steps to get the cramps out of my leg. I was somewhat able to find a comfortable pace, but it was a lot slower than the 1st run. I knew this because on the return trip of the run, the triathlete dude came out of nowhere and almost blew me over with his wake. I was back solidly in 7th with no desire to make any dramatic moves, even if I had anything left. Back on the bike. I still thought, at a constant pace, I would be able to make up time on the people ahead of me. But they had increased their gap so much on the run that it was pretty much insurmountable. Still, I rode like I could catch them. This lap was pretty uneventful, other than my back screaming for mercy. I couldn't power in my big ring, so that counted against my comeback too. I coasted a lot. Finally, back to TA and they were long gone.

1 crash down, 1 to goGuess what, another run! Yah! This time to the boat. My back was so beat up that I doubt I was even putting in 10min miles. This was when I was hoping that the run back after the paddle would be straight back to TA, not back around the lake. That's when my heart sank as Carlos breezed by me going the other way. No one was remotely near him. As I approached the boat put in, the 2nd place male, Tony I think, was finishing up. That's when I explained to Rick, "now I remember why I hate sprints." After my whining I got in the rubber duck, albeit green, and started paddling. This part was actually not bad since it gave my legs some rest. At the fishing dock I crossed paths with Talamini. There was a stiff breeze and I could see it as Triathlete dude, Ali, and newbie HART all were heading back into it. It made it look like I was gaining on them, but I knew that I eventually would have to paddle into the headwind too. At the turnaround, the buoy, my first attempt to grab the punch was unsuccessful--the wind was blowing me off station! Now that got me pissed off! I eventually got back to the buoy and punched and the pain and suffering was almost over.

As I was finishing up, Tommy was just starting the paddle and Bobby got in as I got out. I was pretty much in limbo now, so I just jogged it in. Boy was I happy to see that timing table! I clocked in and proceeded to disintegrate into a large heap. As I stared up at the blue sky sprawled out on my comfy tarp, the phrase "you've been served" popped into my head. LOL. The only thing that got me back up was Mo telling me that she had cooked us up a fine hot dog post-race lunch! Sweet!

So it was a tough race. Well, tough if you wanted to win since you had to punish yourself to be even remotely close to the Top Dogs. Still, I like the concept of a Solo race to pit yourself mano-y-mano with one another...next time, put some navigating in it so I don't have to run so much! Talm-O Rogaine race report coming up...


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