Sunday, June 26, 2011

Iron Donkey at the Rundle's Revenge

1st time event Rundle's Revenge had an Iron Donkey category which had double the mountain bike distance of the trail run which was enticing to enter.

My last 2 weeks were spent healing my ribs from the OrganGrinder. So training and racing were on hold.

By Thursday, my ribcage was finally moving freely with awesome bodycare from Derek and Brad at River Valley Health..

Friday morning, I had decided best to rest after the ribs were sore from a Thurs night ERTC bike workout... though I was gloomy about the decision. Mid-day, getting text messages from Tim of "you racing?", "maybe"... that I went in full pack up mode and left for Canmore by 7 pm.

SATURDAY 100-km Kick-Ass Mountain Bike

Early Sat morning I arrived to race registration to see a very impressive start/finish area setup. I wanted to mtnbike 100-km for training though the 50-km trail run was daunting with minimal trail running, and I wasn't sure how my ribs were going to fair after biking. If it came to the point to grin and bare pain I knew I would so I wanted to prevent that scenario.

Nicki Rehn was the only woman entered in the Iron Donkey category of 100k mtnbike and 50k run. Nicki is an amazing ultra-runner with a whole bunch of adventures behind her... many wins of the City Chase events, the 336-km Tor des Geants 24,000m elevation gain "running" race in Italy, and a wicked self-supported run across Australia. Although our strengths were different, Nicki would be tough competition and I was sure her running strength would prevail.

1/2 hour before the start, I entered the Iron Donkey! Just as stubborn as one!.

On paper, the course looked non-technical for a mountain biker and good training mileage.

12.5 km and 400m elevation gain per lap... after getting bumped and bucked on the upper trails, lap after lap, I really wished I had a full suspension bike.

The course was fast and flowy, everything rideable, no death defying technical sections (like in the OrganGrinder).

Even though Margie Smith was in the 50-km bike event only, it was fun and challenging to keep pace with her each loop. I was a smidgeon stronger on the climbs and had to work to keep up on the descent. After blazing DOWN Georgetown trail, I hauled like a roadie on the climb all the way back. Thanks to Margie's daughter Sage and Sage's cousin Carter for helping me with support each loop, they were quick to lube my chain while I grabbed my food.

Into my 3rd lap, I was surprised to pass Nicki. Doing the math, I could use the much needed leadtime for my trail run. End of lap 4, my legs were starting to cramp and I wasn't storming the ascent as strongly. My lap 5 time showed my energy drop where I had to walk to let the leg cramps ease off. Next few laps, I stopped to eat at the 1/2 way feedzone and finish area... oranges, watermelon and gobbled down fresh cutup mango and pineapple. I had prepped little jars of Vega and my special concoctions (MSM, whole food Vit C, elk antler dust, 14-mix mushroom) though I was craving the sweet stuff! Energy was coming back - I felt stronger on my last laps, and the cramping went away. All comes back to food!

Lap 1-49 min, 51, 51, 51, Lap 5-62 min, 64, 57, Lap 8 - 59 min.

Nicki decided to end the bike at 50-km as she realized it'd be a hard effort to make the cut-off time, and her focus was on the 50-km trail run. I now had 8-hours to complete the 50-km trail run on Sunday. My goal was to run at a pace to conserve energy on my cycling legs. I had a 3-day mountain bike stage race starting the following Friday meaning 4-days of recovery.

Gabor Csonka won the men's 100-k event on his pink singlespeed with pretty much even split times, pretty amazing! And Pepper's mom, Judy, did awesome as well!!

SUNDAY - 50-km Mountain Mule Trail Run

Rain overnight had the trails nicely softened for the run. My ribcage was surprisingly fine. I purposely overdressed as my goal was to start super-easy, not faster than 1:30 and not slower than 2 hours. It was hard to tell. It was fun to get to start at the back and stay there.

My first lap was 1:39 for the first 12.5 km so I was pleased to be right in the range. The plan was to hold that "easy" pace for lap 2, then "really run" the last two laps!

Well, after completing 2 laps I wish it was 3 and I had only 1 more to go. The 4th loop was going to be tough. Despite running as relaxed as possible, my legs were not used to full body weight for running and it was inevitable for the muscles to fatigue. I was truly in adventure race survival-shuffle... just keep moving... I'll make it! And I did! in the same time as biking 100-km!!

Crazy Larry with Trailtrash runners

Met cool people running in the trails, though it was mostly a lonely day in the beautiful wooded trails with the most scenic mountain views.

I did have a unique thing happen both days while in the upper loop trails... a little bird swooped down in front of me at least 5 loops on the bike and 2 loops on the run. Same spot each time. It almost seemed like a game. Had to dodge one squirrel and only saw one hallucinatory deer. No bears, fortunately.

Thanks to Transrockies organizer Aaron for putting on another well organized event. It is always heartwarming to see Drew & Jo-anne... with Drew's familar voice announcing at the races and his calling out of my "Large Marge" team name from the adventure race days. I look forward to going on a helicopter ride courtesy of Kananaskis Mountain Helicopters Ltd.

just as lonely as in the trail running race

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