VTMonster

Race reports
Post Reply
chrismitchell
Domestique
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:07 am

VTMonster

Post by chrismitchell » Wed Jun 23, 2021 10:04 am

My first official gravel event started out... well.. earlier than I would have hoped. I was up at 5:30 AM!!!!!!!!! Truly an act of god and probably scored the 'W' in my own book just by rolling out of bed. This would be the greatest challenge of my day (not really though). We had a grand total of 15 signed up for the event, although I'm not sure if everyone who was signed up ended up getting out there.

Our MRC posse (+Anja) rolled up to the start line where I received several warnings of my chosen gear ratio. I was using my CX bike, with my CX gearing, there are hills in CX, should be fine for a gravel grinder.. or so I thought. After some mild panic and contemplation of life choices we were off rolling towards the first hill. All downhill for the first 3 miles or so before the first climb kicked up. The pace was decently quick up the hill but the group stayed together for the most part. The downhill following the first climb was absolute madness and chaos, I thought I was moving just fine keeping up with the group until Cratty, Busick and a handful of others came bombing past me as nothing more than a blur. The second climb was at a slightly more aggressive pace and the group started to split up a bit. Ian, Anja and the Pirate (maybe Oscar?) managed to hang onto the front group and were just cruising at this point. Lots of fun smooth dirt roads with a few punchy climbs. Just before the first rest stop was the first of the brutal steep climbs. My garmin showed red in the elevation profile coming up and my gearing was pushed to the very edge, I managed to barely maintain traction while keeping the pedals turning over. We rolled into the rest stop shortly after, Ian and I were rejoined by Cratty, Busick, Oscar, Brian, Westberry and a few others... No Pirate though... After a quick stop, the real 'fun' started.

The biggest/hardest climb of the day came shortly after the rest stop. When it appeared on my Garmin, I noticed the steep pitch was a darker red color than the (barely rideable) steep section of the previous hill. Uh oh. We grind up for a while before hitting a doubletrack wall. Luckily, my gearing doesn't hold me back here as EVERYONE (even Anja!) had to get off their bike and hike it. After the initial pitch of the wall several were able to hop back on and grind out the rest of it. Sadly I was relegated to hoofing it all the way up as my gearing was not quite enough. This climb split things a bit further with Cratty, Busick, Oscar, Ian and myself hanging on at the front with Briana and Westberry falling back a bit. I believe we also caught and passed the Pirate on this climb.

A bit more meandering through various terrain brought us to the final brutal climb of the day. I'll be honest, I don't remember much about it other than it being steep and technical enough that I had to walk a large portion. Cratty and Busick both rode past me up the climb on their fancy gravel bikes while Ian held onto their wheels. My calves were spent from my hike-a-bike on the previous climb so I was moving at an all time snail pace and entering into 'I just want to go home' mode. I remember getting to the false flat double track at the top of the hill and being so spent that I considered walking it, despite it being very rideable. At some point I saw Ian up ahead and kicked it into high gear to try and catch him. Eventually we got to the top, just Ian and myself. Oscar and Anja were up ahead with Busick and Cratty in front of them. It was somewhere around here that Ian turned to me and said he was on life support. Music to my ears, ME TOO! My calves had started to cramp up and I was wondering how long before I ended up curled up on the side of the road in the fetal position while cramps rippled through my legs. I started pounding whatever fluids and Gu packets I had left, trying to fend off the cramps while in parallel striking up a contract with Ian to roll in together. From there it was all eyes on the beer garden!

Overall it was an awesome experience and a blast to have that many MRC out at one event! I have learned my lesson and am in the process of upgrading drivetrain. (I was running 42x34 as a side note, most had at least a 1:1 ratio)

User avatar
JeremyC
Maillot Jaune
Posts: 2090
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:04 pm
Location: Stow, MA

Re: VTMonster

Post by JeremyC » Thu Jun 24, 2021 12:47 pm

Great report Cactus, I was actually going to write one but this is spot on. After Busick and I "left" you, we caught any remaining "early departure" people and smashed through the technical Class VI sections, finally dropping Oscar (and as a result Anja) for good :) Busick was having WAYYYY too much fun, I was just trying to keep up so I wasn't sad and alone. We got back to the mountain and were 1st in line at the beer garden, it was an ending even Hollywood would have a hard time scripting.

Good times.

strat
Peloton
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 11:44 am

Re: VTMonster

Post by strat » Thu Jun 24, 2021 8:34 pm

Cactus is not sharing all of the details....I believe he found a second wind with about 10 to go and could've easily terminated our contract but didn't...however, he technically never actually passed through the official finish line so should receive a DNF!!

Good times indeed.

Class VI cramps remain memorable.

User avatar
jraguin
Tête de la course
Posts: 1450
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:27 pm
Location: Acton, MA

Re: VTMonster

Post by jraguin » Fri Jun 25, 2021 5:08 pm

Yep, my comments would be fit in with Cactus' comments. As the gang knows, I was pretty amped for the "race" and should have been a bit more realistic. I would just say that the first few climbs I was pretty far into the red trying to hold on to the young bucks. I made a stupid choice of skipping the first rest stop and the lack of fluids etc contributed to massive cramps later. The MRC and Anja freight train went by me (while I was walking) on the big uphill Class VI road (~52 miles). I saw them at the next aid station but then was in no condition to ride on with them which turned out to be a smart choice. I went out with Mike W, Brian, and Smudger and even that turned out to be much as my cramps had me come to a complete stop and sit down by the road for a few minutes. Soon after that all my drinks at the rest stop started to kick in and I started to feel a bit better so I actually started catching some of the people who had gone by me (not the MRC train who was gone). All in all a good day. I have to learn to force myself to hydrate / fuel better and not skip aid stations on these hot days on dry roads.

User avatar
pace21
Maillot Jaune
Posts: 2370
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:31 pm
Location: Franklin, MA

Re: VTMonster

Post by pace21 » Sun Jun 27, 2021 5:33 pm

jraguin wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 5:08 pm
Yep, my comments would be fit in with Cactus' comments. As the gang knows, I was pretty amped for the "race" and should have been a bit more realistic. I would just say that the first few climbs I was pretty far into the red trying to hold on to the young bucks. I made a stupid choice of skipping the first rest stop and the lack of fluids etc contributed to massive cramps later. The MRC and Anja freight train went by me (while I was walking) on the big uphill Class VI road (~52 miles). I saw them at the next aid station but then was in no condition to ride on with them which turned out to be a smart choice. I went out with Mike W, Brian, and Smudger and even that turned out to be much as my cramps had me come to a complete stop and sit down by the road for a few minutes. Soon after that all my drinks at the rest stop started to kick in and I started to feel a bit better so I actually started catching some of the people who had gone by me (not the MRC train who was gone). All in all a good day. I have to learn to force myself to hydrate / fuel better and not skip aid stations on these hot days on dry roads.
I see you opted for the “hold on to the front group until you can’t” strategy. It’s my usual go-to. It’s a great strategy until it isn’t 😉

Briana
Chasseur
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:23 am
Location: Ashland, MA

Re: VTMonster

Post by Briana » Sun Jun 27, 2021 10:14 pm

Briana's race report. Fast start, my cramps got cramps, I finished. That is all.
Brian Anderson

Post Reply