This blog series follows me, an extremely average cyclist, as I go all in to complete the legendary Leadville 100 race on a singlespeed mountain bike.
This past Saturday, I finished race # 2 of the 2019 season. The Frisco Freeze, which was held at the Frisco Nordic center, is in its third year, with a new course each year so far. This time, the course was three laps, for a total of 14k, and not a ton of climbing. A good chunk of it took place on new fatbike-dedicated singletrack, in addition to a few miles on the Nordic trails themselves. The Nordic trails were in really good shape, however the singletrack was soft, and deteriorated into long sections of run-a-bike for respectively long stretches considering how short the total race mileage was. For the sake of consistency and a mildly objective way to cover these races and assess my own performance, I will use the same criteria I laid out in my first race report for Fat Bike Worlds.
Overall Objective: This was quite a bit shorter in mileage and lower on climbing than I’m used to. The whole point was to go hard, and have fun. While this race was not particularly conducive to endurance racing, every race start, and everything I have to do to get ready for it, is great practice for more serious events. I want to give myself an A, but I’m not exactly sure. I had a ton of fun, but I can’t really decide if I went as hard as I could and was being reasonably cautious due to how soft the course was, or if I was limiting myself and could have gone harder at least on the climbs. I spent 70% of the race going about 80% effort so maybe I’ll give myself a B here because I wasn’t dead when I rolled up to the finish.
Training: Like the last race, this one was not one I was training for specifically. However, I consider the workload over the past couple of weeks, as well as my commitment to it, more than adequate for this particular event. As I was explaining to Lee, I felt really fit, but just tired enough that I wasn’t using all 100% of my fitness. However, this was an A.
Preparation: Since we did not have to travel out of town for this, I will skip the pre-travel stuff. In fact, I will give this a C. There were some things that I did well. I planned ahead to take the time off from work, and had a contingency training plan for the day if my day off request was denied. I made a pretty good call on layering, as well as what tire pressure to run. The bikes were ridden recently, but I slacked on cleaning and tuning this time around. There were a few things that we put off until last minute, like packing, which we wouldn’t be so blasé for “away” races. There was a little bit of complacency there, however we have our local pre-race routine dialed enough that we can get away with it.
Nutrition, Pre- Race: I will give this one an A. I have been eating much healthier overall, and had no real temptations leading up to the race. I had my usual dinner at work the night before, a PB & J for breakfast, and a pretty healthy, veggie-packed Salmon Burger for lunch, a couple hours before the start.
Nutrition, During Race: None needed, so will not grade. This race was only an hour.
Execution of Strategy: I had two conflicting strategies to start the race. Per Coach, I should have taken 2-3 minutes to ease into it before going full bore. However, the race started on an uphill, and everyone was pushing hard to get a good position going into the first soft singletrack. I inevitably got stuck behind a few people falling over in front of me, and that cost me some time, but hey, it’s fatbike racing, so I left a few solid body prints of my own later in the race. Overall I think I raced smart, and did a good job of maintaining a good cadence when I could pedal, and forward momentum when I was off the bike pushing. I will give myself a B+. I wasn’t perfect, and like stated above, I’m not good at judging shorter, more intense efforts, so maybe I could have gone harder.
Attitude: This was an A. I was fairly relaxed leading up to the race, and the few times I had nerves come up, I was able to talk myself through it. I could have easily been much more annoyed at how much the soft, choppy snow had me running with my bike, but I kept smiling and pushing through it, knowing the snow sucked for everyone. I had plenty of fun.
This race was interesting because it’s not really my type of race at all. I lean towards events that test overall fitness and endurance, this one tested strategy and the ability to get through weird conditions. Fighting for a spot on the singletrack and later having my bike run over by a 250lb man while I’m chest deep in snow because I fell off the trail is usually not my idea of good racing, but as always, it was a learning opportunity. Because of my training, I felt better balanced to stay on in bad snow, fitter to run with the bike when I couldn’t stay on, and I had ample practice to dust myself off and say “oh well” whenever I fell.