I made plans to meet my friends Nick and Larry at GCC. It would be so nice to ride this local spot now that the race was over. I would just ride the course for fun.
I had been saying to my coach for the last couple months, that I can't ride at GCC and keep my heart rate low. The place is full of short, steep climbs. You're either either going up or going down. There's very little flat stuff. On top of all that, there are roots galore.
I had tried to explain, that if I climbed over the roots too slowly, I'd get all bucked around. It was easiest to carry some momentum and then work as hard as it took to keep my speed as I climbed. This would mean that my heart rate would increase pretty high though.
The only problem was, if I was supposed to stay in a low heart zone, riding at GCC was very tough for me.
Lately, Mike had been saying, "Now that you're fitter, you should be able to keep your heart rate low when you ride here."
I really didn't believe him.
Then I raced there. I kept up with the pros for 45 minutes. A big deal for me since I would normally get dropped in the first few minutes.
My training had peaked. I was as fast as I could be and I was loving it.
So, I took my new found fitness over to GCC to ride a lap on my own before Nick and Larry arrived. It was to be a fun ride. Mike had assigned for me to ride at an endurance pace, but I had the leeway to let my heart hit all zones briefly.
I sailed through the quarter mile section near the parking lot. I was cornering perfectly. I felt like I carried my speed very well, and barely had to work to climb the hills. I was sailing over the tops of them with a good amount of speed and my heart rate was sitting in the middle of Zone 2. Normally, I'd be fighting to keep it from touching Zone 4.
I came out of the woods and entered the field. I climbed the steep hill at the end of the field and easily kept my heart below Zone 2. I got excited. I'd never been able to ride this place so easily.
As I hit the halfway point of the lap, I looked down at my Garmin. I was slated to finish well before 40 minutes. In the past, when I had to keep my heart rate low, this is how long it would take me.
I finished the lap in 36 minutes. This was only two minutes slower than my third lap's race pace two weeks ago. I wondered what my race pace would be today. Could I beat my race time if I tried?
Larry and Nick showed up and we started off with me in the front. I was feeling great and having fun… until it all came to a screeching halt.
I was stopped by a huge stick in my rear derailleur. The hanger snapped off and I stopped. Ride Over!
Nick walked all the way out of the woods with me. It was about two miles before the end of the lap, but we were able to cut across to shorten the walk.
I drove over to Action Wheels to see if they had a derailleur hanger in stock. Chris helped me right away and was awesome. We also spoke with Adam on the phone. It was Adam's day off, but he still took the time to help diagnose the situation.
You see, it was more complicated than just installing a new hanger. There was a small crack in the carbon rear triangle. Adam normally fixes my bike, so I really appreciated that he got involved.
Chris at Action Wheels is a solutions man! Once I told him that I had intended to race this bike on Sunday, he came up with all the options to get me back on trail in time for the race.
We discussed the repair, getting a derailleur hanger overnighted, perhaps cannibalizing a hanger off one of my other bikes, and seeing if George had an extra hanger laying around. Chris said that whatever happened, he could get this bike up and running in time for my Enduro race.
Luckily George saved me the shipping fees by letting me use his spare hanger. I'll give one back to him when my order comes in (at normal shipping).
Thanks to Action Wheels for getting me back in business. In a couple days, I'll do my first Enduro race.