Thursday, July 15, 2010
Standby for Pain
"Standby for Pain"..."Standby to hit the surf"..."Standby to go get wet"...
These mocking words--and their context--I will never forget. In my too-short stint in special operations training in the navy I learned at age 20 that the body and mind are capable of enduring far more pain and misery than you can imagine, for quite a bit longer than seems possible. That distilling experience over several months in spring of 1996 molded my mindset and prepared me to overcome any adversity in life.
Silly things like Ironman Triathlons, Expedition Adventure Races seem relaxing and comfortable--mere child's play compared to the intense strength, endurance, focus and fortitude which that training demanded all day, every day. 25 hours a week of aerobic training? That would have been a tapering vacation. Although I sorely wish I would have continued to complete the training, I benefit greatly in myriad ways to this day from the few special months I spent under the tutelage of the world's greatest and toughest warriors at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado.
As I do during all of my hardest races, I will try to recall that strength this weekend at the Breckenridge 100. Racing 100 miles on the mountain bike at an altitude of 10-12,500 feet is going to be a unique brutal challenge, but one I look forward to greatly. I have certainly raced much further in the past, both distance and time-wise, but not at a consistently high oxygen-deprived elevation at this intensity. This type of race promises to punish anyone who disrespects the elevation chart early in the race.
After pre-riding 2/3 of the course now, I know exactly how the altitude will effect power output and hydration requirements. The locals who live at 10,000 and train every day on the course have a great advantage over folks like me from Boulder (5400). For people who come to this race from sea level (like my super strong nuun-SportMulti teammate from Georgia, Jen Rinderle did last year), the race is more about completion than competition.
I have taken some measures to prevent the recurrence of the mindless mistakes that sabotaged my Vision Quest race this year. I have had former Team Garmin wrench DAIMO tune my Turner Flux to be race-ready, and I am running a pair of new Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires. The training "hay is in the barn" and fueling is a non-issue for me in any race when I use Vitargo, nuun, and FEIN.
As far as predictions, I have only one: PAIN. I will aim to think clearly, stay in the present and make the necessary adjustments along the way to take my task to completion...simple, right?