Two years ago, when I did my first Mega Monster Enduro race, I did no special training and my only preparation was to mount a set of aero bars on my bike a week before the event. Everything went perfectly and I was able to finish 5th with a time of 5:26:06 for the 102 mile time trial. This time I spent two months preparing -- getting used to long hours on the bike, learning to apply power while riding low and flat on the aero bars without weaving all over the road, and fine tuning my nutrition – and, predictably, the fates turned against me.
The one thing I can’t complain about is the weather. After weeks of rain the weather turned warm and sunny for the race. The race started in the little town of Paicines, just south of Hollister, headed south on Hwy 25 through gorgeous green valleys for 51 miles to Hwy 198 and then returned to Paicines. The route was mainly rolling hills with four moderate hills for a total of 5220 feet of climbing.
Now to the bad luck: first was that my power meter decided to take the day off which left me without any way of pacing myself or knowing how far it was to the next check point except by dead reckoning. Then there was the flat tire at about an hour into the ride. I changed the tube as quickly as possible and charged out onto the course again only to discover that I had left my glasses behind. That meant retracing a half mile and then trying to find my glasses without my glasses to see with. That escapade cost me about 15 minutes but it left me with a heightened sense of determination. I was so determined, in fact, that I forgot to come to a complete stop at the first checkpoint and was awarded a time penalty (3 minutes I think). So my final time, 5:48:11, was twenty-two minutes longer than my previous race. The one bright spot was that, despite a fairly stiff headwind on the return, I felt strong and comfortable on the aero bars which meant my training counted for something.
Typical of Low Key Hill Climb events, the results were not posted for two days which left me with plenty of time to stew over my poor performance and to rationalize how it was all about having fun and a goal to train for. But when the results did come out, I was pretty surprised to find that I had managed to finish sixth in the individual male category and was third or fourth in every split except the one in which I flatted. That lifted my spirits enough that I marked my calendar for Feb 12, 2011, the next Mega Monster Enduro.