I knew going into the Pando 8 hour race that I would be in trouble. As I get older it takes me more time to recover from hard efforts and the Lumberjack last weekend would certainly qualify as one of the harder efforts I've done. While my legs didn't feel too bad riding during the past week I knew they would run out of power over a sustained effort.
Pando is a deceptively hard course because while it is short at just under four miles in length it does have over 400 feet of climbing per lap plus some tight singletrack sections. The warm temperatures and sunshine made the race a little tougher when in the open but it felt a lot better than last weekend.
The race always starts up one of the ski slopes, what better way to get the heart rate going for the next eight hours? I felt pretty good initially but could tell that the power wasn't there on any type of climb. After struggling for three hours and eight laps I decided to call it a day, figuring I would save my legs for the Boyne marathon race in two weeks. I changed and sat in the pits helping my team mates and friends where I could. It was very pleasant sitting in the shade with a cooling breeze watching the racers out in the bright sunshine struggling to hang on.
After sitting in the pits for over 2.5 hours the competitiveness in me kicked in and I decided to go back out. Changing back into riding clothes I decided to do a few more laps since there were less that 2.5 hours left in the race. I ended up doing seven more laps, all but one quicker than the ones I had done in the morning, finishing with a total of 15 laps. Maybe a new strategy? I was still four laps short of my team mate Peter Colan who finished third.
I'm not sure why I was faster in the afternoon, maybe the Recoverite I had after the first time out combined with the Compex helped restore my legs enough to allow me to ride some more. While I was in the pits I didn't eat any solid food but continued to drink my Sustained Energy. I also did the second set of laps on my Scalpel and I think it may have been a little faster for this course. The morning laps were on the Rush.
I have to mention my other team mate Shari Scurr who battled all day long for first but eventually fell one lap back. During the race she was setting goals for the number of laps she wanted to do only to find that every time she stopped she was still in a battle for first and kept going back out despite wanting to stop and also falling and getting bruised. I think she may have surprised herself in the ability to "endure". We are all proud of her.
I traveled to the race with a few of my friends, Chris Werth and Jay "Old Man" Jones who battled each other in the single speed class. Both finished with the same number of laps but Jay was ahead of Chris. Jay was complaining after the race that he couldn't open his fingers where Chris and I didn't have any problems, we both are using the Ergon grip which before the race Jay had called "old man" grips. We'll see what he puts on his bike for the next endurance race.
Two weeks until the Boyne marathon which is reported to be on a tougher course that the XC races in the past. For me it will be about 42 miles and it will be strange to do a shorter race. I may actually be at a disadvantage since I've been doing so much of the longer distance, lower heart rate efforts. Maybe it will be in the 90's and I will have a slight advantage from dealing with the heat already this year.