After last years first ever endurance DNF at the 2013 Paul's Mud Bog and when I say that in 20 years of endurance sport have never done that. As you read in the link it left a bad taste and as shown this year doubts for that distance. The 2015 Plan for Paul's created in the lead up to the 2014 edition.
Add in that this year has not been great for coming up with a plan...getting side tracked by Joely's contract not being renewed. Hard to have a plan when you have no idea where your family will live or what will happen. Thank fully RMC reached out and it seemed that some planning might take place. But alas not to be that easy as Joely was diagnosed with a DVT and again was not able to do much but ride.
So by race morning the goal was to simply get the distance and get a result. And with that in mind was aware that in my first Paul's in 2009 my knees started to seize about 10k out from the finish. So made sure to drop the gearing to easier as I tend to muscle it to much on the climbs. And in the week prior to the Saturday had been trying to get as much of my electrolyte drink in as possible. Trying to get my muscle cells to absorb as much water as they could. As through previous trials doing that has decreased cramps.
On race morning went to the line for the 60k with the goal as I said of getting the result. As I wanted to have a positive result at Paul's. The weather was good and not as hot as the 2009 60k.
The first 30k was good and enjoyed the log overs. I would say no issues but I would be lying as did have one minor issue on a wide double track after some tight twisty fun stuff. A gentleman with a great engine but was having a hard time on the tech seemed to take offense of being passed. As he actually tried to pass by riding right into me on the double track. Full bar contact and only made a direction change after getting a good left elbow. Wonder if he got a time deduction on his Strava KOM for that section?
Other then that it was a good first 30k. Was smooth and trying to flow as much as possible. Some where between there and the 35k point aid station bounced of a tree on my left side while doing a pass of a stopped rider on a tech section. Thought nothing of it till about 20 minutes later when I noticed some cramping in my tricep. No big deal at the time but looking back now it was the beginning of the fight.
After the 35k aid station had noticed my legs where tight and guessing about 3-4k past the aid station legs started cramping. No big deal I thought as have dealt with this before. Well, that didn't last for long. As this became pretty much a 25k fight with cramping inner quads which brought any sort of pace to a steadily getting slower ride. Couldn't pedal up hills as the inner quads would cramp. Sometimes simply had to walk pushing the bike till they past. And the closer I got to the finish the worst it got. At least I knew the old school lifters trick....punch the area in question. Which works to a point but after a while it loses it's effectiveness. And once or twice while fighting to get the cramps to stop I did think of pulling the plug prior to the aid station at the 10k point. However I keep a small photo of Joely and I from our wedding in my Feedbag to remind why I am there.
So by the last 5-7k was in Lantern Rouge position with my body fighting back harder. And to be honest the last time I had gone this deep was July 2003 during the last weeks of my infantry course at Wainwright Alberta. And believe me that really hurt a wee bit more than this day. But only a little. After a bit more time finally was on the last bit to the finish. Poor KT Misner trying to congratulate me on finishing while I was trying not to grind my teeth. Sorry KT...wanted to say more but wasn't capable at the time. At least that was G Rated.
So got the result and had the positive of it being a non DNF. It wasn't pretty but as a BBC announcer once said back in 2001...."It doesn't have to look pretty it just has to get it done.." Well...this definitely qualified as that. The other positive being that no knee or back issues like 2009. So the gearing was good though maybe drop to a 32T in the future.
At this point there was no one there I knew and so after a lot more water and such left as it began to rain. If it hadn't rained and had known Gnarley Spoke was there would have stayed longer. And of course this led to the eventful drive home. Driving any vehicle with leg cramps especially when both legs decide to do that sucks.
With solving the knee issues there is a new one to replace it. Which not knowing the cause or causes of the cramping...rough course, needed longer pre event as they call it muscular hydration being the first 2 to come to mind. So will focus the 60k efforts on a couple of Substance Projects events to see if on a different course will have the same issues. And will do the 30k at Paul's instead. Since I have endurance it will be the speed part of the equation next.