Stats: 46 miles, over 5600 feet of climbing
Is this beer going to hurt my race performance tomorrow? This was the discussion the night before the Boyne Marathon Mountain Bike Race at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, MI. Yes, that’s a lot of Boyne(s). It’s pretty rare to be able to stay in a resort condo at a race venue, so sitting in the woods at Boyne resort the night before the race, 7 teammates relaxed around a table drinking a Founders Centennial, then another and then the question started coming. Is one more going to hurt my race tomorrow? I guess we’d find out!
The next day started pretty easy with a 10am race start, which meant most of us without kids were able to sleep in. The weather conditions were great at the start and it didn’t seem like it was going to get too warm. The field seemed a bit small with only around 170 racers total, but maybe everyone else got the memo as to how hard this race was going to be. A little after10am my field went off and I let almost everyone else get ahead of me, including Matt Remelts. I had never raced this course before and I knew I had at least 3.5 hours of racing ahead of me so I decided to take it easy at the beginning and let everyone else race for the hole shot.
I knew I was in for some climbing and some fast, technical descents, so I prepared myself to not be surprised at either one. A lap ended up being a wind around at the bottom of the mountain, then climb, climb some more and keep climbing until you reach the top of the mountain. Then Descend. Wash, rinse and repeat 4 times. Easy right?
The first lap hurt, even at an easy(er) pace. The second lap felt kinda decent. The third lap I was hurting but feeling okay and I came across teammate Matt Remelts who had crashed earlier and we rode for a bit until I got enough wind to pass him toward the end of the lap. I was excited because Matt is a better rider than I am so passing him on a mountain bike trail gave me confidence. Then I started the fourth lap. At the bottom of the hill as I was rolling the flats, I rolled it very slow to down some Hammer Nutrition endurolytes and a Gu Energy Gel to keep me going. 1 minute after taking both, I felt my legs starting to seize up. 100 yards later, I couldn’t move my legs anymore. I was frustrated. Was I going to have to abandon? It was tempting as I knew I had a Founders Centennial waiting for me at the finish but then Matt passed me again. I had to catch him! I ended up massaging and stretching until I could get back on the bike and slowly turn the legs over. About 10 minutes later I felt refreshed (I owe this to Endurolytes and Gu gel. They saved me)! My legs hurt, but I could feel the cramps disappear and I was off! About 10 minutes later I caught Matt again, who was also hurting pretty bad and I found the wind again to pass him. For the next 25 minutes I pushed as hard as I could without going over the breaking point and finished. I was happy with my time, but even happier to have just finished one of the toughest races I’ve ever participated in.
Everyone on the team finished the race, which is a great accomplishment. In each of our respective categories, 20% DNF’ed in total. Congratulations to everyone who raced and especially to Jeremy Karel, who took 3rd place in Elite and Marnie Tencate, who placed 3rd in Expert Women.
In the end, it’s hard to say with scientific certainty whether or not that 3rd Founders Centennial helped or hurt my performance, but I’d put myself in the camp that says it helped. Who knows! If I hadn’t had that 3rd, I may not have been able to finished the race!
Jeremy Karel podium’d at 3rd place of 8 racers!
Josh Hogeterp 5th of 8 racers
Matt Remelts 6th of 8 racers
Scott Tencate 12th of 14 racers
Dennis Murphy 7th of 11 racers
Tom Stolz 4th place of 7 racers
Marnie Tencate Podium’d at 3rd place!