Today I was lucky enough to race in the solo category at the 10th and final Suburban Rush.  Even luckier I had been comped an entry from Shawn based on our FEAT/Suburban Rush relationship dating back to 2012.  The race entry was actually given to me in 2012, but I wasn’t available and last year I sprained my ankle days before the race and didn’t want to risk any further damage.  This year, despite no training, and still with my baby fat on, I was doing the race regardless.

The day started quite horribly.  Before the race I was in the bathroom no less than 6 times and 4 of those times I was sitting…  I think you can figure out the rest.  My stomach just wasn’t agreeing with me this morning and I have no idea why.  I went for a pre-race run around 9am and felt better so I got changed and headed to the start line.

The start of the race was a 5km run around the Buntzen Lake area and my stomach started turning.  Also my legs and feet felt like dead weights.  I’m not sure if this was from the lack of running (I’ve ran probably 4-6 times since June of 2013) or because I had ankle braces on both ankles, but I felt so haggard.  I started with as much as I could muster but slowly I got passed by more and more runners including people that seems to be wearing 30L packs.

firstrun

The running leg. Click on the picture for more details.

By the end of the run there were at least 40 runners ahead of me, I was having stomach cramps and already one of my calves had seized up.  I was far enough back for Shawn from Suburban Rush to ask as I ran by if I’d mind taking some pictures along the course…  I said no, and she asked, “does that mean you’re racing?”  Yes, I was that far back already!!

I transitioned slowly because of my damn ankle braces and attempting to get them in to my bikes shoes.  Never did get them in right, but I was on the bike.  I was knackered from the run but felt at home on the bike.  I didn’t bring bike shorts, so I was wearing running shorts today.  Most definitely did NOT look like a biker which I think was an advantage.

As I stated on the bike I started picking off people one by one.  As we climbed I passed more, and as we got in to technical terrain I passed even more.  It felt good.  Of course, it was around this time that my calves starting cramping so hard that I couldn’t move my foot or get it out of my pedal clip.  I yelled at myself, “YOU’RE NOT STOPPING, SO PEDAL WITH YOUR GOOD LEG” on several instances while riding and while punching my calf as hard as I could.  My calves flipped flopped for the rest of the day and probably each seized up on me at least 5 times each.

It wasn’t fun, but I wasn’t going to stop, nor was I going to get off my bike.  I was passing everyone despite my problems.  By the end of the first biking leg I had passed at least 40 people and was in 5th place at the beginning of the orienteering section.

The first biking leg

The first biking leg. Click on the image for more details.

I honestly couldn’t believe I had climbed so far up the standings.  Next up was orienteering and I knew I had to nail it.  I scanned the map carefully and headed in to the forest.  All markers were either on trails or intersections but it was a little tricky with the network of trails in the area.  I nailed the orienteering and didn’t make a single mistake or backtrack.  As I came in to the transition back to the bike I was confident I had moved up even more spots.  I came in to discover that I had in fact LOST 5 spots and was now in 10th!  I have no idea how that happened as I was only passed by one guy and I had nailed the o-section.  Apparently people were bushwhacking, but without terrain data and without a compass I’m not sure how they managed…  It’s still a mystery to me, but c’est la vie, I was back on my bike in 10th.

The orienteering section

The orienteering section. Click on image for more details.

The final bike leg was a grueling climb and I caught two bikers.  I also caught up to a group of probably 10 people in total (I think only two of the leaders were gone) searching for CP5.  We were all standing on a peak when finally someone spotted the control.  There was a mad dash and I think I was the 7th or 8th to punch my card.  Dang!

This set everyone up for a wild finish down to buntzen lake.  I very quickly passed one biker and caught another two.  I was then caught behind one guy who wouldn’t let me by until I kinda forced my way passed him.  Rubbin is racing!  The downhill was super fast and super fun.  Strava said I had the 13th fastest time on the section which I was quite impressed with considered I was passing guys and on an XC bike.

When I got to the bottom I saw two more guys in my sights but I just didn’t have the energy to catch them.  My legs and calves had had enough and I was in save myself from being passed mode.  I watched as the two just ahead of me slowly crept away and I knew they were out of reach.

The final bike leg

The final bike leg. Click on image for more details.

I arrived at the finish in just over 2-1/2 hours.  The first two people (a team of two) beat me by about 6 or 7 minutes and then a pack of 5 of us came in in the span of less than 60 seconds.  I think my final ranking was 5th place, but maybe 7th overall as I’m not sure if the 5th was for solo males or not.

Needless to say I had a ton of fun today.  I really do love competing.  I wasn’t competing for prizes, I was competing for me and the thrill of the fight.  I really pushed myself despite the cramps, seizures and dead legs and was really impressed how I just kept going for myself.  I was racing for me, and it just felt right.

Too bad this is the last year for Suburban Rush.  With some training and a little luck the podium could probably be had, but maybe it was just meant to be like this today so I could learn a little more about me and have a super fun time while doing it.

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