Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Domnarski Farm 6hr Marathon

This was going to be just the facts and nothing but the numbers  and data.

But how bout a little story time?

I have raced Domnarski Farm many times.  Even won it once (expert age group).  The course is rugged, old school with a good deal of climbing; a few of my favorite things.

The marathon was an open class; any age, sex or bike.  It also had the largest field of any category. 

In the race itinerary e.mail the promoter stated the race would be staged in waves based on previous best time, fastest first.  The Marathon would line up behind me...thanks for the target on my back Matt!

Lead up to the race is textbook, even the yahoos trying to impress by revving their sports cars took it easy the night before so I could get a good night sleep.  Being only an hour away gave me plenty of time for coffee, breakfast and morning constitutional.

I'm nervous.  It's been a year and a half since I raced a bike.
I keep telling myself I'm just riding my bike in the woods with friends for 6 hours.

After signing in, I have a couple of minutes to noodle around before heading up the hill to the start. I see a couple of familiar faces, but the majority are an unknown quantity.

The countdown to the start is rather anticlimactic; the timer says go..and we go!

I get a short lived, slow motion holeshot which is for naught as we turn off the starting straight into the woods and the first technical climb.  

Everyone is off their bikes.

Back on and I'm sparring for position with 3 guys before the first significant climb.  I'm reminding myself not to get caught up in it, in the excitement, and ride my own race, it is six hours after all.  They pedal away.

Before the first series of 2x8 bridges, there are a lot of these, I hear a rider come up behind me.  Ok, when he passes me I'll be in 5th.  That's fine.  There's a long way to go and I'll still be in the top 20%.  The race predictor had me at 15th.

Wait. what the?!  It's one of the trio who rode away?  He had rode off course.

When I get to the long powerline climb, it gives me an opportunity to look back a couple minutes to see if anyone is in sight.  Nope.

On the last descent to the start finish, I'm catching a lot of traffic from the beginner race.  Just in case they slowed me down as much as it felt which in reality probably wasn't hardly at all, I don't stop at my feed coming through the start/finish.

(Dear Beginners, Domnarski Farm is not your typical race course!)

On the first long climb there's a lot of "excuse me, can I squeeze by, when you get a chance can I get by, on your left up here ok"?

I'm relieved when we get to the course split, but what the...the rider who went off course the first lap is coming from the beginner's split; he went off course again!

The rest of the second lap is uneventful.

I stop at the feed, swap bottles  and have a few bites of PB&J.

At the "Ten Dollar Pass" just past the 7 mile mark of the third lap, the leader of the pro race catches me.  The second pro catches me at the most technical descent, fortunately it opens up soon after so I'm not holding him up.

Swap some bottles and head out for #4.

Lap 4 isn't fun.  Arms and hands have taken a beating.  Knowing the course, my tires have a couple extra psi to hopefully ward off flats. 2012 saw me walking off the second lap when it took out a tire.  I'm not enjoying the first long climb which usually is cherished.  I'm being caught by leaders of the expert race, on a few occasions stopping entirely to let them pass.  

That's it, 4 is enough.

From $10 pass I'm going back and forth with a friendly guy, I let him take the lead for the last descent.  When he sees me starting another laps he asks "what, you haven't had enough"?
Yes I have but

there's just too much time left.  
"Marathon" I mutter and soldier on.

5th lap I have the course all to myself.  I tell myself "walk if you have to but just keep moving".

When I get to the first bridge it is no longer there.  The water is warm and thigh deep.

Turns out I'm not alone; I catch a woman at $10 pass.  She tells me she's going to stop and take a picture.

From there it's all downhill to the finish...with 10 minutes to spare.

Stop reading now unless you're into dorky numbers.

dorky numbers:
4th place
51 miles
(the winner Jake Inger did 6 laps so over 60!)
6300' of climbing
Gear: 34x20
lap times: 64:34, 71:11, 71:30, 73:59
Median age of the podium: 29
Average age: 36
Calories consumed 700
(600 liquid 100 PB&J)