I'm thinking that Saturday's Thriller Cross at Bellingham's Civic Field is a good time to break out the fringed cowboy shirt. Its last appearance was at the '09 Padden Mountain Bike Duathlon (also known as the most painful hour-and-10 minutes known to man), as seen above. Ryan R. is encouraging a zombie or Christmas theme at Thriller Cross and since I'm not much for zombies, the red is sorta Christmasy. Ish.
Still feeling the effects of last Saturday's Deception Pass 25K. I'm finding that trying to serve two masters--that of cyclocross racing and of long-distance trail running--is tough. One is short, hard and intense (CX) and the other is long, slow and requires more recovery (trail running). In recent years, for the most part I'm 90-percent rider/10-percent runner from about February to September. In fall, I get it in my head that it'd be cool to do a couple trail races--the last two years it's been Deception Pass and Orcas Island--at which time I become about a 40-percent rider/60-percent runner.
But this year I also became totally obsessed with cyclocross. It was pretty hard not to, what with Ryan Rickerts putting on seven races practically in my backyard. (Two of them are within a mile of my house.) Thus, getting in long runs before Deception Pass was tough. I think I had one 90-minute run, one 2-1/2-hour run, and most everything else was an hour or less. But I tried to make them intense hours--either track workouts, interval sessions on the treadmill or just hard tempo runs. Still, as race day approached I was dreading it.
Brian Ecker, a Bellingham coach and cyclist extraordinaire, tried to allay my fears by telling me that cyclists always think they need to run more than they really have to to perform well in a running event. That if they've been getting a lot of fitness through their riding, they (I) don't really need to get out for weekly two- to three-hours runs leading up to race. Ha-ha to that, I thought. That's good for you, Mr. Annual-Winner-of-Tour-of-the-Unknown-Coast, but not for us normal, average, everyday folks.
Turns out, Brian was exactly right! First of all, I was super pleased just to finish. (Before the race, I figured that if I'm not feeling good, I'll just cut my race short by turning right after the second crossing of the Deception Pass bridge and head back to my car.) Secondly, I was super pleased to have enjoyed myself the whole time. (I remember that at the previous year's event, I had fun for the first hour-and-45 but that after that, it was a Death March to the finish.) This year, I dug the race the whole time--the island views, the swirling boil of water below the bridge, the forest, being out in the community of cheery trail runners, etc. Thirdly, and lastly, I was super super pleased to beat my last year's time by 11 minuted and to finish in under three hours! So, thanks Brian. Much appreciated!
My serving of two masters continues: Thriller Cross this weekend, with Chiller Cross and Orcas Island 25K in January. Wish me luck!