Since I didn't bring a camera I'll precede each of these posts with my garmin connect data. Um, yes that's pretty geeky but I am clearly obsessed with physiology data especially after my years with edema. I thought this was the coolest thing, it has HR, elevation, speed, etc... The HR is what I really find most fascinating. Maybe because it's the only objective data to look at when I'm feeling like complete crap. Last year I had a generic HR monitor on my watch and what was curious was on the third day as Pete and I were climbing up the steps my heart felt like it was hammering through the roof. When I looked at the HR monitor it was only 140. That's super low. Interesting. This year you can actually see that the HR drops after about 8-10 hrs. I only wish I had a power meter to see if it's completely related to power or some other cardio endurance phenomenon. HR stayed down the rest of the race basically never going above 120-130 and averaging about 105. Quite a difference.
Nutritionally, I ate gu's for the first 12 hrs till I got sick of it and then switched to "real calories". This is where LW helped a bunch to experiment on what were good foods for this race. I found by eating mashed potato mix and oatmeal mix I didn't bonk hardly at all because the amount of calories I was able to take in by this method was a lot more than sugar, candy, etc... It's all about the calories, go figure. The food was great though, I had no blisters on the roof of my mouth nor large cravings for candy. The downside, my stomach felt a bit nauseous and bloated a lot. Apparently, this could be due to hydration-- still have to refine this.
At the race start I kind of lagged behind this year [last year I made the mistake of going the old traditional way where I was alone grinding or pushing through snow till flathorn] I followed casually and then a whole gaggle of bikers shot out on the powerline to the point mac road. A boring but fast ride till the trail and then more boredom. The problem with repeating this race is knowing all the dull sections. Personally, I think it's pretty blah till Skwentna. By the time we hit Flathorn there was quite a bit of snow coming down and I was beginning to wonder if it would be a repetition of last year. But a dismal dismal swamp ride that gradually improved on the river and by Yentna we were cruising. I was hanging behind the lead pack a bit and arrived a few minutes after them into Yentna. They were out quickly. I ate a fast soup, sodas and then tried to move on. This piece of river the trail became hard packed and I finally aired up the tires firm (note to self never wait if possible)-- brought a CO2 (along with 2 other small pumps) and although a pain was well worth airing up rapidly. Temps dropped on the river probably hitting below zero but not terrible at all and actually nice riding. After last year I felt like super man. I arrived into Skwentna around 4 ish, somehow losing an hour to the lead group. I ate and left by 5am and caught up to everyone at Shell (who stopped) except for JP who moved right past the lodge. I ate again at Shell and left about a half hour behind. This section sometimes is fun if done in the dark but really sucks in day especially in flat light. It was a grind and pretty soft but I shouldn't complain after pushing the whole section with Pete last year while walkers passed us. Fingerlake popped up and as I retrieved my drop I saw the lead guys packing up to leave. A few of them seemed unsteady on their feet so I thought they were going to blow up. I'd give an hour sleep a try to really knock the steps section out maybe make a bit of ground. It's a hard section to do tired. The sleep came for about 20 minutes and then I was restless. I heard Brian and Eszter come in also trying to sleep. My alarm went off and up I went stumbling a bit out the door.