Hi all, So JBP signed us up for this race that happened yesterday (Sunday 25th, Sept 2005). 50 miles, 10,000 feet of climbing. Sounded like fun at the time. I figured I'd get in plenty of training time and ride like the wind. Well for various reasons I didn't get my ass on a bike very much during August and September so training consisted of Friday rides in Kulani forest. So about 50-100 minutes of intense single track, but no real climbing or downhill. And other than that I just didn't get on the bike or the trainer at home to put in any saddle time. WHOOPS! The VT50 is held near Ascutney Vermont with start and finish at the Ascutney Mountain Resort. Looks like a pretty nice ski area, but who skis anymore? not me. The riding started at about 6:15am. All the eager beaver expert and sport class riders being let out of the gate first (winners doing the route in about 4 hours). Then it was time for us Novices. Whooo!!!!! Off we went. Being that I'm foolish I more or less went charging out of the gate. Not hell bent for leather, but not taking it nice and slow as my training regimen might have suggested would be the wise choice. Pedal pedal pedal. I charged by most of the Novice pack and rolled along the fairly easy dirt roads that start the course. Lots of riders (about 820 total in the race) and plenty of casual conversation to be had if you enjoy that kind of thing. At about mile 5 we passed the first refueling station (they have about 8 on the course serving up sugar laden treats, fruit, performance food stuff, etc. Then we dove into the first singletrack section and more or less immediatley many of us fell off our bikes as we biffed our gear selection. Walk, walk, walk, push push push. Up the hill we went. Most walking. Some riding. Eventually a flatter section was reached (the course features some fairly intense, steep singletrack climbing) and everyone got back to the business of bicycling. On and on we went. I skipped the first three or four refueling stations before my body started to tell me what a fool I was for not training. Around mile 16 or so I started to notice the first signs of impending cramping. Uh oh! So at the next refueling station I finally let the wiser half of my brain prevail and stopped for sugary liquids, fruits and some electrolyte replacement pills. Then back on the bike for some significantly slower riding and slight nausea which i attribute to eating two eggs, bacon and two cups of coffee before the race, but probably was due to the overexertion. Did I mention that between mile 10 and 15 i was seeing the weird shimmering in the center of my vision that presages fainting/blacking out? Wheee!!!! So at this point I'm thinking: "What have I gotten myself into? I'm only about 30% of the way into the race and I'm already showing some really neat symptoms: nausea, impending cramps, impending blackout." But I put my trust into more frequent stops for refueling, hammer gel and the electrolyte pills and slogged onward. You see at about mile 20 riding turned into slogging. Flat sections of the course were no longer fast. They were lived through. Downhills were fast and fun. Uphills were an exercise in being in granny gear, gritting teeth and trying to ignore my pain via tuneless singing. Eventually the highest spot on the course was reached. It's around mile 26 and probably represents the midpoint of the climbing too. The course isn't mostly up and then mostly down. It's mostly up and down and up and down and up and down from start to finish. No real flat sections. Some kinda flat traverse sections on singletrack. Anyhooo.... Eventually I reached the refueling station at mile 38 or something around there. The shimmering visions had faded about 15 miles before. The pain in my hips had become legion. The downhills were now painful too (impending stress fracture in my right hand where i bruised the hell out of it two weeks prior?). My legs were noodles that only moved the pedals through luck and the fact that I was clipped in. BUT I was getting fairly close to finishing this biznatch of a race course and I was having a good time despite all the agony. The course is pretty awesome and the rewards for the climbing are one of the primary reasons that I ride. There was one downhill singletrack section at around mile 30-35 where I hammered downhill until I realized that I was going way too freaking fast. WAY TOO FAST!!!! I'd guess that I was doing 30-40 mph on this section, but that's probably just the fear talking. Somehow I managed to hold the line more or less and avoid falling down and killing myself. After that I did a better job of managing my downhill speeds and only rarely felt slightly out of control as opposed to all the way out of control and on the verge of crippling injury. But back to our story. I'm at about mile 40 the end is almost in sight (over the next 6 uphills) and I haven't cramped, crashed or blacked out. I did an extra big refuel at the next pit stop and actually noticed some bonus energy from all that Hammer Gel. Grind grind grind. Energy disappears really fast at this point for me. Last pit stop at mile 47.1. Coca Cola, gatorade, electrolyte replenishment, hammer gel. Ride, grind, grind, grind. Final downhill on the ski slopes!!!!! And after a mere 6hours, 47minutes I am done, whole, sore like a mo-fo and colder than heck. more on this later. my flight is boarding.