100km Enduro, how hard can it be?
I take my racing very seriously, I pick my events carefully entering only those that are of value to me or my club ( cc albojense) on a personal or points basis. I structure my training, taper down my mileage when work permits and aim to peak for specific events. 2010 has been a great year for me and I figured my training and pre race ritual must be more or less spot on having been fortunate enough to podium in nearly everything I have entered.
In the early part of the year I was able to produce good form for both El Ejido (Penas Negras) 72km and Macael (El Pedal de Maramol) 55km those were the first two of a series of three events to decide the champions of Almeria province (Circuito de provincia de Almeria maraton btt 2010). The third one Padules (Los Mastrinkais) 100km was on the 25th of September and was to be the target for my summer training. Even though the temperatures soared in July and August I still managed to keep both motivation and mileage high getting 180km a week in on my road bike. By the end of August I had done a couple of 100km rides and started to decrease my road miles focusing more on shorter technical off road rides. I had managed to stay on a fairly healthy diet during the summer and felt physically and mentally strong, ready for 100km off road.
Early September saw myself and several other club members making the 350km trip South to compete in the El Desafio del Buda 100km championship of Andalucia. I hadn’t planned on entering this event and after a bad nights sleep in a cabin on a grotty campsite it was with some trepidation that I lined up with some 2000 others for the 9 o’clock beach start.
The first half of the race was o.k,I kept my water intake high but was having trouble digesting the energy powder I had borrowed which was mixed very strong and making me feel extremely sick. Around the 60km mark came another long climb this is where my pacer and fellow club member Mark Saunders stopped me and forced me to eat two gels and one energy bar. The effect was instantaneous and I was able to catch and pass two other girls to finish 6th female overall and 1st in my category. On reflection and hearing Mark tell me afterwards that when we stopped I had looked straight through him and remembering that detached feeling I had felt it become clear I had badly misjudged my fuel intake which without his intervention would have produced a very different outcome.
Two weeks later armed with a stock of home made energy bars and I am on the start line in Padules (Los mastrinkais) 100km, I feel confident, after all it can’t be any harder than the Buda can it?
Bang, and were off straight into a 28km climb rising 1250 vertical meters high into the Sierra Nevada, a fast not to technical decent back down to the valley bottom follows. This isn’t a time for a loss of concentration or an event for the faint hearted though, in front is another 20km climb taking in a similar height gain up into the Sierra de Gador. Extremely fatigued I descended down into the bottom of steep sided gorge with the village of Padules clearly visible around 10km away. 7km out it become obvious that this course had a sting in it’s tail, the gorge sides were vertical, the climb to the finish line started with 5km to go was brutally steep and with already 90km in dead legs took it’s fair share of scalps.
Harder than the Buda?, Yes but more satisfying knowing that I had won the Circuito Provincial de Almeria 2010 and was this years Champion of Almeria!
Posted: 5th October 2010