Today was the Ramble Around Prattsburgh, a 30 mile mountain bike race.

I slept okay, but not great. I guess I was nervous about the race. We were told in the weeks before the race “Expect to take 3-4hrs to finish, 2 1/2 hrs if you are really fast.” Looking at the course description, I just couldn’t think that it would take me 3 hours to ride this course. I thought I could do it in 2 1/2 hours. I couldn’t imagine that I had a chance to win against real cyclists.
They later posted a video of the course on YouTube:
It looked tough!
The race wasn’t until 1pm, so I had the morning to relax…or to stress. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast, and my usual can of Diet Pepsi.
I had most of my stuff packed and loaded the night before. I still wasn’t sure which jersey I would wear, so I packed both my Dark Side Of The Moon jersey and my Jesse The Body jersey. So there wasn’t a lot to pack in the morning. The race was about an hour drive away, so we left at close to 11am. The drive went okay except for construction. But we got there in plenty of time. We stopped at Burger King along the way where I got a Whopper With CHeese meal with a regular (non-diet) Coke.
I checked in and got my timing chip and number plate. I was number 15. Way cool, it had a 5 in it! I would have loved to have had 25. But I’ll take 15. I ended up deciding to wear my Jesse The Body shirt thinking the black Dark Side Of The Moon shirt might be hotter in the bight sunlight.
Before the race
The race started at 1pm. They had an enduro motorcycle guide us out of town and for the first 3 miles. We rode at a relaxed pace. Then the guy on the dirt bike sent us on our way. Starting about the 3 mile mark, we started a slow steady climb. Just before the top of the hill, it got steep, and I got off my bike, and pushed it up the hill. I wasn’t going much slower than the guys laboring to pedal up the hill, but I was using A LOT less energy. And it was nice to strech my legs. When I got to the top, I got back on my bike. I got down on the aerobars, and started flying. There were long sections of steady downhill. I flew past some of the rider who passed me on the hill. I hit a top speed of almost 33 mph! This downhill lasted from about mile 5.5 to about 12.5 with short bits of uphill interspersed. I spent a lot of time on my aerbars in this section. I passed the photographers while on my aerobars, and I can’t wait to see the picture.
Most of the course was made up of dirt roads. But there were sections of paved roads as well. And parts were really steep bad roads that would be impassible to cars or trucks without clearance and 4 wheel drive. And still one section at the end was on soft grass, and through really sloppy mud.
But now we were climbing again. The first part of this hill was very steep, and I again got off my bike. I saw at least one other guy pushing his bike too. But when we got passed the first part, it wasn’t as steep. The hill continued upward, gradually levelling out, then starting to go downhill. This downhill was very rough in some sections. I was flying down the hill hoping I wouldn’t get a flat tire from all the ruts and holes I was hitting. Towards the bottom I was using more and more of my brakes. I was wondering how much would be left of my brake pads by the end of the race.
I passed the water stop that was supposedly at mile 17, but my GPS said it was mile 18, and my bike computer said it was mile 19. I didn’t stop as I still had a bottle and a quarter of water.
We hit some paved roads for a bit, and I got to use my aerobars again. The aerobars were just a little bit loose now, and would move up and down if pressure was applied. But they were still useable. And each time I used the aerobars, I would pass people. Of course they would usually pass me back on the hills.
Now we started a steady uphill again. I was playing leapfrog with a few people including an ironman. I knew he was an ironman because of the 140.6 tatoo on his left calf. I mentioned the ironman, and he commented that the Ironman race was easy compared to this race. Wow!
Then we came to a steeper really messy hill, and nearly everyone I saw was pushing or carrying their bike. But soon we were back on our bikes for some fast rough downhill racing again. Again we hit some paved sections, and I was able to use my aerobars. This area was mostly flattish. But I was still able to cruise. I passed the ironman again.
Now we were offroad again. This area was different. Were weren’t really on roads. It was more like a walking/riding trail. Part was on softgrass. And part was through sloppy mud. In the sloppy mud, I ended up getting off my bike and pushing. It was just easier. And my legs were so tired at this point. I rode along a gravel road with only a slight incline for a short distance, and I was in the lowest gear.
Then I was on the road again! I liked the road! Again I got down on my aerbars, and was cruising. I was close to end. I was heading back into town. I was routed down some side streets, soon I had one turn, and I saw the finish line. I crossed the line. I asked a guy just to make sure I was done.
At the finish line
I finished in 2:29:33. I broke 2 1/2 hours! I must have been really fast! I saw the result sheets and saw the winner finished in 1:47. So much for the 3-4 hours! When the results were updated, I saw I finished in 61st place. They were totally off on how long the race would take. I am not sure how many people did the 30 mile race. But I believe I finished well into the bottom half.
My wife met me at the finish line. I drank a regular Pepsi! I needed sugar!
I washed my bike, and we loaded it on the car. I had bought a couple meal tickets for $7. So we headed off to get food. The food was only spaghetti, a couple pieces of parmasan chicken, a piece of bread, some pasta salad, and ice water. And not much of it. We were a little disappointed. Then we headed to the car, and drove home.

Here is the MotionBased data from the race:

Here are pictures from the race:
Some I took on my cheap little camera. Others were taken by my wife.