I had a feeling that yesterday's riding would turn out to be an unwise idea, and today's race proved that right. Yesterday I was pushing myself harder than I should've. This morning, although not feeling horrible, my legs were a bit tender.
I did a brief (and not sufficient) warm-up, and headed over to the start. They staged us, and a couple of minutes before the start I glanced down and saw my bottle of HEED (an energy/electrolyte drink) was not in the cage. Not enough time to go fetch it! Thankfully I had my hydration pack, so at least I wouldn't be hurting for water.
We started, and I settled into a spot in the back half of the pack. This is not unusual for me, as I am a slow starter anyways, preferring to let others take off hard and come back to me later in the race. I was keeping a decent pace until the first major climb. This put me near blowing up, and after that I was basically in to survival mode. What really was killing me was the gradual uphill sections; later in the race my legs were wanting to grind to a halt on these. On the bright side, I ran a good race from a bike handling perspective. It was just that my legs had no "pop" in them. Also, the last 1/4 of the race was spent very near bonking. I was amazed that I was able to make that last climb right before the end.
The weather and trail were just about perfect. Friday's rain really helped to pack down the loose stuff. Also, I had a really good time despite the reluctance of my legs.
I finished up in 6th out of 10 in the class, with a time of 1:40:13 for the 19ish mile race.