It's not often I have two bad days in a row, and both have been rather strange. Today's race was exactly what people coming to Portland to race expected - deep deep water and mud. While yesterday's race was slippery and muddy, today's race turned to soup and 5" of then muddy water after last nights and today's downpour. None the less, I was riding well and moving up, near mid race I was top ten, and with 3 to go I was closing in on Shepard and Troy Wells in 8th and 7th when once again disaster struck. This time it came in the form of the of the 'bonk' and I couldn't believe it was happening. It started out with a dizzy feeling, which at first I attributed to the normal dehydration after not drinking for 2/3 of a race and is somewhat normal. With two to go it was full on bonk, tunnel vision, dizzy, and I could only look at my front wheel. I thought I could hang on but soon I was being caught by everyone and finally all I could do was finish so I could head to the car and eat an entire bag of trail mix and 300 calories of cytomax recovery drink. With 1/2 a lap to go I was barely pedaling and and almost stopped in the pits looking for food it was that bad.
I've never bonked in a cross race before, but looking back at the day I think I can see why. I didn't eat my pancakes at breakfast and only had an omelet. I saved the pancakes for lunch, but wasn't that hungry when I got to the race and only ate one. Normally I would eat a Cliff bar with one hour to go as I warm up, but today all I could find in the muddy wet mess was a banana so that was it. I did have a GU at the line, but that isn't enough after being short on calories the rest of the day and with the cold wet race, I'm sure the body was in full energy production with not enough fuel. It was quite disappointing to have the legs two days in a row for top tens and only finish mid teens instead. I am pretty happy overall with how I felt out there though, I had way more power in the mud and water than I expected and have felt in the past which is progress and what I am looking for, even if the result doesn't match the effort.
So, I come away with Portland with some confidence, a lot of dirty clothes, and two bikes that are completely wasted. Hopefully the flights tomorrow are smooth as Portland is supposed to get 2" of rain tomorrow and I've had enough of the wet for about a week.