So this is it. The big race is just around the corner. Sunday is the Gravel Grind West race. Am I prepared? Am I confident? How am I feeling about this?
What am I doing?
Let's first clarify, I'm tackling the medium distance. Previously, two weeks ago, I tackled the 65km Galway Gravel Grinder. That was but a taster. This coming weekend I'm tackling a more challenging 110km distance with 1100m of climbing. I have never ridden this distance or climbed that high. If this was exclusively tarmac it would be tough, but that it's a mixture of back roads, gravel, and single track will make this a much more difficult challenge. Am I confident? I'll do my damn best to get around. I may also pack a set of lights... because... ehh... who knows how long it will take me.
What's good then?
But let's genuinely do a check of what I have going for me. I've successfully completed a 64km race in under 4hrs. It had 800m of climbing in similar conditions. I have been keeping up with my gym regime and feel as fit as I ever have. I know how to fuel myself. It won't be cutting edge food stuffs, but I've learned that eating on the hour, every hour, will get me through it. Keeping hydrated will be easy enough. I'll have my hydration pack on, and a bottle of electrolytes. As long as I keep to my plan and always turn my legs, I'll get around.
What have I learned from other races
I have learned a few things through this year of racing. Firstly, I am far more capable of completing these goals than I initially thought. Secondly, I need to plan where I put my food. Having to stop to eat isn't ideal. I'll still probably have to stop to eat in this coming race, but in future races I'm probably going to be more conscious about where I carry my fuel. And finally, I shouldn't be expecting myself to be at the cutting edge of the races.
Am I prepared? Yeah, I guess. It currently doesn't feel like I'm about to tackle my longest race so soon. I'm sure it'll get more real when I get there, but I'm not worried that I can't do it. Hopefully it'll be a fun weekend.
See you on the trails, and best of luck.