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Pre-race Jitters

I’m officially tapering for Vineman now. This is when the pre-race jitters start. I remind myself there really isn’t any more training I can do now to prepare. But everything else can seem to go a little sideways.

I broke a band in my rear tire last week, probably from going too fast over a cow guard on Canada Road in Gilroy. I think I managed to ride 80 miles before my tire ruptured sometime after I got home. I’m amazed I made it home. I took my bike (Trek 5200) to the shop the next day for a pre-race tune-up and didn’t even notice a large bubble in the tire until I got to the shop. That would have been a disaster a day or two before the race. I take my bike to the local bike shop because the lead mechanic has worked for Specialized Bikes (headquartered in Morgan Hill) at various races. But he took a week to get to my bike.

The day after I got my bike back, I went for a 65-ml. ride. Yesterday, I took my bike out intending to do an easy brick but noticed before I even started that my rear wheel was bent. I couldn’t figure out how that could have happened. So I gave up on the ride and just went for a run. Later in the day, I took my bike back to the shop, only to discover that my rear Bontrager wheel was broken in several places. Those tires are made with so much tension in the spokes, they are known to break.

I called the Trek bike shop where I bought my bike two years ago. Happy to learn Trek has a 5-year limited warranty on components and accessories. So I ordered a new wheel but that keeps me off the bike for another week. I haven’t missed any of my long rides but now I need to hit the gym and spin while I’m without a bike.

I guess I’m lucky all of this happened just two weeks before Vineman. But I’m also wondering if the race will be canceled due to smoke. The fires in California are still raging and we’re in the middle of a heat wave–Morgan Hill reaches 110 degrees in the afternoon almost every day this week. The last couple of days the South Bay has had a thick haze from the Big Sur fire and new fires seem to ignite every day somewhere in California.

I’ve been trying to run in some heat to acclimate for a warm run but I’m hopeless at 80 degrees or warmer. I should probably have that conversation with myself about knowing when to DNF if I can’t stand the heat. Yesterday, I bought another hand-held water bottle for the run but haven’t decided if I’ll use my double-bottle fuel belt or two hand-helds. The water temp in the Russian River was 80 degrees today — too warm!

I know this is not the way to reinforce in a postive mental attitude but it’s hard not to think about these things. I really have trained hard for Vineman so I know I’m ready. There are just so many things that can go wrong. I think everyone hopes for a good race day. I intend to fully enjoy every part of the experience.

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