Race Report – Croatan Buck Fifty, the race that wasn’t – Chris Spurrier
Believe it or not, you do not have to win every race. With a grueling race schedule ahead of me including the Dirty Kanza and Shenandoah Mountain 100 I have worked with KyleCoaching to put together what we feel is a great calendar and ultimately a plan for success. With this being said we have looked at the entire race calendar and have made concrete goals for each event in preparation for these events. Communication is critical with your coach, as athletes we need to lay specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound (SMART) goals. These goals are why we don’t have to win every race. Sometimes the challenge we set forth is enough.
It is often advantageous to craw, walk, run as we push ourselves onto new endeavors. Two hundred miles of Kansas gravel in June is going to be a challenge enough. Not only will there be physical demands, but psychological ones as well. We need an opportunity to build up our confidence, as well as our stamina, endurance, and plain old grit. This won’t happen overnight and cannot often be replicated in training rides. We need to toe the line and push our boundaries to a breaking point. We need to test our strategies regularly to find what works and what doesn’t.
The Croatan Buck Fifty was the first opportunity for me to do so. First off, the #bestbikegameever lived up to its hype. Just checking in to the race venue gave you a sense that this was going to be an epic blast. The atmosphere, the staff, and volunteers, everything screamed epic. We rolled into town Friday afternoon, and after setting up camp, I made my around a large portion of the course checking out the gravel conditions and “Savage Road.” We came back to have a little recovery meal and finish some final preparation before the race meeting. Afterward, a little pasta and chit chat before bed.
Croatan was an excellent opportunity to push myself physically and prove I had some early season fitness. More so being three loops, I had the chance to test some nutrition and technique without fear of being left stranded on the road. Cooler temps helped curb SOME hydration needs, but I was able to stretch two bottles of GU hydration for about two and a half hours. I also found a good mixture of chews, waffles, and gels during the same period. As I expected, I was craving a little more real food by the fifth hour. I was able to successfully navigate my frame bag at race pace freeing up the comfort factor of carrying less crap in my pockets. My Quarq Tyrewiz monitors proved to be invaluable during the race as the conditions would change and I had eyes on that my tires were solid. This was the first race on the bike, and I cannot say enough how comfortable she rolled and confident I was in her handling.
Physically I struggled at times with pace-lining around potholes (surging) but overall felt pretty confident in my ability to push on. This is one of the first races I never had any self-doubt and was able to push on. I am sure the 485 miles the week prior had something to do with this. I am however a little disappointed that I felt good at the end. That’s a good thing, right? Well for the end goal yes, but I still had something to give, and I didn’t give it. It’s a good thing for a few more training races, I can search and see how deep I can go.
Overall, I am stoked at the way the race played out, and I am confident that I will be well prepared for what lies ahead. I want to take a moment to thank Christina Spurrier, Brad Hawk, and Garett Schreier for their support during the race. I want to thank Chuck Kyle for his mentorship and expertise leading up to the race. Finally, I want to thank all of the teammates out on course. It was great seeing so many smiling faces and to hear so much encouragement through the day.