|It started out pretty cold first thing in the morning before the race, but by the time I started rolling, it was into single digits above zero.|
|This was my first snack and water break, at around mile 10. The trail was plenty scenic.|
|The Tuscobia Trail looks a lot like this most of the time. When I could find bike tracks to follow, it was pretty easy and fast. Where snowmobiles had obliterated bike tracks, it was squishy and slower.|
A few commenters asked about the results of my diet and training. I more or less followed the diet advice in Grant Petersen's book Eat Bacon Don't Jog, and I was successful at dropping about 15 pounds in a month. If you haven't read the book, you should, but the jist of it is that a person should eat mostly "good" fat calories, limited protein, and almost no carbohydrates of any kind. This method works wonders for me. Anyway, when the holidays hit, I quickly realized the true limitation of this approach - it's profoundly antisocial. When you eat this way exclusively, only a few fat-filled bites will keep you full and not thinking about food for several hours. You don't need many big meals, and you certainly don't feel like eating three squares a day. Unfortunately, our culture holds that eating large meals is an important family/social thing, especially around the holidays, and, for the most part, these meals offer few options for a person who lives on 80% fat calories, and they also tend to offer lots of desserts. So I fell off the wagon, mostly for social reasons, during the month of December. By the time of Tuscobia, I was down about 10 pounds from my peak weight. I had done little riding aside from my daily commute. So my weight loss and training was lackluster, and during the race, I just didn't have the muscle stamina to keep pushing through the snow after 6+ hours. One effect of being on the low-carbohydrate diet is that I didn't experience anything resembling bonking. Because I ate only low-glycemic food leading up to and during the race, my energy level seemed constant. I had to drop out because my muscles and joints were in pain, not because I was out of energy to keep moving.