The Calm Before the… What?

If you listen to the XXC Podcasts you know (and if you don’t, now you do) XXC Magazine copy editor, podcast producer and co-host  Zandr is readying for his first attempt at a hundred miler this weekend (The Cohutta 100). Z has been keeping a blog of his anal retentive days leading up to the race at I found this particular post extremely enjoyable (the last line is brilliant) and thank Zandr for letting me share it here. Good luck Zandr, can’t wait to hear about it on the pod.

The Calm Before the… What?

Three days out, I’m finding it difficult to think of anything but Cohutta, while simultaneously finding it difficult to concentrate on that which is to come. My thoughts are swirling and scattered, a maelstrom of jumbled letters and not-quite-worries. The fact is, I’m 100% confident that I will finish the race (barring anything tragic and unforeseen). This isn’t a feature on Oprah, and I wasn’t just sitting on the couch eating Cheetos mere months ago. I’ve been riding a (relatively) long time, and while I have stepped up my game this year, it’s not like I just abandoned training wheels.

But racing 100 miles and 14,000 feet is, well… new. I’ve yet to do a 100 mile ride on my mountain bike. I’ve only ever done one road century, and I limped back into my garage broken and depleted. That night my right leg cramped so bad I felt it for a week. In retrospect I recognize the failures: lack of hydration for the unseasonably warm conditions, no cool-down and poor post-ride recovery. I’m sure I’ll cover those bases more effectively this go-around, but what else could arise? What other challenges will I face? (Other than potential body slams*.)

The saving grace is, while technically this is a race and many people who are much more fit than I am will be going all out, really challenging themselves and digging deep, my goal is different. One day I want to race 100 miles. One day I want to worry about taking too long at aid stations and optimizing my nutrition so I can go hard and long (TWSS) without throwing up. This time, I just want to finish. This time, I want to experience this thing with which I have become obsessed.

This Saturday, I will live that which I have imagined and it will be painful and glorious.

- Zandr Benedict

*I wonder if I mentioned to Andrea that there is a preem if a drunken post-race body slam of Zandr is caught on video? 

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