Saturday, June 9, 2012

Inge's Lactic Heart

Inge is up to another lactic fest of an adventure, across the sea in Norway!  Here is a great new story (also posted on her own blog, -- thanks, Inge, for sending this to us!

photo: HH Nordmarksrittet

Nordsmarksrittet defines a new category of mountain bike racing. It’s more about legs and lungs than rocks and ruts. It’s more about lactic acid control than fine-tuned maneuvering.

As the 42K-racers were finishing their event at the Holmenkollen Nordic World Championship arena Saturday, yours truly was served an extensive and colorful collection of horrifying race tales. The hairy hairpin turns with loose gravel left and right. The mass crash at the bottom of the course where the course does a 180 at the same time as it goes from descending to climbing, oxygen debt and washboards.

Serving up more than 1,200 feet of elevation gain per 10K lap, I knew this was going to be about VO2max and lactic acid coming out my ears, but these stories made the hairs on my neck stand up straight. While the 42K racers were discussing casualties and crashes of the morning, I was preparing for my own race, the 21K version starting at noon. In other words: same course, except two laps instead of four. Cold feet? Definitely. That prerace “scared-excited” feeling. This was going to hurt, but just how bad?

But there is something appealing about these kinds of challenges. For starters, everyone who grew up in Oslo (me included) has a relationship to the hill Korketrekker’n (ed. cork screw) – it’s the old Olympic bob sledding hill from 1952. But most of us slide down it on sleds in the winter, rather than ride up it on two wheels in the summer. After the first lap in Nordsmarksrittet, you definitely know why top to bottom is the prevailing direction of traffic on this hill.

Nordsmarksrittet is not a race won by trail riding finesse and mud control. But loose gravel and washboards requires its own set of skills. Its not one of the typical Scandinavian dirt road races that generally are 90K or longer. Nor is it a technical trail race. Nordsmarksrittet has created an entirely new subcategory within mountain bike racing: Lactic acid races.

So we're curious to know she actually did in this race.  Her answer: she was the overall women's winner in the 21k race, even though she claims to be too cautious and slow on the downhills.  Nice work, Inge!

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