Wrong discipline - but some of y'all might read anyways.
Distance: 80 mile race spread out like this - 0.5 mile run for a Le Mans start. About 5 miles of single track. 30 miles of mostly dirt roads. 20 miles of single track. 20 miles of mostly dirt road back to the ranch at the start then another 5 miles of single track.
Weather: 41-46F and rain.
Category: in these marathon Mtb races you don't race category, there's the open class, then the age groups. I am 19-29. It makes no difference though, because its a true mass start - everyone together.
How it played out:
I don't run. Mid pack to the bike pretty much locked me into mid pack through the first singletrack. One big thing is which grup you make it into for the road sections. Obviously my group was... Mid pack. Within the first minute I could see the total disfunction of my group. A couple guys were bridging up to the next group, so I hopped on. It wasn't meant to be, on the second or third hill I popped and dropped back to the disfunctional group.
I spent about 20 minutes trying to get a pace line going, but hard to teach mountain bikers such things. Sat in, a group of two went up the road, getting about a minute on us. Fast forward another hour and a half, we hit the next singletrack. The two up the road were caught on the first hill in the singletrack. It was me and another dude by ourselves after that. About 20 minutes into the 2 hours of singletrack, I hit a tree and went down, other dude road on. So I spent the next hour by myself, passed quite a few people, but this was getting into "survival" territory, rather than actual racing.
FINALLY, I hooked up with someone. We road along together for quite a while. Then got another one - someone in my age bracket - someone to race against. We hit a super muddy off-camber section and the two guys decided to walk. I slipped and slided, but kept it up and they were GONE.
I got on the road again (dirt/gravel mostly) with no one in front of me and no one behind me. This is when I finally got cold. 20 miles left, after already racing for about 4.5 hours. There's not much to say here. I rode the next hour and a half by myself. I don't keep a computer n my bike, so I had no idea how much was left or even how long I'd been riding. I couldn't grip the bars, was soaking wet, my back was beyond pain, shivering began, legs slowed, and by the miracle of little baby Jesus I didn't bonk or flat - which would have meant certain hypothermia.
I finished in 5:54, good for 8th place in 19-29 men.
Back at my car, I had to get someone to take my gloves, shoes, helmet, and camelback off - then had to get them to start the car. I sat in the car for 30 minutes before I could feel my fingers. People were still straggling in.