After doing endurance events all year so far, I knew I needed to make some adjustments in my training to get ready for the Florida State Championship series this fall. With races in the 1-2 hour range, these shorter races would be over before my body started to warm up after getting used to races over 5 hours. So when my friend Christian suggested we enter a 50 mile race as a team I thought that sounded great.
Rumble in the Jungle is a 50 mile race at Markham Park put on by the Markham Park Trail Building Fund as an annual fundraiser event. The local community really showed great support, with large participation in every classification. Markham is a really unique course in South Florida, with some surprising elevation and challenging technical sections of roots, rocks and big drops. The weather leading up to the event was pretty wet, so we’d have our share of mud to contend with as well.
Adding my buddy Ceejay at the last minute as a 3rd team member, we were ready to go crank out some hot laps on what ended up being a really fun and challenging course. Christian took lap 1 as this is his home course (I’ve got lap 1 at Jonathan Dickinson if they ever do a race like this!), and as he took off I started to try and get my legs ready for a furious pace. I’ve been used to conserving energy, starting slow and keeping my efforts consistent, but that was not in the plan for this kind of relay race.
Returning to the transition area after a brief warm-up, I awaited Christian to return and make the tag so I could start lap 2. He flew in and I shot off in a full sprint right out of the gate. I was able to make up some time on a few in front of us only to get caught in a muddy section in a long line of traffic. Knowing I only had to ride for less than 30 minutes before I could rest, I hammered as hard as I could as often as I could, going way over what would be my red-line in an endurance race time and time again. It felt good to open it up a bit on race day, almost like clearing out the carbon in a sports car that’s been sitting too long with a few trips to red-line. Coming in hot to the transition area to make the exchange to Ceejay I was out of breath but felt good.
Now I knew I’d have an hour to cool down, eat something, then start warming up again. Ceejay wasn’t able to see the course beforehand as he was a late addition to the team, but he had a good lap and we were sitting somewhere in the top 5 Sport Teams after we’d each completed a lap. Settling in the middle of the race we all had a feel for the course and started to run into lap traffic as the laps were relatively short at about 5.5 miles.
My first lap was pretty hot, averaging 186bpm for the entire lap, but the 2nd lap was ridiculous averaging 191bpm for the entire lap. Yikes! Some of that was certainly adrenaline related, but I felt good knowing that I couldn’t have gone much harder than that. Ceejay and Christian crushed the last few laps at a faster pace than I could muster and we crossed the finish line pretty much where we started the day, in 5th place for Men’s Sport teams.
Sometimes these local races are funny about which class people run in, and we’d have actually also been 5th in Men’s Expert teams as well. But overall I think we all had fun, our Bikeminded crew was great in supporting all the racers and hanging out in some truly swampy conditions, so I’d say the day was a success. There’s a still a couple of of weeks before the FSC season starts, and I learned a few lessons about pace and nutrition at Rumble in the Jungle that should help me prepare more effectively.
Be sure to check out the full gallery of Rumble in the Jungle images Jemma took at the race. While she wasn’t allowed on the course, she did manage to document the emotion of the race and might have gotten a photo or two of you!