So, more stars aligned and Thursday Afternoon We loaded up the Boffeli-Hanks VW and headed South. We stopped at Grandma Tina's in Kanab for Dinner, it was good, and they like butter there. alot, which is a good thing. We then proceeded to Page, Az for the night. The Best Western was new, comfortable and they had an awesome free breakfast, I proceeded to eatEggs, sausage (which became a theme for the weekend, for me, not Jen and Shannon, which was their DOOM). We then drove the rest of the way to Presskit. We got there around Noon local time, and went and had lunch, I had a turkey sammy, Then we went and picked up our packets (While dropping off 2 canned goods per person for the local food bank, take note leadville) We ran into Sarah K, setting up her Elete tent (my new secret race sauce is a bottle of Carbo Rocket, with 1 serving of elete added in). Sarah was kind enough to volunteer to show us how we could shuttle to the last 12 miles or so of the course, which also included driving much of the first 10 miles of the race. That 12 mile ride was a blast, but chilly, actual snow on the trail. That evening we went to a local Italian restaurant, right next to our hotel, I had Sketti with Italian sausage. MMMM good.
Early wake up call on race day. 5:15, ate a bit of Oatmeal, a bit of poptarts and a bit of apple sauce. At 6:45 we rode the 1.25 miles to the start line (7:30 start). And rode a bit more until start line up, At 7:15, there was no one lined up, at 7:20 there was 12 rows lined up, crazy. They had some sort of wild west shoot out show that created a mass of anxiety as everyone thought it was the start, then about 20 seconds later, we did start, I was almost take out y riders on either side of me, but made it out ok. I then made my way further to the front, well closer to the front. The first 9.5 miles climbs, oh about 2000 feet, half of it on pavement, i kept my pace mine, passing some, being passed by others, every time the terrain flattened a bit, I was able to turn on the gas. About 6 or 7 miles in we hit single track, that went mostly up, with some rocks and water bars to ride over. HOLY CRAP, I was amazed at the amount technically challenged, tunnel visioned riders out there, it was a conga line of riders dismounting due to the smallest obstacle in the trail which created a domino effect of dismounts and grumbles. I did a few cyclocross dismounts and sprints around others, not good for keeping HR down. Finally we topoed out for a ripping 3 mile DH, including a steep loose descent with several water bar drops, which upon the guy in front kept putting afoot down, I stayed on the bike, doing ski turns to slow down and finally got around him towards the bottom of the steep section. I then DH'd for a bit more on some atv DH, which allowed me to get around others easily. At this point I started my back and forth battle with 2 Vassago racers, which made me feel like I was chasing Brad (which is crazy, since he is a roadie now). At the bottom of the DH We were at 12.5 miles, which I though was where the first feed zone was, which demarcated the beginning of the out and back road, I was wrong (i carried all my food and drink with me, so didn't need the aid station, plus my hydration pack had a malfunctioning nozzle, which was difficult to open and close, awesome), there was a painful 2 mile climb first. So, feed zone hit (1.5 hours gone, this is how long Sarah K said it would take) Next, 9 mile downhill, yay, except it wasn't all downhill, and it was into a headwind and I was on my own. Still, 26 minutes later I was at the turn around, right under 2 hours, after seeing all the leaders heading up. It took me an hour to climb what took me 26 minutes to descend, plus there was more climbing after the feed zone, on the first 9 miles of the climb I got to see, encourage, be encouraged by all those behind me in the race, At one point I was at mile 32 in my race and a large group of people were descending the opposite direction, at that point I realized they were 20 miles behind me, crap, they are gonna be out there a while. SO, the climb had me going through all types of emotions;
- Thank god there are some Downhills to break tis up
- Ooh, I feel strong
- Ooh I feel weak
- Ooh I feel overheated
- Holy Crap look at the size of that house, on that mountain, in the middle of nowhere
- that person almost head on'd me.
- There is no way in hell I am riding
- I won't walk
- I won't make the whole race under 4.5
- Ooh, feed zone
- Ooh, I may just make sub 4 hours.
Ok, there were more, but 1 hour 20 minutes can't really be condensed here.
I made it to the top and was ready to shred the Final 12.5 miles, Which I did, super fun sections, I knew there was that last 1 mile climb before the final 7.5 miles, so I spun up half of it and pushed a harder gear up the rest, passing 3 people. Then in the technical rock sections I passed several more, popped out on the pavement for the 4 miles to the finish, just Making it in at 4 hours 1 minute and 11 seconds. I felt strong in that last 12.5 miles, which is awesome. Finished 40th in Open men 19-44. I like that category structure. My ave HR was 166, I was able to maintain 170+ on all the climbs. Crazy for me, for this time of year.
Sarah came in 3 or so minutes behind me for 2nd in Open women, Jen was 5th, Shannon had a great race, 3 hours 37 minutes for 17th.
Later that day, since we finished by noon, we had Cheeseburgers, and Ice cream, Then we went to a pizza joint for dinner, I had Chicken wings and a personal Sausage and Pepperoni pizza, Jen and Shannon had a chicken veggie pizza DOOOOOOOMMMMMMM. Short story, Jen was up all night, sick, Shannon was sick all the next day on the way home, I drove most of the way. Sausage is gooooooooood.