I’ll be filling this in over the next couple of days as I’m pretty whacked from the race and pretty slammed at work.
ETA: It’s hard to explain just how hard this race was. Going in I had suspected it would be muddy and kind of a slog but I did not suspect it would be almost 7 hours of sheer destruction. I was very unhappy at the end, as is the case with any difficult cycling endeavor I was ready to go again the next day and felt really positive about my experience.
Leading up to the race was quite literally 7-8 days of hard rain every single day. Very intense weather, so I knew it would be a little bit muddy but I was prepared for how soft the roads actually were. Every mile that was offroad was a challenge and most of the gravel roads were difficult as well.
Trying to avoid the lower back pain I have had the past few months I dropped my saddle to the same level as my MTB (about -5mm from the old position) and moved it forward about 2.5mm. Had my tire pressure around 40-45PSI f/r. My set-up worked perfectly, at the end of the race I felt horrible as a human being who had been “racing” for almost 7 hours but had no pain related to my set-up. Tire pressure seemed good too, had decent grip in the muck but felt good on the road. I could feel rim contact if I rode heavy over roots and rocks but by and large I floated pretty well and had no tire issues.
I didn’t do any warm-up, pretty much got on my bike 2 minutes before the neutral roll-out and off we went. I got dropped by the leaders within the first 10 minutes, dropped by the main chase group after about 30 minutes and dropped by the last guy I saw about 40 minutes in. Spent the rest of the race by myself, which was actually pretty nice. Lots of things to think about in those woods.
I wrote down what I ate after the race and added it all up, I ate around 1500-1700 calories in various forms. I had gels, shot bloks, gatorade, some chex mix and two weird clif bar things. I ate the last two because I felt that “too much carbohydrates, not enough fat” hole in my stomach after about 2 hours, same after about four hours. Overall I think I ate pretty well, if I had know the race would be so much longer I would have had more caffeine and brought a second camelbak. I also think i should have packed in another 100-200 calories but I don’t have any logic for this, just a gut (ha!) feeling.
Some thoughts added:
The course was actually a pretty nice mix of singletrack, gravel and road (where it wasn’t mud). Having a good position right at the start is a good idea since the first section is a net downhill with a lot of twists and turns and if you’re not a good descender you need to really blast the flats/climbs to maintain your position. The first section of singletrack is pretty much one steep, curvy climb. I ended up dismounting and walking twice since running the whole thing isn’t an option due to a couple quick, short descents.