Came in 4th open male 18/75 overall. Saw a dude on a brakeless fixed gear at the start. He came unclipped climbing the first rise but managed to save it. I tried to get away from him ASAP, doesn’t seem like a great idea to ride in a mixed pack with that setup. I really nailed my nutrition and hydration, felt great all race. Made the first 3 selections but got dropped from the lead group about 68 minutes in? Kept it together with the chase group but there was little effort to actually catch anyone and very little rotation. Not a bad thing since I was on the ragged edge for quite a while whilst recovering from the efforts put out in the first hour. Breakfast was a clif bar at 7:00 and a clif bar chia & fruit bar about 20 minutes before the start. A good bit of water too.
Nutrition was 1 double expresso clif shot, 1 chocolate clifshot, 1 peanut butter powerbar, and one bottle of gatorade. I ate a huge bite of a peanut toffee buzz clif bar in the last 10 minutes or so but that was only to stave off hunger since I wasn’t sure when the finish line was. Ended up drinking my camelback dry as well as an additional bottle of water. It didn’t feel hot but the high was recorded as 91 with most of the race a little below that I bet. Roads were pretty shaded so only a few sections in full sun, I think two bottles and a camelbak are probably fine unless it’s really hot. At that point I could add a small side bottle in my pocket. Out group didn’t stop at any aid stations so I would expect that to be the case in the future as well, need to have all options on the bike to stay with a fast group.
Course was dry with only a few sports of damp dirt. No real mud but the most minimal tacky sections. Lots of rollers and the climbing was significantly more and significantly harder than I expected. Stayed on my big (46t) ring the entire time and only used the 34t in the rear a few times.
This race rides very much like a regular road race, just on dirt. Big peloton, lots of lateral pack movement but good opportunity for selections due to course features like the single file wooden bridge and the climbs. Seemed to be very little rotation at the middle/rear, I think this is due to the increased resistance riding gravel. A lot more riders are just hanging one, whereas in a road race drafting makes you feel pretty invincible until you get popped into the wind and reality sets in. Riding with MTB/Cross bikes is a little dicey but once there was some weeding out of the slower riders it got a lot smoother and safer feeling.
Comments a few days later: The more I think about that brakeless fixed gear rider (turns out he’s a Spindle dude) the more irritating it is. Riding a set-up like that in a 75-person mixed gravel ride is just stupid and he should know better. It was really unnerving seeing a dude bust out a whip skid on a gravel downhill. Solid jackass move. If you’re going to ride like that, start at the end of the pack, ride there until there are a few selections made and then start blasting by the slower riders. No reason at all to try to stay with the lead pack since you’re going to get dropped on the first serious downhill/uphill anyway. He had quite a shitty ride, looks like at least 2 flats and a bit of walking to finish so I can’t comment on expected finish place but if you’re in competition for single speed, you’d be on a single speed. Novelty rides during a race a fine, but ride in the novelty position, bro.
Thanks to the four-five dudes I rode with. The dude on the MTB must have pulled 75% of the time and did everyone a favor by calling out distances as we neared the finish.
Rode with my tires at 45r/40f and could probably have dropped another 5 psi no problem but I never felt overinflated either so it’s just equivocating for entertainment at this point. Weighed in at 174 the day of the race and felt really light and fast. I’ve been walking between an hour and a half to two hours every day, once in the morning and once after work as well as really monitoring my diet, seems to be working very well. Shooting to get down to my realistic race weight by February for Southern Cross/Currahee double.