How was the course?
I ride up a hill, I ride down a hill…wait a sec I’ve been here before! I always forget how much climbing there is here. It’s just a constant up and down. The course is exhausting, lots of small loose gravel with some very fast downhills. A few leg-breaking uphills that feature large and loose chunky gravel or bermy dirt. They’re short but steep. The first loop section of the course is a killer, this is where all the bumps and rocks and puddles are and it’s always hard and fast.
What did you ride?
Same ol’ Charge Cooker Hi 29er. Worked fine, I think I like it better as a flat-bar mountain bike but I dunno really.
39/26 with 11-34 9 speed. Some of the gravel was large and loose enough that I was really working the 26/34 – made me kind of nervous for the Big Frog 65 next week but we’ll see.
Continental Race King 2.2 in the rear and a brand new WTB Nine Line 2.25 in the front. I changed the front tire the day before because I really don’t like the Wild Race’r’ that was on there. It was too aggressive and just not what I wanted. The Nine Line is really great, rolls fast and is slightly smaller and less aggressive – good gravel tire. I didn’t have any tire issues, especially because the course was entirely gravel or pavement, no singletrack this year.
What’d you eat?
Same breakfast, same clif bar half hour before the start and then only 2.5 clif bars during the ride. I though I didn’t bring enough food but the race was shorter than I expected so I was fine. I did have a whole bottle of Torq after the third aid station which was so great even if a weird flavor – strawberry/mint?
Fine, I had two bottles and stopped to refill at the first and third aid stations. Now the question is, did I lose more time (~1 minute) stopping to fill up versus just riding with a camelbak? The start of the race was very hot but by the halfway point clouds and a breeze had moved in so I was ok overall. Had it stayed sunny I think I would have been in a little trouble and need another bottle.
How was the week leading up to the race?
Too much hiking. Like an idiot I hiked almost an hour and a half the day before the race. I felt ok just couldn’t sustain the knife-edge efforts like I usually can if really well rested. Note to self, walking the day before needs to be flat and easy. Not hiking downhill for 20-30 minutes! I also rode four days in a row from my last race – this is too much. Need to take the day after a race (or two) off and then pick up before the next race.
Where’d you start?
At the back with the old southern couple that rolled up in a golf cart with their dog to watch the start. It didn’t affect me at all but I got all caught up in the spirit of back of the pack racing and went out way too hard. Blew my legs for most of the climbs on the first loop.
How’d you do?
In the money! Which means 5/7 in the male open! Same as usual, fastest slow guy. Overall I felt like I had a good race but was just not as sharp as normal, kinda tired and felt like wearing a hat is making me overheat on the climbs. The first hard climb during the top loop was a killer, felt like I was on fire. What’s got me really interested is that I was a little slower on most of the gravel sections (too hot cuz hat) but way faster on the last paved section. Hmm.