Due to some kitchen painting we had to get out of the house so I brought the family along for the Kenda Cup Big Bear #1 Endurance Race. It’s time to get serious about the distance so the XC was just a little short. We found a sweet AirBnB cabin close to the starting line and decided to make a weekend out of it. It’s always fun to travel to races with my wife Ali and little man.
Bear Pause Cabin
After a more than relaxing day on Saturday and a walk around the depressingly dry lakefront boardwalk it was time for race mode…margaritas and enchiladas. Yum! I was feeling the altitude a bit before the margarita but it sure didn’t help. Hacienda Grill sure makes a mean one!
I need to see some ID
Sunday morning finally rolled around and it was time to roll down to registration line and the start. The legs were feeling pretty good but with a 50 mile endurance day on the horizon, you never know. We lined up at 10am for 2 laps of the XC course and we were off. The pace was quick and the field immediately separated off the first climb. I was doing some pulling up the hill and trying to set tempo with John Nobil, Greg Gibson and Stuart Gonzalez sitting close behind. John kept leading the charge on the descents and about halfway through the first lap he put the pain down and begin to slip out of reach.
Lead out train
I managed to pull ahead of Greg and Stuart and was sitting pretty comfortably in second until Skyline where my lack of sandy/technical skills cost me some time and Greg came flying by me. Not much changed for a while and I just tried to keep the speed and wattage up through the rolling singletrack. At the start of the second lap I grabbed my bottles and slammed some bottles and was immediately hit with a second wind. I’ve been trying this high fat/low/no sugar plan that coach Billy has been working with and I didn’t have to eat once. It was the first long race without a bonk, low blood sugar, or need to slam a gel. I must say it was pretty liberating. Just a little Skratch in the bottles and some beet juice powder and I was rocking.
Toward the end of the second lap Stuart came flying by on the Skyline trail and looked strong. We traded places a few times on the fire road and I really didn’t want to settle for fourth. As we neared the singletrack toward Pirates Stuart slowed down and waved me by and off I went. I tried to put some separation between us at the expense of slipping and sliding my way down Fall Line and Fern Trail. It felt great though. After 3+ hours of racing that singletrack at the end was brutal. I was so happy to finish and see Rex and Ali waiting for me at the line. I promptly collapsed and Rex used my giant Moots as a jungle gym.
After a shower back at the house I was getting ready to head to the awards and messaging John Nobil, only to find out that he’d had to drop out due to a flat. Looks like I was second after all. What a great surprise (sorry John). Well, time to rest up and get ready for a long 12 hours at Temecula next weekend.
Settling for second