Sorry for the delay, I’ve been too busy shuffling around and nursing my fire road rash back to health. It completely slipped my mind that I should post something. I was looking forward to racing in Cedar City and picking up a qualifying spot for Leadville next year. Mike from Pedalers Fork had been planning the trip to Utah for a while and it seemed like a good Leadville prep race. About a week before the race we talked Eric Bostrom into joining us for a boys weekend on the dirt. On Friday morning we piled in Eric’s raper van and set offing the desert.
We rolled into town in the early evening and after checking in, set off to Centro for some of the best pizza of my life. Few pies are with a two hour wait but this one nailed it.
Morning came early and we lined up on main street in the center of town. After a long neutral start and some hilarious starting tactics by a few riders who had probably never ridden a mountain bike race before (thanks for pulling the entire field TT guy) and more than a few cross bikes (what were they thinking?) we hit the first clim. The legs felt great, and then ok, and then good again, and then bad, and then finally we hit the top about an hour later.
Almost 1/4 of the race time is spent on this first climb. It’s a doozy. Eboz and I traded positions a few times but being the smarter racer, he left some gas in the tank. I managed to cross the top all alone and in 4th position, close behind the leaders. The next 10 miles were fast and rolling fire road… too fast. I pulled the rookie mistake of grabbing my bottle and twitching the bars at 30mph on a loose turn. Down I went. Bike one way, my body the other. I immediately surveyed the damage, nothing was broken, so I hopped back on. It didn’t take long to realize that I’d knocked my bars crooked and had broken my bottles so I was now without water at mile 25 of 62. Whoops. The rest of the race was going to be a long, hot, and slightly to the right.
The next miles were a blur. I still couldn’t see anyone behind me but by the time I hit the second climb I was gassed. It was boiling, loose, steep, and I was reaching the end of my mental limits. I hadn’t felt like that since the Redford climb at last years Grizzly 100. I chugged my way up and was passed by a few riders, Eric being one of them. “Oh man, I’m glad and bummed to see you” he said as he cruised by.
Somehow I made it to the top and pulled my way through the rollers and finally it was time for the steep and long descent back into town. I lost another spot to Pete Smith on the descent (which ended up being the difference between returning to Leadville next year) but I’m glad Pete got it. He’s a nice dude and I was getting greedy for wanting two entries.
I ended up with 9th overall and 4th in my age group, a far cry from the 30-40 win at Austin. Apparently the competition was stiff this year and the field was huge, it looked like about 400 riders had lined up for the 100k. Looks like this race isn’t a shoe in for LT100 anymore.
The most fun part of the race was afterwards. And I mean after Eric doctored up my wounds. There was beer, margaritas, more beer, some wine, and a concert in the park. Cedar City is actually a pretty fun little town.
On the way home on Sunday we hit Zen Trail outside St. George. I relived the horror of the True Grit 100 and we abused Mike on his rigid hardtail. Whoops again.