Sadistic! Last year the 100 mile 107 degree was apparently just didn’t draw the crowds so it was shortened to 100k and held in the middle of November. Perfect. The weather could not have been better. Highs in the mid 70s, a bit of rain over the past few weeks had packed the worst of the dust down…the only problem? Just shy of 10k feet of climbing in 100k, the majority of which (7k) was in the first 30 miles. Brutal.
We gathered in the cold at 7:30 for the pre-race meeting and lined up shortly after. The original course featured more singletrack, a climb up gibraltar and an out and back toward Camusa. The new route went straight out past the top of Big Pine and retired on the Camusa singletrack.
Eric texted yesterday and said he was racing and I was excited, but my heart sank a little. After losing by a few minutes to DZ last year I was ready for a win and Eboz was certainly going to make things difficult.
We rolled out and headed straight through Oso and up to Little Pine and then kept climbing, and climbing, and climbing. I’ve never done anything like it. Right off the bat it was pretty clear Eric and I would be spending the day together. By the first few miles we’d opened up a several minute lead and chitty chatted for the first 24 miles until things got serious up Big Pine. He dropped me hard. Not sure if it was dehydration, a bonk, mental, or all of the above but my watts dropped and I just could’t hold the pace. He’s a much faster descender so the only chance I had was to out climb him and open up a big enough gap to hold it for the entire 30 mile descent the way home. I failed. By the turn around at mile 32 we were already 3 hours in and I was about 3-4 minutes back.
The ride home was pretty fantastic. Mostly downhill but with a few climbs I regained my legs but Eric was already too far in front and carrying too much speed to catch. Traffic got heavy coming down Big Pine and then again just after the 50k turn around. By the time we got to Camusa trail I was beyond exhausted, which is not ideal for such a punchy technical descent. Hopefully everyone made it down in one piece!
What a day. By far one of the hardest races I’ve done. Bring your climbing legs.