The race starts at 6AM and my alarm clock woke me up at 4:30 AM for breakfast and coffee in my sleeping bag. I prepped my bike for the long day and was off for the "warm up" ride to the start, which was 15 minutes away. My fingers were frozen due to temps in the mid 30s by the time I got to the start line on this cold Saturday moring. Most people were wearing arm warmers, knee warmers, and vests. I chose not to as it was one more thing I didn't want to worry about.
RMR teammates at the start line!
400 riders start at the sound of the shotgun blast. The race starts off on road and then goes into some double track. Both 50 mile racers and 100 mile racers started at the same time, so it was fairly difficult to gauge who to try to pace with. I settled into my rhythm and focused on my race strategy. I know the effort I can maintain for 100 miles and how often I need to eat.
The first section of singletrack is on Segment 3 of the Colorado Trail, and I knew if I positioned myself fairly well, my race would be off to a good start as I am quite familar with the upcoming trails, which is a huge advantage. I was on pace through aid station 3. I stopped quickly to grab two fresh water bottles and was off. I felt the Green Mountain climb and a fairly long section of the Colorado trail before 126 were the toughest parts of the race. I rode great through these two points and made another quick stop at aid station 5. My fast transition put me ahead of a bunch of racers who made less efficient stops.
I crossed 126 into an area devasted by past fires and was riding solo as the miles ticked off and the temperature rose. Around mile 50 there was a short but very steep climb. This is where I started to feel the efforts of the race. I was conservative the next few miles and descended to the next aid station quickly where I drank four cups of water and a cup of coke.
At mile 58 or so the race hits the open road for about 12 miles. I was able to take pulls with one racer for a few miles, but our pace was different, so I decided to go off on my own into the stiff headwind that was fighting me. Other than the elevation profile, from here until mile 90 I did not know what was in front of me. The scenery, lakes, and canyons kept my interest piqued. Then the road pointed up and changed to dirt roads. 22 miles of climbing and sun were in lay ahead. The miles in the mid 70s hurt. After what turned out to be the steepest section, I needed to stop for a moment. Once back on the bike, I realized I was right around the corner from aid station 8. It was about a minute bike ride there and I was greeted with an ice cold Coke. Shortly after, the engine started to rev back up and I felt better.
At Wellington lake I passed a sign that told me the mileage to Bailey and my effort picked up as I knew approximately how far I had to go. A rider passed me a few moments before I saw this sign and I gave what I could to try to pass him. I chased uphill and downhill as hard as I could. This rider continued to be just out of sight. I made up significant ground on the last downhill with speeds approaching mid 30s on the wet dirt road. A quick uphill and a right hand 120 degree turn were all that were left in the race. I sprinted as hard as I could after 94 miles of racing and finished strong.
It felt great to have the energy to race 95 miles after a tough spring of training. Conditions and support during the race were great. Its always fun to compete on trails I know well. I finished 10th in my age category out of 34 finishers and 68th overall. Garmin track here. I finished in 8:55:51 with only about 7 minutes of non moving time. Results here.
I'd like to thank everyone who donated to my race and more importantly to the causes that this race supports. I was able to reach my fund raising goal and my race goals!