Race Report: Front Range 50Jeff Kerkove 4:08 PM
First things first. All the drama for the weekend happened the afternoon before the race....thanks to this tree. Carney and myself drove the Ergon FJ down to the race venue to pre-ride and to camp. Well, we arrived around 1 PM and went to the camping spot. I went to back in....got a little too close to the pictured tree. One single branch hooked one of my brake levers and rear derailleur hanger and snapped both of cleanly. Crap. So, we drove back to Fort Collins and I robbed the parts off the hardtail. A two hour round trip and 15 minutes of mechanical work, we were back at the venue. Yeah, I thought it was kind'a funny.
We got out on the course and did a 1 hr spin to see what we would be up against on Saturday. The course was buff and fast. Three climbs would prove to be the make or break sections. After the pre-ride we set up camp....away from any trees.
Being the mountain man that he is....Carney decided to sleep under the stars. Didn't last too long as it got windy during the night and we had a few light showers roll through.
Pre-race meal via the camp stove.
I called it a night and curled up in the tent around 8 PM. 5 AM, I was up and ready to go.
RACE DAY: FRONT RANGE 50
Up at 5 AM. Tear down the tent. Eat breakfast & and sip coffee. Roll over to the start/finish area about 2 miles down the road. Headed up to the start/finish area to get the number plate and place a cooler of bottles and food. Six bottles were placed in the cooler with a 2 inch x 2 inch square of Power Bar stuck to the top of each lid. Very easy grab and go in a self supported situation.
Race started at 8:30 with Nat calling up the Pro...Semi Pro....Expert....etc, etc, etc. I was in the 2nd row with about 10 pro riders in front of me for the uphill start. The gun went off and we bolted up the gravel hill to the trail we would ride for 5 laps. The start was pretty mellow in my mind. At the entrance to the single track I was sitting in 8th place. I mentioned earlier the course was dry and buff, so the big ring was in full effect. The first part of the lap was rolly. Is rolly a word? Anyway, I was maintaining my spot until we got to the first major climb. Here, I lost contact with the guys in front of me and soon found myself riding within 40 yards of riders in front and behind me. Pushing close to 180 bpm I went as fast as I could without blowing up. After all, it was only lap 1. I finished out the 10 mile lap in roughly 40 minutes.
At the start of lap 2 I stopped at my cooler....grabbed a new bottle...and a bit of a Power Bar. I was soon on my way. Now, I was able to set into my pace for the remainder of the event. I was a fact, that I was not going to ride in the lead group...at least without blowing up. I could only sit back and hope some of them would "pop." Within lap 2 a second group soon established itself. Granted we were not drafting off each other....we would all be with eyesight for most of the rest of the race. At the big climb that I was dropped on lap 1, I got some good legs. I was able to get up with a high cadence and keep riders behind me and gain time. The rest of the lap there would be some yo-yoing with riders. I would end up being able to gain a good chunk of time on the windy flat sections. Thank you Iowa!
Lap 3 was a little more of the same. Stop get a bottle and food...then hit the pace in hopes of not loosing time to riders behind me. I caught some riders...but I was not sure if they were in my race or not. There was actually like 3 races going on...a 50 miler....30 miler...and a XC race.
Lap 4 I stopped and grabbed more food and a new bottle of Cytomax. I had a couple guys go by me that I passed earlier since they were being handed their feeds. With a few miles, I was able to catch them and get in front of them. By lap 4, I was starting to feel the fatigue and heat. Turning over the big ring was getting be more like mashing the big ring. Either way, I had to do what I could to stay ahead of charging riders. Going up the largest climb of the event, I was caught again. No sweat. Do a little damage control and catch then drop them on the flat sections. Mission accomplished.
Last stop for a fresh bottle and nutrition. I even stopped to grab 2 cups of the sports drink they were serving just to be safe. One of the riders I passed on the flats passed me on my feed. I was able to get within a few yards of him, but lost contact on a short little steep climb. He would be the last rider in the 50 miler to catch me. I was able to put in a solid last lap. I felt about as good as I did on lap 2. I just ripped the last lap with out doing any bike or body damage. On the last corner of the event, I caught one other rider in the 50 mile event to move up one more place in the final results.
Race sled post event with recovery ready drink ready for the 20 minute cool down spin. Note, first race on the Stan's prepped wheels....me likey! Dry course yields clean bike for tomorrow 6 hour fun session. Amen!
Here is the final result via the Suunto T6. Five laps in roughly 3 hours 28 minutes. I ended up 11th in the Veteran 30-39 race out of 67 riders. There are no overall results, but looking at the other age groups and times...it looks like took about 20th out of the 150 rider field. Not too shabby for the first stab at racing the stacked local talent. Should also have some race photos coming thanks to some camera wielding feed zone folks.
Update: As of Sunday AM, the front brake dislocated via the tree is fixed.