This weekend was the Dakota 5-O. Taking place in the Black Hills of South Dakota, this was a 50 mile loop on about 60% singletrack. The rest of the course consisted of Forest Service roads, cattle trail, and some ATV trail. The field was pretty large as we lined up at 7:20 AM for the 7:30 AM start. I had my game plan: turn in a time between 3:40 and 4 hours. I knew I had my work cut out for me as I scoped out the field and saw many talented Omaha/Lincoln riders, the locals, and Kelly Magelky...a Trek/VW rider from here in Colorado.
My plan from the git-go was to stay as close to the front without over doing my pace. The race started with about 4 miles of dirt road after leaving the paved roads within the city limits. The gun went off shortly after 7:30. All the riders charged out of town at a good clip. As soon as we hit the dirt road, Kelly and a War Axe rider went off the front.....soon to be joined by a local fast guy. I was sitting about 10 riders back, as these 3 riders put about 200-300 yards on the field. With in about 1000 yards of the singletrack entrance, I watched Kelly take off....never to be seen again....as well as the local. I then made a jump to be the 4th or 5th rider into the singletrack. The pace was pretty easy once on trail. I was following another rider taking his lines and getting the body into a good groove. After about 4 miles of singletrack I passed this rider and started off on my race pace for the day. This happened to be a HR right near 172 bpm according to the Suunto.
Armed with 3 water bottles (2 with water and 1 with a super concentrated Cytomax mixture), 12 gels, and a dispenser of Endurolytes I started my chase. With 4 aid stations on course, I would stop at stations 2 and 3 to top off bottles during the 50 miles race. My race was uneventful....which is a good thing. I rode mile 8 until the finish alone...not seeing another rider the entire time. Each aid station I went through I ask the time gap to the 2 leaders in front. At aid station 2 it was five minutes....and it grew by 5 minutes every 10 miles.
I played a conservative race. I hit the climbs hard...and chilled out on the downhills. Most of the downhills were pretty simple...but sharp rocks could end the day early. One downhill claimed a few folks, as the the kitty-litter surface and super steep grade made for many over-the-bar moments. The course had it all! Lots of rocky and rooty singletrack, along with some long rocky climbs. Also can't forget all the short little power climbs...which I forgot how bad they hurt when you hit a lot of them over 4 hours of hard riding. When I say this course had it all.....I mean it had it all! More than a few times I had to hoot-n-holler at a few cattle to get them off the course as I came raging through their feeding ground.
The final results had me 3rd overall (300+ total racers) and 1st in the Men's 30-39 age category....in which there was 97 riders. It was a stacked field with lots of top local and Midwest talent. Not to mention a few Front Range folks. Mission accomplished on one of the most excellent mtb courses EVER!
Race pictures to come....hopefully.
Nice little video over on YouTube. I get my 2 seconds of fame at the 4-5 second mark.
Time to get some much needed rest this week. The best race of the year is this weekend....of course, I am speaking of the Vapor Trail 125. It does not get any better!