The Laramie Enduro was a new race for me. Only being about 50 miles from my house, I needed to get up to Laramie, WY to give this highly talked about race a try. Situated at the pass just east of Laramie, the single 72 mile loop is very similar to the riding here in Fort Collins. Biggest difference is the elevation...which sits between 7,400 and 9,100 ft.
The race began at 7 AM under clear....but chilly skies. Temps at the race start where hovering right at the 40F degree mark. My plan for the race was to race it exactly like the Firecracker 50. Same HR zones and same nutrition. At 6:45 AM, the entire 400 racer field lined up for a dirt road climb up to the opening singletrack. Having pre-rode the day before, I knew it was important to be one of the first into this section as to not get gapped off for the dirt road that followed after the singletrack. The gun went off, and we shot up the dirt road. Just up the climb I was sucking wheel in 3rd place. As we got towards the top, the guys in front of me slowed a bit and looked back. That is when I picked up the pace...went to the front...then and led the entire race field into the singletrack.
I ended up taking the lead through the first section of singletrack out to the first open and windy road section. Here I slowed to allow the small group of 4 or 5 riders to get organized to form a pace line into the wind. This group would eventually result in the top 4 riders overall. As we pushed down the road, we had a good gap. As I looked back there were riders as far as I could see. The group I was in rode together until about aid station 1. Shortly before, myself and another few rider were gapped off in a section of singletrack. While the gap wasn't big.....the sections of open road in the winds are what did the damage and allowed the eventually 1st and 2 place finishers to get away.
Finally, when I reached aid station 1, I was joined by 2 other riders. I rode with them for a bit before dropping of their pace...which was harder than I wanted to go. I would ride solo all the way to aid station 3....the half way mark. At aid station 3 is where I had my drop bag for nutrition re-supply. I grabbed 3 fresh bottles, and 3 fresh gel flasks. Also at this aid station were the 2 riders I was chasing....as well as the group of 3 riders that was chasing me. We all left the aid station together. There was now about 6 of us chasing after the 2 leaders...who had 10 minutes on us. We all basically left the aid station together and carved out the sections of trail that followed. After the section of singletrack, we emptied out onto a dirt road climb. This rolling road with deep water ruts had the group riding together for about 1/2 the climb. Half way up the climb, myself and another rider got gapped off. We dangled about 100 yards off the back from the other 4 or 5 riders charging up the climb. At the top of the climb, there was a left turn onto some singletrack which was hard to see. The riders in front of me missed the corner and kept raging down the dirt road. Myself and the other rider yelled at them....but the riders just kept pushing ahead...and off course.
In a lucky turn on events, I went form being in 7th or 8th place to now the 3rd place rider on course. Not knowing how long it would be before the rider off course would get back on course, I pushed on...and upped my pace. Myself and the other rider that made the right turn pushed through some high grass singletrack. the grass was so high in places it was very difficult to see any rocks on course. And for me, that would be bad, as I railed a basketball size rock hidden in some grass and was on the ground faster than I knew what happened. The rider behind me asked if I was OK....and kept pushing on. By the time I got up and figured out what the hell just happened, the rider put about 1 minutes on me...and pushed me now into 4th.
It wasn't long....and I was back on his wheel. I rode with him for a few minutes....until I came to the front to pull into the wind on the road...and noticed he was now like 300 yards behind me. Now back in 3rd place I settled into a tempo that would allow me to finish...and finish strong. At the 5th and final aid station, I refilled a bottle with water as I was getting low....and drank 1/2 a can of Coke. I knew coming up was the toughest climb and section of the entire race thanks to some pre-race BETA from some folks who had raced here in the previous years. Known as the Government Trail, this loose, rocky, and rooty trail is best suited for going downhill.....but we had to climb it. Having saved enough energy, I was able to get up the climb with out being caught be the 4th place rider....or the riders who got lost after aid station 3. Once to the top, the remaining 3 to 4 miles of singletrack was rolling until the final dirt road decent to the finish line.
This race just goes to prove, NEVER give up. Things can happen...people can crack....people can get lost...bikes can break. I was asked by a rider after the event why I yelled at the riders that got lost. He asked why I just didn't keep racing and not say anything. My response was simply, "Karma." I tried...as did the other rider with me.....but the heat of the moment had them in their own little world. I might add, that early in the race when I was riding alone, I missed a corner....but noticed my mistake very early as I saw riders heading up hill at me. That got my adrenaline pumping.
The heart rate was pretty solid and consistent the entire race. There was a few times in the event where the legs pooped out....but I was able to come back around pretty quick. My nutrition had me with a good clean energy burn all day.
Age Group 30-39 Men's Open Podium. I took 2nd in my age group....and 3rd overall in the 72 mile race with a time of 5 hrs and 23 minutes. My race time goal was 10 minutes in front of or after the 5 hr mark.