As last years 60 mile winner, I took it upon myself to not sit back, but rather throw everything out there. I took the initiative on the open road to drive to the singletrack right from the gun....no holding back. It seemed that myself and eventual race winner, Brian Fawley, were doing a lot of the work. The effort was high at times, and the race began to splinter on the road.
On the final road climb to the singletrack, a few other riders came up towards the front. I would be the 4th rider onto the singletrack. Two riders would push off the front....never to be seen again. I would start to go after past race winner Raymond Hall. He would get about 100 yards on me.....only to flat a few miles later. I would not see him the rest of the race.
For a majority of the race, I would ride with Aaron Elwell here in this photo. We pushed the pace, and he eventually got ahead of me at one point. I would then be joined by last years 2nd place rider, Noah Singer. Noah and I would ride together until the first long section of dirt road. Here I was able to get away from Noah and bridge up to the Aaron Elwell. Working together, we would get a good gap on Noah.....not seeing him as would turn corners or crest the hills.
Pushing a hard pace we would ride through most of the Womble Trail until I cracked. Even with all the eating and drinking, I was cooked. I pretty much burned my matches in the early parts of the race. Falling off of Aaron Elwell's wheel I would continue to dig deep to get to the finish line in 4th place. With about 8 miles left in the 70 mile race, I would hear chattering breaks behind me coming out of the small water crossings. It would be Noah, who worked his way back up to me......and then past me. I had nothing as I watched him ride by.
I kept pushing on until the final dirt road descent back to the finish line. Here I would hit something sharp in the road. Nail? Metal? Not sure, but it sliced open my Continental Race King 2.2 Protection tire very quickly. While I waited for the Stan's to seal the hole, it never did, as the hole was too big. I quickly popped in a tube....only to have Garth Prosser of Cannondale Fatory Racing come flying by me mid tire change. I just went from 5th to 6th in a matter of seconds.
By the time I changed the flat, it was too late to catch Garth. I pedaled across the finish line in 6th overall. I can pretty much say I left everything out there this year.
My bike post-race (number 100)
The event profile.
Things I need to work on after this event? The tech skills! With no singletrack open here in Colorado prior to the event, I saw myself all over the place on the trails in AR. The skills will come back soon....especially with these 70F+ and windy days were are having here at 5,300 ft right now.
My race nutrition was pretty straight forward. I went through 15 PowerGels (assort flavors), about 20 ELETE Tablytes, 3 bottles of PowerBar Endurance, and 2 bottles of plain water to wash down the gels.