First race of the year is in the books! Hit up the Julian Death March in Julian, CA as it fits nicely with my season goals. This is a smaller event with a big course. It is a 86 mile event with close to 13,000 ft of climbing. Consisting of mostly dirt roads, the race is fast from the gun.
We rolled out of town at 8 AM from 4,000 ft. Once the field got to the end of the neutral roll out, I went to the front to set tempo. I soon found myself pulling Sonya and about 7 other guys down the road to the desert floor. The race starts with 13 miles of downhill before making you grunt up a 3,000 ft climb over about 20 miles. It is here that myself and last years winner, Brent Prenzlow, found ourselves rolling away from the group. It wasn't long and Brent just rode away. I was here to ride hard...but going this hard too early into this 7 hr race would spell doom. So, I maintained my pace and kept Brent within sight.
Soon, I was joined by Bryan Taylor. We rode together for about 10 miles before he gaped me. I still kept my tempo pace and soon bridged back up to him. At the 1st aid station we were told Brent was about 4 minutes up the road.
We kept riding until the next big climb. It was here that I rode Bryan off my wheel while climbing....and with Brent within sight from time to time on the road zig-zag'n up the hill side.
Now riding solo, I pushed on following a single set of tire tracks. I would ride solo through some soft snow covered singletrack......double track....and the rocky Oriflame climb. The Oriflame climb for me was cleaned...but I was running low on power.
Heading into aid station 3 I was told I was 9 minuted behind Brent....and there was no sign of Bryan. I then began the climb up the Banner Toll Road. This was a singletrack climb...which then turned to a dirt road climb. It was here at about mile 60 that I realized I hadn't eaten enough food...as I was having too much fun riding earlier. I soon began to slow and was caught....passed.....and dropped by Byran. I was now in 3rd place.
I rolled into the Start/Finish to resupply and head out for the last 20 miles. I met Bryan on his way out. He wasn't that far ahead of me. I stopped at my drop bag and grabbed some PowerBar and Elete products.....then I began chase, while shoving food in my face. I went some 15 miles of riding solo before I caught Bryan at aid station 3. He was getting more food/water....I just blew by and began the long climb back to the starting line. Still not feeling super strong from my lack of calorie intake, Bryan soon caught and passed me. I would watch him ride away and finish 2 minutes in front of me.
Top 3 Men Overall - 86 Mile Race
1. Brent Prenzlow
2. Bryan Taylor
3. Jeff Kerkove
GPS file for the day.
Overall, I was happy with my race.....except for the minor nutrition hiccup which was 100% my fault. Next up is the Whiskey 50...which is a lower priority race.