Not even sure where to start with this one. It's a beast! This event is part of the ever-growing underground races starting to pop up around the USA. There are no entry fees, no course markings, and in most cases...no support. The Durango Dirty Century (DDC) fit well into the CTR prep for many reasons. First is was long and self-supported. Second, it was high altitude. Finally, it previewed the last 50 miles of the Colorado Trail Race (CTR). This race did have 3 aid stations, but the offerings were minimal. I made the choice from the start to ride self-supported all day....and I did, stopping to filter water twice.
Roughly 50 people showed up to ride various lengths of this 100 mile loop that started and finished in Durango. Starting at 6 AM, the group did a 10 mile roll out on pavement to Hermosa Creek Trail and began the roughly 40 mile push to the Colorado Trail and the higher elevations. I felt good...spinning light on the pedals....riding my 'ride all day' pace. A group of about 5 guys got in front of me on the opening climb, but I wasn't in any hurry, as we (racers) were anticipating a long day with lots of snow crossings and down trees.
It was good to follow the locals. Obviously, they knew these trail like the back of their hand. It showed on the Hermosa Creek Trail.
After riding on roughly 30 miles of singletrack, it was time to climb up to the Colorado Trail via Bolam Pass Rd. Steep in spots, I could not find a rhythm on this road. I was stuck in 1st gear....and this would be the case all day. On a scale of 1-10 on how my legs felt all day, I would give them a 5! It seemed to take forever to get to the pass. Eventually, I did hit the summit and make close contact with the 2 leaders of the 100 mile race.
Riding right at treeline with the 2 leaders pushing across a field of wildflowers. This is the closest I would get to them for the rest of the day.
For the next 6+ hours it was be slow going. It was a combo between sluggish legs and the slow terrain. There was still a lot of snow as well as down trees. Plus, throw in the steep terrain which is best walked rather then pedaled. Over the rest of the day, I spent a lot of time with some riders doing the optional shorter routes.
Sketchy snow banks. I slide down this on my ass....as did about 4 other guys when the snow gave out under the warm sun. I slid about 50 yards before my feet stopped me where the snow met the grass/rocks. I took this picture of a rider hoping to catch them possibly beginning to slide down the face.
About 60 miles in. Only 40 miles left.
A hard 40 miles it would be!
Rideable? Sure. Room for error? None. Better safe than sorry!
Can you spot the rider? This was a short welcomed area to actually pedal the bike prior to one last big push over the ridge.
About 25 miles out from the finish in Durango. Picture taken near Kennebec Pass. Pretty much all downhill, but not an easy descent by any means.
The last 30 miles or so were ridden with Ken Boyer, who was having a great day on the bike. I shadowed him for the final miles. We rode into the finish together to share 2nd place overall for those racing the 100 mile loop. It took us 13 hours!
GPS and HR data is located HERE on Strava.
All photos taken located HERE.
The day following the DDC would be a long drive to Breckenridge, CO for the Firecracker 50 which would happen on July 4th. How would the legs respond? Report coming!