Carson, KC, Chris, Brad and I headed down to the first race of the Mountain States Cup in Fruita, CO. It started with a little disappointment. The cost to pre-register was $53 compared to $33 for the Intermountain Cup AND we got nothing! No shirt, No socks, No water bottle, No power bar! We've seen this a lot on our out of state races. I must say Ed runs one of the best and most affordable race series I've seen. (Note: I did feel much better after we found the Oskar blues beer van and found out they were handing out free beer. I took a couple to make things right)
The race organization was sub par as well. Due to a last minute course change made by the BLM the beginner and junior categories were made to do the course three times which took over 2.5 hours! What a way to introduce them to racing. They'll never want to ride again! So they realized their mistake and next made the sport categories only do two laps! Huh?
OK, enough complaining. Let's get on with the race report.
With all the above issues the expert/pro (now Cat1) categories didn't start until 11:30. Carson and I pulled up our camp chairs and relaxed watching the circus. By the time we started it was 70 degrees. I had a delemma. It was going to be a long 27 mile race and I only had one waterbottle cage and did not bring my camelback. One option was to carry an extra bottle in my back jersey pocket which is quite uncomfortable. Despite everyone telling me to do it anyway I decided chance it with one bottle.
The 40-49 group had about 15 of us in it. We headed of at a surprisingly easy pace along a dirt road for about 13 miles. Yes there was no single track at all for the first half of the race! It was a fast pace with plenty of room to pass and I found myself inching up and passing riders until I was near the front of the pack. I was VERY worried about this since my MO has been to go out too fast and then burn out at the end. But I found I wasn't breathing real hard and I felt I was on a pre-ride level of exhertion. So I continued on waiting for the rest of the pack to catch up any minute. The road section ended with a steep climb onto a mesa. I looked back and the pack was nowhere to be seen. The top of the mesa was all single track BUT it was really tough. It wasn't all that technical but it was either slickrock bumpy or with swells in the trail made by dirt bikes that never allowed me to get a rhthym going. It was a continual long grind, uncomfortable to sit but very tiring standing. still, I did pass several riders on this section but by this time had no clue which ones were in my category or even how many were up ahead of me. Finally, after a few harry decents we looped back to the road section breifly and then to a fun rolling single track section heading back to the finish. I was still feeling pretty good and would pass a rider or two. But as I was about 2 miles from the finish I felt like I bonked, I was daydreaming a lot and looking back even more knowing that the rest of the group including Bob S would be passing me any minute. It was here that I ran out of water, but that seemed just about right since I was so close to the finish. Somehow, I kept rolling with only two pro women that I passed a few miles earlier passing me before the finish. It felt like a good finish. I rode strong for most of the race and just about paced myself to get to the finish spent.
I got FOUTH! That was a lot better than I figured I'd get but I was only 23 seconds out of third! I think if I had been able to pre-ride the whole course and been more familiar with it I could have made up that much. Oh well, I'm happy with that result. (yet another complaint: They only gave prizes for the first three places. Not even ribbons like in the ICUP to 6th!)
So after a bit of rest and a couple of free beers, Carson and I felt that there was still a lot of time in the day and figured we'd pre-ride the course for the 18 hours of Fruita coming up in 2 weeks. That race is run by another organization so I figured it would be worth trying. The course is a VERY easy 6 miles around Highline Lake. It would be an excellent distance race for someone who hasn't done one. Chris and KC offered to race with us in a 4 person team. Who can turn down racing with the dynamic duo! (OH CRAP! I JUST CHECKED THE RACE SITE AND THE RACE IS FULL!) I guess we'll see you at 5 mile.
ARANTIX MILES: 2575!