This year they also included a 100 mile option (no thanks!), which included a lot of pro's from all over the country. I stuck with the 64 mile option (and they call it the short race?) This race probably doubled in size (entries) from last year, and had over 400 riders on the line for the 6:45am start. They started us in waves (fastest to slowest basically), with the Novice class starting last. The waves were only 1 min apart so it was enough to spread things out but short enough so you could actually catch the tail end of the previous wave if you pedaled real hard!
|Waiting for our wave to start|
My least favorite section was the 5 miles of perfectly flat rail trail between miles 16 and 21. Awful. To add to the misery was a section called the 'beach', a 1-2 mile section of loose sand that drained the energy out of your legs. To add to the joy, some clown drafted me the entire length of trail, staying right on my wheel all 5 miles. I switched sides, slowed, sped up, did everything but stop. Not once did he offer to pull. Whatever. Drafted the novice, must be proud.
|Somewhere between Hedgehog and the Powerlines|
|Near the top of the Powerline Climb|
The next 25+ miles were definitely the hardest, most challenging part of the course. This section was a grind with lots of climbs, lots of technical stuff, and generally fairly slow riding. It's hard on the bike and harder on the body. Aid station #4 was a long 15.46 mile ride from the previous aid station, and took nearly 2hrs to reach (41.32m 4hr 27min).
|2' deep puddle around mile 50|
I passed another rider in the last mile or so (even though I was trying not too). I was riding the climbs and he was walking them so it was hard to avoid. However, I really didn't want to pass anyone in the last mile of a nearly 8hr day so I told him I'd wait for him and he could finish first. He seemed generally grateful and honestly, it didn't really change anything. He was in a different class (starting before me) so technically I was still in front of him even though I was behind him (make sense?). It was all good at the end, and I finished right behind him.
For the second weekend in a row, I had to strip my bike down to its bones to clean the mud and dirt out of every nook and cranny. My clean bike is now hanging out in my shed, taking a break while I do a little running over the next few weeks. Reach the Beach is up next (Sept 14-15).