Monday, June 18, 2012

Bailey Hundo: Race Report

Saturday morning at 4:30 a.m. Bailey was freezing cold, as predicted. Arm and knee warmers in the middle of June... brrrr!  The shot gun (that's right, the race is started by a shot gun... gotta love Colorado!) went off promptly at 6 a.m. and we were off!  The first couple of miles were all dirt road climbs which made it nice to thin out everyone before hitting the singletrack. The course was designed very well in the fact that most of the climbing for the first half of the race was on doubletrack, and the rest was on some truly sweet singletrack!  I decided early on to back off from race pace so I wouldn't burn myself out too early. I'm glad I did because there was some really breath-taking views to be enjoyed, and some amazing trail to be ridden. By the end of 60 miles of twisty singletrack and descending, my index fingers were sore from all the braking (yeah, I do that 'braking' thing from time to time), and my triceps were burning. I've never been happier to ride my mountain bike on asphalt. After a 'break' on a good stretch of asphalt, we hit a looonnnngggg dirt road climb back to the top of the  mountain. You may think to yourself, "Dirt road? sounds easy!", but this was not the case. The road was steep, full of loose rock, and really choppy (kinda like the speed strips on the side of the interstate that when you hit them make your whole car vibrate in order to wake up swerving motorists who fall asleep at the wheel... except bigger). My legs were just screaming at this point. Once again, really glad I backed off during the first half of the race. The whole climb my legs were on the verge of cramping, but miraculously I never hit that point. After the first stage of the climb, we hit a false summit and got a break with some fast dirt road descending. In this race, there are two big water crosses. The first water crossing is the worst of the two and made the second one just a good way to rinse off the muck from the first. During the first, I was riding with a guy that I had been chatting with since the asphalt road. He warned me to stay left and just plow through it. Glad I did because about three-fourths through the crossing it was deep!  Seriously, it was up to my top tube. Oh, and did I mention the water was brown from all the cow pies dropped in it?  Yum!  Cow poo water!  Now somewhere between the last big climb and the last few miles my legs suddenly came back to life. This was probably because an afternoon thunderstorm was brewing above head and my legs didn't want to be out there any more than I did. On the last summit where the last aid station was, the storm finally let loose and it started hailing. I stopped under the aid station E-Z Up and threw on my rain jacket for last bit of the race which was muddy dirt road descents and short climbs that I was able to stand on to really plow through to the end. Hail turned to rain as I descended to lower elevation. Visibility was pretty low since my glasses were caked with mud and thus became a splash guard sitting at the bottom of my nose so I could see between the top frame of the glasses and my helmet. I really had to get on the brakes early to wipe off the water and mud before they even were semi-functional. I have to say, even with the terrible conditions I was smiling like a mad man flying down these steep dirt roads. I made one last standing climb to a short doubletrack section that desceded to the finish. Sprinting to the end, I crossed the finish line at 7:56:45.08. My goal was to do it in eight hours so I was pretty happy with the results. First thing I did was to make a stop at the beer tent for some delicious micro-brew. Not sure what it was, but it a fruity summer beer of some sort and it tasted absolutely amazing!  Have to say, best race I've done so far. What an awesome race!

So clean... that didn't last!

The only way I could see for the last few miles!