After a strong three week training block, the True Grit 50 was meant to be a training race to finish off whatever I had left off in the tank. What I had left in tank was very little as I could tell right off the line. As the pack raced away from me, I settled into my own race against only myself. It's one thing to race at your prime after a good period of tapering off your hard efforts, and completely another when you're already beaten after a good hard training block. My goal was to push myself, but not to completely bury myself. After all, it's still early in my training up to my first "competitive" race in May.
Knowing that I wasn't going to be competing for a top spot, I decided to race on my Scott Genius 710 that I have set up for enduro. A short stem, long SMAC Innovations handlebar, and burly Maxxis HighRoller II 2.3 tires is an awesome setup, but not quite what one would consider ideal for fast paced endurance races. Still, it's my all mountain play bike that can do it all. Plus, the True Grit is known for being pretty techy.
Let me tell you, there were many times in the race I was very happy to have the six inches of travel. This was especially true on the first half of the race that had a lot of rough areas including the super techy Zen trail.
After tackling the techy first half, and dealing with a mechanical (rear derailluer bolt shock loss releasing the shift cable) it was onto more flat trails. Even the flat stuff the Genius was good to have since the trail had been ridden while wet and it was in need of some smoothing out.
The second half of the race we started out going east and seemed to just be flying along on the flowy singletrack. When we turned around and started going west we all found out why going east was so easy. Heavy, heavy, winds. Yay! I started out alone, but slowly pulled in the guy in front of me. I offered him a wheel to suck on in favor of the same after he caught his breath. I don't road race, but I know all too well the benefits of drafting and never to ride alone into a strong headwind. We took turns taking pulls as we slowly pulled in racers into our group. Some stuck with the pack, others pulled ahead or fall off.
We all eventually made it out of the bulk of the wind onto some more flowy singletrack, and then to the last techy section of the race, barrel roll. With a few more choice areas to have a full squish bike, and final long dirt road to the finish line I completed the race. I finished feeling pretty worked, but not completely wrecked. Mission accomplished!
St George has some great riding to be had, and the town was super friendly! Already thinking about returning next year. Great race!
I like to thank our sponsor CarboRocket for the great nutrition during the race with their Half Evil 333, and a complimentary Rehab recovery drink after the race. And more importantly, for taking down our popup tent before the wind destroyed it! Talk about a sponsor that has your back! Thanks guys!