Two things can happen when you're in a very long endurance race and your legs are telling you "not today"; A) You can accept that it just isn't going to be a "competitive day" and back off early so you can at least enjoy the ride B) You can bury yourself and have a miserable day. One way or another, you ain't landing a top spot. During the first lap, I wisely choose option 'A'. I may have got passed a lot, but I always had a good enough gap to enjoy the downhills. The True Grit has so many oh so good downhills too. Lots of fun was had the first lap.
All the pushing the pace on the uphills to get myself out of mountain bike race purgatory put me quite a bit over the edge. Luckily though, there is a long rolling section between the good trails in the True Grit 100. I was pretty gassed, so I very slowly pedaled through this section. When you're that gassed, that's when experience really comes in. I've done enough endurance races to know that when you feel like you can't go on, you still have more in you then what you think. It's a nice metaphor to life. You can't quit when the chips are down; that's when you just have to suffer through and believe it's going to get better. It did get better, and I was smiling again by the time I reached the last bit of singletrack goodness.
Any day you can complete 10k of climbing in 100 miles (85 miles technically on the Garmin) is a victory in my opinion. Having beers while chatting with new and old friends makes it even sweeter. I can officially check the whole True Grit 100 off my bucket list. After a couple weeks of training in Vegas/Phoenix, I'll be back in Colorado preparing for the Gunnision Growler. Come ride and be warm with me if you can!