Wow, what a great race! Here is a quick recap:
- I finished in 6 Hours, 49 minutes and placed 9th in the men’s 30-39 class. I missed my personal goal of 6:45:00 by four minutes but I took 20 minutes off of last year’s time.
- Michelle finished her first Enduro in 8 hours, 55 minutes and looked great at the finish line. I think she might be hooked now.
- I rode with some great people during the race and met, and hung out with, more great people before and after the race.
- In my opinion, the Laramie Enduro just gets better each year. The organization, the volunteers, and atmosphere were great.
- I absolutely suck for not getting any pre or post-race pics
Before I jump into my race recap, let me just say that my wife Michelle rocked it in Laramie. Her first attempt at a solo endurance race was in August, 2006 at the 50-mile version of the E100 and it ended in a big disappointment. She didn’t make the cutoff time for the last stage and was pulled from the race. This time it was personal. She has been training hard for two months and to see it pay off was awesome. Now she is planning to go back to the E100 50-mile this August and kick that race right square in the crotch! Right on!
My almost-perfect race
My day started off great as we arrived early and parked right next to Ed, whom I had hoped to meet in person somewhere along the course of the day anyway. Perfect!
As I began to warm up and figure out my layering for the damp conditions I realized that we hadn’t signed in yet. Crap! This race requires that you sign in the morning of the race so that they know whether to go looking for your carcass later on. It was 6:39AM and the line to sign in was about 20 minutes long. I barely got through the line in time but was now stuck in the back 1/3rd of the Sport group staging to start. This meant I was going to going to have to burn a couple of matches very early to pass most of these folks and get into the opening singletrack before the mob. I did and it hurt…a few matches burned. Side note; every race should start with AC/DC blaring at 7AM!
My plan this year was to go out harder than I normally do in a long race and see if I could sustain a slightly higher pace throughout. Last year I held back a bit and had a lot left for the big climb at the end, which felt good at the time but probably didn’t translate into the fastest possible race.
The shock of the initial 15 minute effort subsided and I settled into my newly formulated race pace. The pace felt good and I was riding among a good group of guys who seemed fast and able to maintain this pace. The early miles at Laramie fly by because a lot of them are spent in the big ring…yeah baby! Water, Perpetuem, Endurolytes, more water, repeat…I was totally focused on the process and not the result and the miles were flying by.
Somewhere after Aid #3 I recognized the female rider ahead, Sarah Konrad, as the women I rode a lot of the race with last year. She had started 5 minutes ahead of me with the pros this year and was looking strong. We ended up riding most of the race together again this year which was great. She is a super-fast descender and I was a little faster on the steep climbs so we pulled each other along in places.
As I rolled into Aid #4, my second and last planned stop, I hit the lap button on my Polar so that I could compare my splits later on. Through Aid #4, I was 19 minutes faster this year. However, in the final 2+ hours of riding I would only be able to shave another minute from last year’s final split time.
The final 7 miles of this race hurt and I know this. I plan for this section and look forward to delivering a fatal mental blow to my competition as I ride by them while they push their bikes up the Headquarters climb. This was my plan anyway. During the hour prior to the final climb my tummy was a little gurgley so I stopped taking in calories and just sipped water. The climb is littered with roots and rocks and step-ups and you have to have you’re “A” game to ride it all. I was rockin’ the lower 1/3rd of it when the ferocious bonk hit. It was as if I had never ridden a bike. I would look at a rock that I wanted to avoid and proceed to run right into it and fall over. My legs were willing but the brain was mush. After about the 3rd mishap I took a huge hit of Espresso Hammer Gel and had a stern talk with myself. Meanwhile, three riders passed me and I was pissed. The gel kicked in fast and by the time we hit the rolling singletrack at the top I was looking to pass. My little calorie miscalculation probably only cost me 5 minutes overall but knowing better and not executing bugs me.
I missed my personal goal of 6:45:00 by about four minutes so I thought about my two main mistakes; not signing in earlier which cost me a good warm-up and a decent start position, and my little bonk at the end. Overall I had a great race and a wonderful weekend in Laramie.
Big congrats on great races to:
Rick & Joanne L.
Kris from Jackson