|A lake, mountains, tents, friends, cars and plenty of fun.|
The Cranky Monkey course had a nice mix of everything, but it was primarily an 8 plus mile loop of single track that traveled around the lake in the middle of the park. There were some fast trails and some slower more technical trails mixed along with a few short sections of paved surfaces and some wider double track trails. About mid way through the loop, there were a couple of short steep climbs that led to a technical, but fast rocky descent. The course was pure fun and fast to ride at the beginning of the race when it was dry. About halfway through the race, the skies opened-up on the backside of the course, which made it slick and muddy. This definitely made the riding on the technical trails trickier and also slowed down the lap times significantly.
|I'm smiling at the start because I'll soon be riding for 8 plus hours.|
Like many mass-start, set-time races, the Cranky Monkey had a Le Mans style start that required all starting riders to run about 400 yards to their bikes. I’m not the best runner out there, but I do like how this method of starting separates the field before heading into the tight trails. I decided to save some energy during the run and not push myself too hard, so I managed to only be in the top 20 riders heading into the trail. I was fine with this and within a couple of miles I managed to work myself up to fourth overall. I knew everyone riding around me and they were all on multi-person teams instead of the solo race, so I just continued riding at a fast, but comfortable pace. The last thing I wanted to do was blow all my steam on the first few laps and not have anything left in the tank for later in the race.
|A glimpse of the mud on El Mariachi after 3 laps.|
|The SS podium...with the fastest 3 overall solo times, just saying.|