I was so psyched about riding the trails in Bend that I almost forgot about the 100 mile race I was there to do, but I didn't let the race keep me from also doing some good rides before and after the race. I was able to ride the Bend goodness for three days before the race, the day after the race, and of course, on the very well laid out High Cascades 100 course on race day. All the rides were pretty awesome and made my trip a great vacation break from work.
My race, however, could have gone a lot better. It wasn't awful, but I was certainly expecting to finish better than I did. I'm sure there are things I could have done to have a better race than I did, but I've got to say the competition was pretty quick and would have made this race difficult even if I did have better luck. If I could change one thing about the mid-summer riding in Bend, it would be the elimination of all the dust. It effects my vision, my breathing and makes riding a little tricky.
To avoid as much dust at the beginning of the race as possible, I took an early flyer on the paved road section before the beginning of the dusty trails. My attack to get away from the group occurred a little earlier than I had planned, but I don't think this effected my race much. Once I got away from the pack a couple of miles after the start, I rode for about seven miles alone before being caught by the fast leading group of six riders in the woods. I then rode with this group for a couple of miles, but found the dust being kicked up from the trail to be not very agreeable. Not only was it hard to see the trail in front of me, but it was also difficult for me to breath in the dusty air.
|Aid #4, only 28 miles to go!|
By checkpoint #5, at around 80 miles into the race, I had moved into sixth place overall. I was feeling good and didn't even stop at the checkpoint, so that I could hopefully maintain my position into the finish. Unfortunately, I crashed hard a short distance after the checkpoint on a loose sandy section of a downhill and fell back to ninth place. I lost a few minutes because of the crash, but also lost more time after getting back on my bike after the crash. My body was sore and I was having a difficult time trusting the soft, dusty trails I was riding, since putting too much trust and speed in them earlier is what had caused my crash.
|Finishing a little battered, but not broken!|
Before I end this post, I've got to say thanks to Mike Ripley and all the people that helped him put on such an incredible race. The aid station help was great and the whole racer experience was a good one. Next up for me is another one of my favorite NUE Races the Wilderness 101 coming up this weekend. I hope to see you there, my friends...
Happy Trails... Gerry