Vapor Trail 125 – 2015

by Josh Tostado on September 28, 2015

The Vapor Trail 125 is a one of a kind mountain bike race! It is 125 miles with 19,000 feet of climbing on some of the most fun and burly trails you could find in Colorado. Oh yeah, did I mention it starts at 10pm? I don’t know why more races don’t take place at night, it’s so fun. Riding at night just adds an element of adventure, it feels like you’re getting away with something…

With the elevation profile alone, this race should scare the crap out of you! Add to that the fact that it sends you way out in the backcountry, if something happens, you are on your own. I love this element of the race and I really don’t stress about it like I do with other races.

This year’s race was looking to be a great one with perfect weather and warm temps. There were about 70 people in this year’s race and we all rolled out of Salida in a neutral start. The pack stayed together for about the first 30 minutes until we crossed Highway 285. Then it was game on! The start was not as fast as some years and that was fine with me. I got to the front and settled in to a pace I felt comfortable with.

When we got up to the Colorado trail there was one guy about 30 seconds back and the trail was dry and loose definitely a bit sketchy. I remember telling myself “take it easy, it’s a long race”. I had already almost slid off the trail several times, then about 2 hours into the race I was ripping down part of the trail and all of a sudden my bike just goes out from under me. So I’m flying through the air, having enough time to think to myself that this is going to hurt and it did! I landed directly on my hip and ribs in a bunch of rocks. At first I thought my hip was broken and I just laid there for several minutes waiting to see if I could move. By the time I started to get up, Chris Alstrin came up to me and stopped to see if I was ok. I didn’t know at that point but I told him to go ahead and I would make it at least to the first aid station.

I got on the bike and started to pedal It was painful but I thought I could ride it out. Adding insult to injury my front light mount was broken, so I had to use my helmet mount light to get down the rest of the trail to the aid station.

Luckily when I got to the aid they were able to zip tie my light back on and I decided to push on, this section of the race is where you are out in no-mans-land and once you’re in you’re committed to go the distance.

It’s a good 2 hour climb up to the first of several hike-a-bike sections I was feeling ok on the dirt road but when I started hiking I was second-guessing my decision to continue. I was having a hard time getting on and off the bike and now my ribs were really hurting. By the second and longer hike-a-bike I was not in good shape but the only option at this point was to go forward. After nearly an hour hike, you get up to the top of Canyon Creek trail. Usually this is my favorite part of the race: high alpine gnarly riding that leads into berms and whoops and it goes on for about an hour. This turned out to be hell, I couldn’t even balance and kept riding off the trail, which in spots could have been very bad. I was moving slow in this section and it was very painful, I suspected I had some broken ribs and by the bottom I decided to pull the plug.

I always try to finish races no matter what, but this time I probably should have stopped much earlier. Stubbornness is usually a good thing in endurance races, but this time it got the better of me. Continuing was not the best decision I have ever made, but no one has ever accused me of being smart. Nonetheless, I will be back to do this race next year because it is so fun and embodies everything I love about mountain biking. Of course, now I need redemption for myself…


Park City Point to Point – 2015

by Josh Tostado on September 21, 2015

The Park City Point to Point another must do event!

This race is a great example of what I’m looking for in an endurance race with great riding, the trail system in Park City and the surrounding area is stellar. There’s tons of climbing, and you know what that means what goes up must come down. Super fun descending, screaming fast, tight and technical, and great flowy trails are what you will find in this race. The amount of single track is second to none, it’s a 78 mile race and probably 77 of that is trail. Last but not least there cash pay out is the best in the country for this distance, they pay 5 deep and even in 5th your still making more than most other races pay for 1st place.

The race starts out down below Park City in a trail network called Round Valley. Right from the start and into the single track I was in the top 5, right where I wanted to be. Unfortunately, I dropped my chain, which was the first time this has happened all season. I jumped out of the human snake and throw the chain back on and after 10 seconds I back to around 15th place.

By the time we get out of Round Valley and started working our way to PC, I had worked my way back to top 5 and the players were getting sorted out, Rob Squire jumps out front and starts hammering never to be seen again. This left Nathan Miller, Drew Free, Sam Sweetser, Justin Lindine, and myself to battle it out. Nate, Drew and I fall into a group and worked our way through the web of trail network from Deer valley to PC. Justin joins us briefly then slowly pulls away, we are all content to stay together, its nice to have a group of guys to rally with especially when the riding is so fun.

josh tostado pcpp descent

In the middle of the race there’s an enduro segment and so I hit the gas to go for a good time. I hit it pretty hard but a couple blown corners and my chances of winning the enduro were pretty slim. I did succeed in dropping my group and if nothing else, they had to work hard to catch back up. Drew and another guy pull me back after 15 or so minutes but Nate drops off the pace we continue like this until the final decent back down to PC.

Drew and myself are rallying down when he blows a corner and I get by, at the bottom I have about 30 seconds on him and just ahead by 30 seconds I see Justin. This is the start of the last long climb from PC to the Canyons and the finish. I gave it all I had to stay ahead of Drew, but he gets back up to me anyway. When we get close to the canyons the weather starts to turn and we start to get pounded with rain and hail. This made things interesting and very cold. By the time we hit the final decent our hands are numb and the trail is very slick and to make things even more interesting Sam is on us making it a 3-man race for 3rd place.

We stayed together until the last mile where it’s a decent to the finish. I’m sensing a battle royal but as soon as we make the turn to go down my chain drops again and I’m forced to stop and fix it. It was a very anticlimactic way to end the race, but I end up in 5th, 20 seconds back from 3rd and Justin was only 1 minute up from that.

It turned out to be a very close race and super fun I would have loved to sprint it out to the finish but that’s racing you have to just roll with the punches. The PCPP is a must do race, this is what mountain biking is all about, they have the race dialed, I will be back again for this great event!


Pierre’s Hole 100 – 2015

September 7, 2015

The Pierre’s Hole 100 takes place at Grand Targhee Ski Area in Alta Wyoming. This is definitely one of the most scenic backdrops in the country to have a bike race! Along with natural beauty, the vibe at Targhee is very laid back, perfect place for a bike race. They have been putting some serious […]

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Big Bear Grizzly 100 – 2015

August 7, 2015

This was my first time coming to Big Bear, let alone racing here, I had no idea what to expect. The riding turned out to be super fun, they seem to have a great cycling community in Big Bear and the trails reflected that. The start of the race was pretty quick but within my […]

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High Cascade 100 – 2015

August 7, 2015

It had been a couple years sense I raced in Bend OR at the High Cascade 100. This year I decided to make a big trip of it and head down the coast to race the Big Bear Grizzly the following weekend. The High Cascade is one of the best 100 mile mountain bike races […]

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The Baily Hundo – 2015

June 26, 2015

A new addition to the NUE series for 2015 is the Bailey Hundo. Being just a little over an hour from my house, I thought I give this race a try. The Bailey Hundo is a fundraiser for the trails in Bailey and for the high school cycling league in Colorado so the race is […]

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Mohican 100 – 2015

June 6, 2015

It has been several years since I’ve raced the Mohican 100 in Ohio, mostly because it’s so far and there’s more racing closer to home for me. The Mohican is one of the largest 100 mile races in the country with 600 racers entered and with stiff competition, it presents a very challenging race. The […]

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12 Hours in the Wild West – 2015

April 13, 2015

One of my priorities this season is to check out some new races, so for April I decided on the 12 Hours in the Wild West in Ruidoso NM, put on by Zia rides. I kind of had a picture in my head of how the both riding and the town would be. I was […]

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True Grit – 2015

March 23, 2015

The True Grit 100 has become one of my favorite races of the season. Even though it’s still the middle of winter at home and I usually only have a month of riding in at this point in the season. I really enjoy the location vibe and terrain of this race and it’s a great […]

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Vapor Trail – 2014

September 15, 2014

The Vapor Trail 125, what a great race, 125 miles of some of the best riding in Colorado, 20,000 feet of climbing and all at night! What’s not to love? The weather in Colorado this year has been pretty iffy so I was a little nervous about getting worked over by rain and or snow […]

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