12 Hours in the Wild West – 2016

by Josh Tostado on April 12, 2016

This was my second year racing the 12 Hours in the Wild West. For 2016 they moved the venue from Fort Stanton to Village of Ruidoso, NM. This brought it right outside of town to the purpose built trails of Grindstone lake trail system.

The staging camping area was just below the Grindstone Lake in a beautiful stand of pine trees protected from the wind that can whip up in the high desert of the southwest. The Salida Colorado IMBA crew built the Grindstone trail, which was the highlight of this race.

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The trail starts with a 4-mile climb that gradually works its way up 1000 feet to the top of a beautiful mesa. Once on the mesa, you snake through tall pines and challenging rock gardens and then descend on a fast and flowing roller coaster that brings you back to camp. The course is definitely a mountain biker’s course rewarding those with well rounded riding skills and it made for a really fun day of racing.

A day before the race, the weather report was calling for rain, but we avoided it all day, however, that night it rained pretty hard and I knew it was going to make for some interesting racing in the morning.

By morning the rain had stopped and a chilly fog hung in the air. When things got going the climb was slick but not to bad, the descent however was quite muddy, I ended up being the first rider down and did not have good tires for mud and my bike was getting caked with the top soil, this made for a pretty slow first lap and by the time I got to the bottom my bike was so packed with mud it came to a complete stop on the downhill and I had pull all the gunk buildup out of my drivetrain.

After the first couple laps the course started to dry out and buy the third lap it had turned to hero dirt, brown-pow! The riding was so good that you could hit the corners as fast as you dared to. It was great to have one big climb and then when you got to the top of that it was game on and the fun began.

I felt good throughout the day and stayed very consistent with my slowest laps being the first couple of muddy ones, I stayed right in the 1:05 per lap zone the entire race. I led through the day but wasn’t really sure of who or where my competition was so I pushed hard until the end finishing with 10 laps and an hour and 10 minutes to spare. I could have just squeezed in another lap but I had enough lead at that point to stop for a burger and beer.

This race turnout has grown from last year to this year and will grow even more next year, the riding is really spectacular, just super fun I can’t say enough good things about the Grindstone trail system and locals have put a lot of hard work into maintaining the trail.

I would say their biggest problem is there isn’t enough people riding here this race will help with that. I really enjoy racing in New Mexico, all of the people are incredibly friendly and the vibe is really laid-back and fun. The Zia Rides crew also does a great job of putting on races and I plan on hitting at least one more of their events and I will definitely be back to the 12 Hours in the Wild West next year!

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True Grit 100 – 2016

by Josh Tostado on March 16, 2016

True Grit 100 is one of the best 100 mile mountain bikes races in the country. It serves as the season opener for the NUE series and a great way for me to get an early season hard training ride and have a hell of a good time along the way. Getting back on the bike only 5 weeks before the race I always take the True Grit as training and not so much emphasis on placement but as any highly competitive athlete knows once the race starts you give it everything you’ve got and I’m always going for the win.

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All of the three years I’ve done this race its been great as far as the weather is concerned but this year was looking a little iffy. I was up a good part of the night listening to it rain rather hard right up to about an hour and a half before the start of the race, and just like magic the rain cleared out and it looked like things were good to go. The dirt ended up being perfect with all of the rain and it really made for a super fun day of bike racing.

A group of 6 quickly jumped out to an early lead consisting of Cary Smith, Taylor Lideen, Two very fast Costa Ricans, and myself. We all stayed together just about all the way through the first lap, when the Costa Ricans pulled away from the rest of us. At the end of lap one Taylor and Cary dropped me as I was hitting a little low point and couldn’t keep pace, into the second lap I gradually started to feel better and was able to push progressively harder all the way to the end. I end up in 5th place just making on to the podium and finished almost 9 minutes faster than last year. This gives me a great feeling for the season, as last year was one of the best I’ve ever had. Taylor caught the Costa Ricans who had flatted and gotten lost putting him on the top step for the win, huge congrats to Taylor for that because I know he has been putting in lots of hard work and he’s a hell of a great guy!

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All in all great start to the season in a beautiful place got to race and rally mountain bikes with some fast folks see all of my cycling family that I haven’t seen all winter and got to soak in the wonderful desert climate that St.George UT has to offer, you really couldn’t ask for a better time than that.

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24 Hour World Championships – 2015

October 8, 2015

I have been thinking about this race all season, worrying, planning, and worrying some more, only to lay in bed thinking about it. The thing about 24 hour racing is that it’s really, really, really hard! Especially when you get a bunch of crazy hammerheads from around the world in one place, things get really […]

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Vapor Trail 125 – 2015

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 […]

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Park City Point to Point – 2015

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 […]

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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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