The venue is located in Cortez, Colorado, about 45 minutes south of Durango, in the beautiful desert southwest. Here the weather can be very fickle… In years past racers have had to deal with rain and snow and bike crushing mud this year the weather was perfect with temps in the mid 70s and nothing but sunny sky’s for the competitors.
I have been putting lots of mileage in preparation for this race and ultimately 24 hour solo world championships in Italy, so I was feeling strong and ready for a long day ahead. Lately I have been editing a short video of the course so people can get an idea of what exactly the racing was like but for some reason I neglected to bring my chest mount and ended up with no video of the really fun course we got to ride for 12 hours.
The leman’s style start is definitely not my favorite thing in the world, take a bunch of mountain bikers and make them sprint a quarter mile in carbon race shoes before they have to ride there bikes for 12 hours is not typically how I like to start a bike race but oh well, on with tradition. The start is always very fast and I sprinted up to the front of the pack to stay out of the bottleneck into the single track.
I jumped in with some team guys and ticked a quick 1:15 lap to start things off. You don’t really realize how many miles you can ride on a mountain bike until you’re involved in a race like this were your picking up food and supplies every hour and a half or so. Not that they’re any easier to do but you can stay really light on the bike and rack up the mileage. And rack up the miles is what I did all day long, 145 miles to be exact in 11 hours 29 minutes. I had a number of laps in my head 8 being the magic number and I thought if I got 8 laps in around 11 hours then there would be a good chance to win and if someone did it faster then they would deserve the win.
I received notice early on that second place was only 3 minutes behind so I upped the pace as much as I could and kept it going the entire day and even feeling good enough at the end to throw some sprinting into the finish. I was really happy that I had to push hard as this is prep for 24 hour worlds so it was great to get a good solid effort in before I have to do likely twice as much mileage in Italy.