This year my first race of the year had to be pushed back a week to the Gunnison Growler 64, originally I was scheduled to race Syllamos Revenge the week before but because of a cold I decided to skip my first race and go to the Growler and give myself some time to recover.
I have wanted to race the Growler for some time and now I had an excuse to do it. I always heard great things about the course and was excited to race. The early morning start of the race was quite cold but looked like it would be great weather for racing as the day went on. The race start was a very chilly roll out through town out to Hartman’s rock. As soon as we hit the dirt, a wall of a dirt road climb designed to spread the field out greeted us, I have always hated this part of racing and by the top I was fully pumped and not feeling good. I made it up the first climb with the lead pack which consisted of Alex Grant, Kalen Beisel, Brian Smith, Travis Scheefer and Ethan Passant, unfortunately I quickly fell to the back of this group and got passed by 3 more riders.
About an hour into the race I started to get my legs back and was reeling a few riders back in. By the end of the first lap I was back to 4th place behind Alex, Kalen, and Brian. On the second lap I was feeling good and was rolling along pretty well, I rode most of the second lap with Travis Scheefer and it was nice to have some company. I was pushing hard and feeling spent when with only a couple miles to the finish Travis made use of local knowledge and made a great pass in the single track, I tried hard to stay on his wheel but in the end, he had a little more left in the tank and edged me out for 4th place. All things considered I felt good coming off a cold and was just happy that I was able to put a good effort in on a really fun course.
If I can race this next year I will be back and I would recommend this race to anyone how likes super fun single track!