I had scheduled a pretty significant break from racing the entire month of June, I love to race but sometimes you need a little break to get those competitive juices flowing again. The first race after my break was supposed to be the Tatanka 100 on July 7th, but for unspecified reasons that race was canceled. Looking around at what else was out there I really didn’t see much besides the Breckenridge 100, this race definitely holds a special place in my heart having done it 12 times I know whats in store with this race and it was looking like it would be lucky 13 for me. A couple weeks before the race they announced that the Breck 100 would be canceled as well, the winter was huge in Colorado this year and most of the course was still under snow so putting on the race would be impossible. Now I was scrambling and not really seeing anything longer than 50 miles in the Colorado region, then I got an e-mail from mudslinger events about the Oregon 12 & 24 race on July 13th in Bend OR. I have raced in Bend many times at the High Cascade 100 and I know the quality of riding there so I figured I’d give it a try, seeing how great of a job Mudslinger does with the High Cascade it was a no brainer.
The venue for anyone that’s familiar with Bend is about halfway between town and MT Bachelor at Wanoga snow park, situated at about 5000′ in elevation. The course is an 11 mile loop with just over 1000′ of climbing, consisting of about 80% single track and the rest double track and dirt road, the trails were mostly smooth and fast but there are some very challenging rock garden sections that I looked forward to trying to clean every lap. The course ended up being super fun! At first I was a little bummed that it wasn’t 100% single track but it really wasn’t that much road and the trail was super fun, pretty short up and down the whole way so it kept your interest the entire time.
It definitely can get very dry in this area and thankfully they had received some rain prior to the race. It was still pretty dusty, but the trail bed stays pretty good with all the large healthy trees in the area dropping pine needles into the trail making a big difference in ride quality. I recently noticed this because parts of Colorado that have a problem with dead lodgepole pine trees because of pine beetle and other unhealthy trees and have done a lot of clear cutting because there were so many dead trees. This has had a big impact on the trail making for dry ball bearing type conditions all the time because there’s no more forest to soften the trail year after year. Basically what I’m getting at is the riding in OR was dry but still really good!
For this race they start at 9am for the 12 & 24 so for the 12 you have to have lights after 7pm which is kind of a cool way to do it and the 9am start was seriously luxurious! Usually best case scenario is 7 but a lot of times its 6am or earlier, waking up at a normal hour was pretty nice. I’m not a big fan of the running start especially when it’s about a quarter mile, but it was kind of necessary with the race going straight into single track. I finished the run with about 4 guys in front of me and followed a couple 24 hour team guys for the first few miles, after I got warmed up a bit I went to the front on my own to put down a quicker pace.
My lap times were very consistent throughout the day with my fastest lap at 46 minutes and my slowest at 55 minutes. I felt great all day with a couple middle of the day laps were i was feeling the heat but for the most part I really was able to push hard with great energy the entire time. At first before the event I was thinking I was going for 12 laps but as the day progressed and I kept putting fast laps down and not really slowing I realized that it would definitely be 13 laps and possibly 14 if I had someone close behind me. I did end up doing 13 laps for 143 miles in just over 11 hours, I thought about doing 14 because I felt really good at that point but I had already had a great race and with a pretty big lead there was no reason for another lap, also with another hard race in two weeks at the Butte 100 It would be foolish to crush myself for no reason. I’m not a huge drinker but I definitely do enjoy a couple beers from time to time especially after racing all day it really is a great way to celebrate doing something hard but rewarding all day and it was nice to watch the 24 hour racers continue into the night.