Last Saturday, I raced the NWEpic 100 mile mountain bike course in the Capitol Forest. I had gotten a cold 3 weeks ago and so had not done any big rides since then. Just 6 days before the race, I finally felt well enough to go for a short mountain bike ride, and then did another 2 short and easy (<75% HRmax) rides leading up to the race. My lungs were clear, though, and my mind anxious to get on the bike for a big ride. My race goal was to make the time-cut offs and finish in less than ~13:30 hours. My usual average speed on long rides is 5 mph, so I’d really have to cut down on the fiddle farting and put my nose to the wheel.
With clouds covering the morning sun, the early start of 6:10 am was delayed by 10 minutes for it to get a bit brighter. I took it super easy out of the start line – and was absolutely last for the first 20 minutes. The adrenaline kicked in big time, and even a slight effort would raise my heart rate through the roof. So, I kept on spinning very easy and chatted with a couple nearby riders for a little while. About 45 min. in, my body began to feel more normal and I was anxious to get going a little faster. The layout of each 50 mile loop was a double figure-8, with aid stations at the intersections about every 10 miles. I had plenty of my homemade energy drink in my camelbak, this time with added corn syrup which seemed to agree with my stomach for the most part. After the first 50 mile loop, I took a 15 minute break and downed a Muscle Milk. But, I still felt tired, probably because I had only stopped for 6 minutes in total during the first 6 hours of the race.
It took about 3 hours into the 2nd loop before I started to feel reasonably fresh, again. I didn’t see any other riders going my direction that entire time – and it was a bit boring after 8, 9 hours on the bike. To entertain myself, I started to sing whatever came to my mind, and let out the occasional “yee-ha” if the trail demanded it. With 15 miles to go, I started to pass a few people who had gone too fast in the beginning. I felt pretty good crossing the finish line except for some GI bloating, and was very happy with my result of just over 12 hours.
The course organizers NWEpic and the volunteers did a great job – snacks and drinks were a-plenty and the course was very well marked. I especially liked the hand-drawn signs along the course announcing some particular section of trail or forest. Thank you!