Everyone had talked about the expected summertime temps. for race day on Saturday-mid 80's and there seemed to be concern about hydration and what not. I kept thinking bring it, because I like warm way better than cold. Of course though being that we had to get up at 5 AM and were starting down by the river the morning was cool for sure. Everyone got up, drove to the WWC ate, got dressed and rolled up to the start. The announcer really didn't give a pre-race pep talk as much as he just called the pros and other heavy-hitters to the front of the pack. The start went off smooth and immediately was fast up the highway. This is when one gear and a slight uphill are both good because there is only so fast one can go. Up into the first singletrack of Brush Creek and the natural train formed-not at the super stupid fast front but with people that were moving efficiently and knew how to ride. Loop around, back to WWC up on more trail, did my favorite-River View-even though we went the wrong direction, and up to the 1st rest stop around 18 miles in. Quick water and snack and back rolling and thus the gravel/dirt road extravaganza began.
Rode through beautiful canopy, down, up creek crossing more up, then down and eventually started what seemed to be the first decent length, but gradual climb. Looked around since I was with a group and realized the pro women had caught me and so I thought that I would ride with them for awhile as they surely would be keeping a great pace. This worked for awhile until we did some descending and the road went flat and they did the big-ring, group roadie thing and were out of sight pretty quick. Hooked up with another SS guy who was from Birmingham and we chatted as we rode because the terrain was easy spinning at this point-pedal, coast, pedal, coast then the first real climb of the day came. A few miles into this one my rear tire felt soft and I began thinking, stupid new wheels, stupid tubeless but I remembered that air could get "burped" out so I stopped, hit some CO2 and kept rolling. Seemed to work as I had someone at the next rest stop (#2) check it with a floor pump and it was holding. Another quick stop and quickly resumed pedaling. A few miles later though a weird thing started happening-my legs were feeling really tired. Not a good sign being 40 miles into 100 and knowing there was alot of climbing left on the course. Just went into conservation mode for awhile and hoped checkpoint 3 which was about the halfway point would come soon and then if I could get to the big, long downhill from around 60 to 75 miles that would give lots of recovery time.
#3 came and I started hitting the HEED drink and that seemed to help my legs to come back around. Big downhill finally came and I caught a couple of people which always makes you feel good. I told one guy, that these were the "free" miles-no need for much braking!! And despite a few small uphills this downhill went on forever and for a dirt road was pretty damn fun.
I'll finish later, gots to go work on bikes..........