Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2018 EnduraRace Dragon Slayer

TLDR: 3 laps. Start time 07:00. Finish time 5:15. Total time 10:15 (1 hour slower than last year). Single speed. 21st out of 41 3-lap Slayers. 138 folks finished at least one lap (holy crap!).

This year I rode my Vassago VerHauen with a 32x20. That gear is a bit short on the flats, but it's what I run for any tech. Lessons learned from SSing the GB, EB, CP, Thumper, etc. - walking technical is more demoralizing than spinning roadie sections is annoying. This years's race started off with a bit of banter; discussions of Make Out Point and how my absurd handlebar mustache does little to keep me warm but really gets other folks hot. The actual ride, however, devolved quickly into me figuring out that I'd be spending the next 10 hours off the back. Guys I usually ride with dropped me like a fat kid on a Huffy. I had zero power to put into the pedals, what the hell? That was about how the whole day went: the ride was hard (expected), the cramps weren't bad (unexpected), but the cold was rough. I dreaded the dam every lap b/c I'd end up shivering by the time I got off it. I'd get warmed back up in the rocks but the final 6 miles would chill me again. As far as the overall ride went, I wasn't standing on the gears on the climbs b/c that's how I threw my back out last year, so I did a fair bit of walking on the longer climbs. My pit stops were pretty quick, maybe 5 min each, mostly thanks to Infinit. If you're having issues with proper nutrition on long rides, check them out.

Let it be known now, I hate the cold. Anything under 50 degrees is usually a hard no-go for me. I certainly won't ride for training/fun and I tend to avoid winter races. However, the Dragon Slayer needed ridden, so I spent cash on a rather audacious Alarming Yellow Jacket and figured 'how bad could it be?'

Cold. It could be really damn cold. My core stayed pretty warm but my extremities were cold enough that my words weren't coming out right when I'd speak and I was having handling issues (lots of shoulder-checking trees).

Turns out, when I got home, I felt sick. Sore throat, etc. Initially, I figured it was just from huffing cold air for 10 hours but the wife took the kids to the doctor the next morning and turns out we have strep. So the chills I was experiencing had more to do with the fever and less than the temperature. It does kinda suck to know that, in the elastic of my shorts, I had 8 Advil and could have had a much different ride if I'd have realized that I had a low-grade fever. The next day I got a prescription for Penicillin, so in keeping with the ATX100k/EnduraRace theme of 'throwback to a better day' racing, I'll be dosing with an antibiotic that's been developing resistant strains since the 1920's! Fun.

On that note, it's really nice to see EnduraRace taking off. Not sure if you know, but back in 2011 (?) Todd posted to BikeMojo that he wanted to start a bike race series that wasn't geared towards cry-baby Stravatards, where all the B lines would be roped off, and where you'd be required to ride the gnarliest things we could find. Based on that premise, trying to take cross-country racing back to a proving ground for how good of an off-road rider you were and moving away from a test of roadie fitness, we created the ATX100k series. EnduraRace spawned from those early ATX100k races and learning experiences. We learned that folks don't want to know they'll finish; people want a real challenge. Riders seem to crave a setting where the risk is real and the outcome isn't predetermined. That you're going to get congratulated if you roll across the line, not just if you roll in top 3. The final ATX100k race that first year was held at Reveille Peak Ranch. 43 people started that race, only 3 finished. Coincidentally, one of the 3 finishers of that brutal race was the winner of this brutal race.
Johnny and the fam

Speaking of the devil, my boy Johnny 'Moto' Russell finished 2018's DS in 8:20 and had more than enough time to hang out with my family while they were waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for me to show up. Congrats man, awesome finish. Hopefully next year I'll be able to keep up a bit better :)

In all honesty, the 2018 Dragon Slayer was a rough time for me. After last year's Slayer, my back went out (pinched a nerve) leading to a pretty long recovery, physical therapy, etc. I'm basically 60 hours and 900 miles short on training this year. This year's triple really drove that home for me, with a bullet. Big plans for next year - stay healthy and ride my bike more.

Me with my rock & my kids with marshmallows.
Not sure who is happier ;)

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