Sunday, April 27, 2014

RME Ridgeline Rampage by Jon Maule (@JonMaule)

I missed last year’s race due to allergies and was REALLY close to pulling the plug this year but thankfully I started to feel dramatically better the day before.  This would be the first real race that I halfway cared about for 2014.  For better or worse, they shortened the race by one lap (~10 miles) and that was probably a good thing to allow the xc racers a better experience with less really tired marathon racer overlap.

This year I’m going to try a few new things:

  • Carbo-loading – I don’t have this exactly figured out just yet but you CAN (potentially) double the amount of muscle glycogen if you do this right  probably worthy of a separate post

  • Pre-race “hydration” – aka Sodium Bicarbonate aka Baking Powder

  • Nitrates – Beet Juice.  I bought a juicer last year and was initially against it as I was getting lots of calories but little satiation.  Thankfully I can drink beets rather than eat them

  • Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration mix ℗©™ and real food in a Revelate Design llc Mountain Feedbag℗©™

So that’s exciting right?  Of course it will be hard to tell IF any of this works but I’ll roll with it until something happens or I forget.  I’ll try to get into this in more detail on a separate post.


I woke up at 4am to get a quick shower and eat my new favorite pre-race meal – Biju’s Oatmeal℗©™ from the Feed Zone cookbook™©℗ (I don’t want to get sued).  I make a batch of this stuff the night before and just nuke.  Chased that down with just one shot of espresso as I didn’t want to fall off the caffeine cliff before the race.  Did a quick double check of my packing and hit the road for Castle Rock.  I’d been worried about the construction on 36 but the drive was uneventful and got there in plenty of time to setup my pit, down a bottle of Osmo Preload Hydration ℗©™ and make sure the bike was working before heading down to the start.

It was a PERFECT morning for racing being mid to upper 50’s and overcast with a light wind out of the Southwest.  It would pretty much stay like this up until the end when the sun poked through and it got really hot really quick.  The only times I’ve ridden down here I’ve been BEAT and with the stopping for hikers/bikers/horses my lap times were around 70 minutes.  Being sick for the previous two weeks, I thought an hour per lap was a reasonable goal but set 5:30 as a target and 5 as a stretch goal.  Knowing the first couple laps would be pretty congested, I opted to wear my pack but filled the bladder with about 60oz of Pineapple Skratch℗©™ and made a point to eat one of my chunks of ProBar℗©™ every 15min.  That combined with the drink and a shot of Apple Cinnamon Hammer Gel℗©™ would give me about 300 cal /hr.

This may come as a bit of a surprise but I’m not a natural climber so I started out towards the back of the pack which included age groups 6mos through 49yrs (seriously, there were close to 200 in our “wave”).  Anyhow, I forgot to tighten a strap on my feedbag℗©™ and essentially started my race DFL.  After about half a lap, things opened up enough that I could start picking my way through the crowds.  Shortly thereafter, the 50+ wave started coming through and save for one guy from Café Velo (not to name names) everyone was SUPER polite, encouraging and thankful while passing.  I found a few good wheels to follow for the better part of 2 laps from this group.

Was making pretty good progress following a guy from the Springs and noted that my laps were in the 55min territory.  That got me pretty excited but I didn’t think I could maintain that with 30 or so miles to go so I backed off and tried to eat/drink more on the 3rdlap where I would ditch my pack and go with the bottles from the pit.

Things were going great, I rode the climbs at a as conservative an effort as I could and rode tempo/ss on the flats picking people off one at a time.  Anyhow, I was consistently knocking out sub-55 min laps and thought I had a shot at finishing under 4.5hrs but every time I’d dig in I’d feel the threat of cramping coming on.  Hopefully you know that feeling as it’s hard to articulate but those last two laps were really damn hard.  I ended up riding the last lap with a really nice view J, finishing at 4:32:26 for 47th in my age group (out of 76 that were scored). Power file:

Lap 1 – 55:20

Lap 2 – 52:57

Lap 3 – 54:00

Lap 4 – 54:51

Lap 5 – 55:17


What did I learn?

  • I think things went well and I’ll try the same basic routine for my next race (May 3rd at Bear Creek)

  • I’ll try to hang out in the middle at the start.  I know I cost myself a few minutes on the first lap and possibly later on with all the extra effort expended while passing

  • I had a real hard time taking my damn pack off.  It felt like I was fumbling with the straps forever.  Bear Creek is a LOT less technical so I can undo that stuff before getting to the pit area.

  • I may increase my calories slightly.  Thinking I’ll shoot for 350 the first 2-3 laps and then just kinda see what happens

  • I think the hour difference between my goal and result was all because of my aero-helmet

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