Sunday, April 27, 2014

RME Ridgeline Rampage by Kirk Groves (@LSVLKirk)

On April 19th I returned to do the Ridgeline Rampage for a second year. In 2014 there were 4 categories: 10 mi/half-XC, 20 mi XC, 30 mi half-marathon and 60 mi marathon. Last year I did the 20 mi/XC race. This year the categories has been reduce to three: 20 mi/appetizer, 30 mi/XC and 50 mi/marathon. I signed up for the XC again but this time it was 50% longer. I'll now admit I was concerned about the increased distance, I've done few training rides over 2 hours. The same 10 mile loop was used but it was run in the opposite direction. The surface was dry and the tight corners were a bit loose. I saw more than a few people with bloody knees. 


The start of the race was a cluster. They started all male racers between the ages of 19 and 49 at the same time. Their explanation was that there was a short paved section before a bike path and into the course. Not expecting the two large groups (30-39 & 40-49) to be combined I wasn't there early and fighting for a front row spot. I ended up 4 or 5 incredibly wide rows back. It wasn't easy to move up in the paved section and the bike path was a choke point. Unsurprisingly there was a crash that I had to ride around. I was a bit discouraged by how far back of the as front of the race I was by the time we reached the dirt. I made a couple passes and moved up to Brad's wheel. At the top of the longest climb he asked if I wanted around, errr no, I was well into the red. I stayed behind Brad for a couple minutes until he flatted - serious bummer!

Being a relatively long race for me I'd put some thought into my fueling and hydration. I had my pack on with a 50 oz bladder and a large bottle in a cage on my frame. I knew I could get a bottle of water at the start line as well. For food I had Cyndi's homemade energy bars, a gel, and a Clif Bar. My plan was to use the CamelBak first as I could drink without taking my hands off the handlebar for long. My plan was out the window when I first tried to take a drink from the CamelBak - even though the valve was open there was no fluid. I later learned the hosed wasn't completely clicked into the bladder. I was thinking, 'Great, I get to carry 3 lbs of dead weight all race.' It wasn't the end of the world, I could use my bottle until I could get a bottle from the pit.

The race itself was fairly nondescript, I felt good. I was closing and passing on the descents and flat sections and holding my own in the climbs. I was handling the bike well and had a dab or two but no major mishaps. I continued to pass far more frequently than I was passed.

In the second half of the final lap I started to feel the familiar twinges of cramps. Compounding my hydration mistake I'd eaten absolutely nothing on the bike. I eased off a smidgen and continued on. Fortunately I avoided muscle cramps and finished the race in 2:23:27. The moment I got off my bike my back let me know just how unhappy it was -- full-on spasms. I ended up 18th out of 76 in my age group and 32nd out of 275-ish overall.

I'm convinced I could have had a better result with a decent start and without the absolutely failed fueling. The good news is that they'll start the 30-39 and 40-49 age groups separate in subsequent races. I'll also get a callup based on my previous result. Rest assured I'll do a much better job with hydration and eating.


In comparing my speed to last year, I was 0.4 mph faster (11.5 vs 11.1) despite the distance being 50% longer distance. I had a blast! RME races aren't cheap but they're well put on. Next up is the Battle of the Bear in Lakewood.

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