Thursday, June 26, 2014

Not really a race report - RME Indian Creek by Jon Maule (@jonmaule)

I can’t remember why I didn’t do this last year but I do remember Kirk saying something along the lines of this being somewhat of a bitch of a course. Looking at the Strava results, the endurance/marathon racers were clocking just a bit over 53 miles and just under 10k of climbing. If there was ever a race for me to come in DFL, this might be it.

Since I don’t really have my nutrition/hydration dialed in completely, coach urged me to do this and honestly it was a good idea. Get one hell of a workout, shake out some wrinkles in my “plan” and recover for the Silver Rush mid-July.

For this race, I changed my breakfast by skipping the oatmeal. I was thinking the oats may have contributed to the bloated feeling I’d been experiencing ~2hrs in. Instead I’d have 4 eggs and two GF waffles w/jam - ~650cal. Not quite as “filling” but I love me some eggs (with 505 medium green chili of course).

Also for this race, I’d skip the gels in favor of chews/blocks. The “science” behind this is better left to someone much smarter than me but the short version is that the concentration of sugars causes gastric distress and localized dehydration (at least that’s what I remember reading). Somehow the chews are better – read more on these two links and if you’re really curious, be sure to read the comments as Dr. Sims summarizes and clarifies the articles.

Because this is on community trails, the race is limited to 250 entrants across both xc and endurance. Also because of the climbing I knew I wouldn’t really be “racing” but surviving and getting a big training load. Last year’s AG winner took a little over 6hrs and I was shooting for 7hrs, secretly hoping for 6.5.

Things started off well (for me) as the ~1.5 mile neutral rollout thinned things out for the 1mile double track climb. The first 10 miles took roughly 55 minuts even with an OTB and got me thinking that 6.5 hrs might just be possible but that’s about where things slowed down (TP shows roughly 10% grade over the a 1.4 mile section). Lotsa pushing, get on, get off and push, get back on… Basically, the next 5 miles took about 55 minutes and the first mini-loop was complete in ~1:50. I’d been eating well and drinking to plan and so far so good to start the first of two big loops.

I’ve never ridden down by Roxbourough but once we finished the 5-600 ft climb out of the pit/finish area we had roughly 5.5 miles of downhill fun largely on singletrack. The upper portion being in nice lush forest

and eventually transitioning to the dry scrub oak and loose over hardpack that most of us Front Range people are familiar with.


So that part was pretty fun but all the moisture has made the vegetation thick enough that you couldn’t really tell how sharp of a turn was coming up. I ended up overbraking quite a few turns just to make sure I didn’t end up going over the edge.

For better or worse, what goes down must go back up. Kirk made a comment that resonated about climbing in “stale air”. I know the Garmin 500’s aren’t the most reliable thermometers but I show a 20 degree difference from basically the first lap to when I got to the bottom of Ringtail. It was now 84, sunny and there was no breeze for an 800ft 20-25 minute slog up some doubletrack. Holy cow had conditions changed. On the way up, we had to pull off to the side as Douglas County Search & Rescue were bringing a racer out on one of those boards they use to immobilize people. I remember Kirk saying something about that happening last year too.

Once atop the climb we joined back with the original route for a fun and moderately technical down. I glossed over this earlier but I guess this section is called “Powerline” as it parallels… …a powerline. This trail also features some pretty big berms presumably for diverting water off trail. With the slope roughly -5% you can get some serious speed and if you’re not paying attention, you could get some serious air. Partway down the trail I saw the bike belonging to the rescued racer and my guess is that he wasn’t paying attention – I didn’t see the fork/front wheel with the rest of the bike.
As I approached the section where I’d wrecked earlier, I made a careful line choice but in doing so I could hear the front tire complain as I changed lines. Just like the first time, my front slipped a bit and I ended up heading off-trail in the same damned place. I hopped back on got about 100ft and I heard the tire complain again and at that moment, I realized that I’d burped out some air prior to the crash and this time had just burped ALL of the air out. OTB again for the second time in about a minute.

I didn’t get my left foot out in time and ended up upside down and facing up trail. It took me a second to unclip and do the whole mental inventory thing. I pulled some vegetation out of my helmet, brushed a bunch of leaves and dirt off then set about checking the tire for damage/punctures (one big thorn/sliver) and decided to put in a tube just in case. Back on the trail, it took me about a minute to realize I didn’t have my sunglasses so I parked my bike and waddled back to both areas figuring bright red Oakley’s would be easy to spot but no dice. That sucks.

Prior to my flat, I had roughly 5 miles left on this lap and had been feeling good, as good as one could expect. But something wasn’t right and I spent the next ~ 1.5 hrs “turtling” and walking a section that should have taken a little less than an hour. I felt nauseous and numb. Was I bonking? I don’t think so. The only thing I could really think of was that I rung my bell during one of the OTBs – probably the flat as that was at a higher speed (although looking at TP, it seems reeeeeeeeallly slow). Anyhow, at that point all I could think about was getting to the pit and popping open my can of ginger ale. So that’s what I did. Slowly.

What went right

Breakfast - well, it’s kinda tough to say much about this since it’s kind of an incomplete but I didn’t have any GI issues so I’ll give at least one thumb up to the new breakfast.
Honey Stinger Chews/endurobite fueling strategery – same as above
New Shoes! – I received my new Kicks on Thursday, rode them on Friday and made the executive decision to race with them. I left my old trusty Northwaves in the pit should I need them but never did I have the slightest hint of pressure on the outside of my foot. That’s GREAT news.
Gearing – I changed back to my 36/22 chainrings for this climb fest and damn am I glad I did that.

What didn’t go right
Hydration pack – I did alright, drinking ~60 of the 80oz from the pack and ~1/2 of the water bottle I picked up at the mid-point aid station. They’re convenient but I can’t accurately gauge how much I’m drinking until after the race

Rear tire – The Geax AKA rolls very well and once you get the pressure dialed, it can do a pretty good job on most terrain. But… braking? Virtually nothing from this tire. Wrong tire for this course.

All said, even though I didn’t finish and this course doesn’t really suit me I want to come back next year. This is easily the best “course” of the Front Range RME events (Breck 32/68/100 excepted) with most of it being singletrack.


I love racing these events. They’re expensive, start early and some of the courses are a little boring but the racers are great. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked if everything was ok. Someone left me a tube just in case mine popped and I had multiple offers for co2 and food. People recognizing me and telling me to “channel the power of my beard”… just a good time.

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