#5. October 1, 2011:
The Epic 50 by Pat Hurter
There are so many words in the dictionary that are foreign to me, but there are a few that I came to know very well during the epic 50 mountain bike race at Vail Lake. These words had more power and meaning than I could have previously imagined: Racing, Pain, Endurance, Intestinal Fortitude, Euphoria, and Comradery. The day started with Greg picking me up and loading a days worth of gear into the car. It was 6:40 and it was already warm and the air heavy with humidity, not what one hopes for just before an epic 50-mile race. The drive out to the course was filled with humor and good conversation. Once at Vail we found a good spot to park that would also act as a refueling station. As we parked we ran into Alex and his support group, his wife, Mark, Heggie and other family and friends. They had set up an easy-up right next to the course and invited us to join them. Greg and I registered; get our numbers, Tee’s and bag of bling and then set-up our refueling station next to Alex
Like ancient gladiators we began our sorted rituals for the task that lay ahead; 50 grueling miles in what was quickly becoming a hot day! Drinking water, peeing water, Endurolytes, trying to stretch out, drinking water, peeing water well, you get the jest. As the first call to line up came blaring from the speakers at 8:45, Greg put the finishing touch on his prep by buttering up. You think we didn’t share a good laugh on that one?? Lined up and the race (a competition of speed on a mountain bike on a fixed course) began. Greg and I rode together until the base of the damn climb and as expected Greg quickly pulled away not to be seen again for several hours. The Damn climb proved to be well, a bitch. At the chalk hill I decided to conserve energy and walk. That having been said I still made it to the top in my best time. Gesh, so much for going easy! Bombing down the ridge line was welcomed and allowed me to make some gains on those crazy folks with gears. There is a pot hole on the ridge that all but popped me off the bike. How do you spell white knuckles. The crackling sound that the carbon fiber fork and the cord in the tires make when full stressed is scary to say the very least!!
On the way to slingshot I lost my bottle of Perpetuem. Oh no, my fuel stores and hopefully the cramp stopper concoction that Tree Top Mike swears by was gone! I momentarily thought about stopping, but that idea was gone with a blink of an eye. I’ll get it on the back side. Slingshot is what it is and the turn from ridge line was less than stellar. A few hundred bikes later it was very loose and potentially trouble for the next trip around (note to self). At the bottom there was a supply station and after a very quick cup of Heed it was back up the wash in hot pursuit of Mike (another SS turning a 19 gear). We spent the next 15 or so miles chasing each other, I’d real him in on the uphill and down hill, and he would blast past me on the flats (I thought a 22 was a good idea). The outer loop next to Hwy 79 was uneventful and allowed me to catch my breath. The drop into the RC track was really getting chewed up and demanded that you pay attention. As I cruised up the light slope to the Tunnel of Love I was starting to drool, not because I was fatigued, but because I was ready to let it roll. Once on the Tunnel of Love it was like I had a super charger attached to my legs and I let it rip. Those Maxxis tires gripped and I was able to really carve the corners. I think that was my fastest run through that section since I have been riding Vail, yaaaaa!!!!! Past the messy abandoned paint ball shit hole and on to a reverse run of Bridges. As I hit the caulk hill that is known as Marine Corp Hill I was amazed to make it ¾ of the way up before HABing. Wow I was feeling good. Down the fence line to the go cart track and a quick last run down the pavement and back to the start/ finish. A brief stop and the fueling station allowed me to refill the Camelback, grab a few GU’s and power blocks, a couple hits on my back-up bottle of Perpetuem and off I went. As I was pulling of Alex’s wife mentioned that Greg was only a few minutes ahead. This was not great news as Greg is a much stronger rider than I. By this time the temperature had really become a factor and I was not looking forward to the water tower climb.
At the base of the water tower I again joined SS Mike for the brutal HAB/ride over to the east entry of the lake and the lolly pop loop that follows. The single track is treacherous dropping down to the east entry and with sweat in your eyes, the heat , and yes fatigue starting to take hold, this was a very challenging little stretch as you are navigating around small ruts that drive you directly into the coffin nail of ruts. Once at the aid station, and a cool refreshing cup of Heed, it was of on the gently slopping fire road to the fire gate and the a nice sweeping down hill that follows. One last small hill and it is a quick jaunt back to the aid station and the asphalt run back to the start /finish line. The rough asphalt turned to broken asphalt and dirt yet was a welcomed reprieve for the next few miles. A rigid bike transmits so much to your body that my neck, balls of my feet, back and shoulders were beginning to feel the affects of the first 23 miles. Only 27 miles to go, great!!! .Mike and I chatted and had a little pellaton with another rider trying to block the light head wind and take any advantage possible on the way to the start /finish. Mike mentioned that he was done after the first loop. I tired to cheer him on but he was resolute that he was done. The heat was really oppressive and the pavement and full exposure made it feel like it was 120 degrees, yuck!! While I felt badly for Mike, it provided me with a spark of energy and served notice to the little man in my head questioning my resolve to go on.
Back at the start/finish line I was startled to see Greg. The heat and humidity had not treated Greg well and he had the dreaded hot head, ohhh nooooo!! We both fueled up and began our trek to the damn climb. Already over 200 ounces of water had gone through my Camelpack plus any water/Heed picked-up along the way at the aid stations. It was clear the much more water would be necessary as the temperatures just continued to rise. On any other day this would have already equaled several pee stops, but not today!!! Greg and I cruised along the lake and I was actually able to appreciate the view while really wishing I was behind a boat cutting up the glass on my water ski! At the base of the Damn climb I finally had to take a quick pee break and up the hill I went. It wasn’t very long before my legs, and lungs said it might be a good idea to walk and so the drudgery of single speeding a 50 mile race reared its head. About at the chalk hill Greg said he had enough and was calling it quits. This was not good news on any level. Greg the punished calling it off??. Wow what a jolt to the confidence. Greg and I said our goodbyes and of I went. While I was not done I began to question my ability to finish. On the way to the summit a rider passed me and said “way to go Single Speeder”. I was stunned by how up lifting those simple words were. Thanks to the unknown rider!! The summit of the Damn climb was a welcomed sight but as I started down the hill my shoulders reminded me of how sore they were getting.
The second time around and that damn hole on the ridge line almost took me out again. So much for the note to self! Could this be fatigue setting in?? I picked up my bottle of Perpetual and as it would turn out that was a very good thing. Slingshot was a much slower go and the cramp demon started to raise his head. Oh shit please don’t let me lock up!!!! I cruised to the aid station at the bottom and again took on some Heed and cracked a couple Edurolytes and swallowed the powder that could have just as well been a dog turd. This is not a recommend tact unless you are really distressed or in pain (An unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury. 2. Suffering or distress). Back on the rig and a slow grind to the top. The outer loop by Hwy 79 was once again uneventful but the legs just kept barking at me. I was forced to bark back. At this point I was drinking so much water and Perpetuem that that my stomach started to bother me. Things were starting to look less and less optimistic. The light grade to the Tunnel of Love now felt like a 18% grade or the ride up to Palomar and my legs and I were playing a game of tug of war, cramp, stretch, no I’m not going to cramp, just to repeat the cycle over and over again. At this point I am totally questioning my endurance (The act, quality, or power of withstanding hardship or stress). Finally the decent and again that silly grin on my face. The fatigue in my shoulders was now quiet evident and the rocket like journey I had enjoyed the first time through was now a distant memory replaced with a subdued Sunday jaunt in the park. This is really a love/ hate sort of event! Another slight grade that felt like an epic climb to Bridges, a little more HAB at Marine Corp hill and back to the start/finish. Ah even the down hill was getting tough!
At the refuel station I was really questioning if I should keep going. I was spent, I was sore, my legs felt like Hearns after Hagler rocked him, and I just really questioned my ability, want , and desire to finish. Three quarters of the way through, could I really bail now?? Hot and wondering about whether I should continue Greg came up and said a couple other SS guys had dropped out and that Bling could be in my future. Boy did he know how to hit my hot button! I then thought of Mike Dunn and his incredible accomplishment finishing the Freedom 100 and suddenly there was piss and vinegar left in the tank. With a bottle of Perpetuem, some more snacks and another 100 ounces of water I was off. As I passed the race aid station a worker poured a cold glass of water down my back and it was refreshing for a fleeting moment.
The stretch of sand leading to the water tank through the oaks felt like interval training in a sand box and again I was thinking WTF??? As I approached the climb to the water tank two friendly faces Glen and Greg where there to cheer me on. Thanks guys.
The totally exposed trail leading to the east entrance to the park was hotter and even more treacherous the second time around. The wear and tear of the first 38 plus miles was extreme and definitely taking a toll on me both mentally and physically. Each HAB step now felt like I was pushing a 90 pound bag of cement and not a 21 pound race bike another WTF. I now had to compartmentalize every section of the trail. The top of every rise was a milestone that lead me to the next mini milestone just ahead. Finally the now totally treacherous down hill to the aid station. I ran into Mark another very strong rider that DNF’d and was waiting for his son another exceptional rider that appeared to be struggling. While I take no pleasure from others misfortune, these events gave me strength in a perverse way to carry on. So close yet so far away! Back on the lolly pop trail I had nothing left and every pedal stroke felt as though I had 100 pound weights tied to my feet. Did I mention that there was no comfortable place to be found on the bike. My feet hurt, my neck felt like my head had been used as a speed bag, If I stood up I started to cramp, if I sat in the seat I started to cramp, and my shoulders just ached, oh shit I am alone out here- hope Wile coyote likes dirty stinky, sweaty white guys LOL.
At this point every once of my intestinal fortitude ( means courage and endurance to go on) were being challenged. Up the hill to the fire gate and again I was compartmentalizing small milestones. What should have been a pleasant down hill turned into a challenge as the gas gauge was well into empty and the engine was sputtering.
Ah the final 2 mile push to the finish. Again I thought of Mike’s 100 mile accomplishment and that was just the spark I needed. The head wind/breeze felt like a gale force wind in the middle of the Bearing Straights but rubber legs and all I was almost there! Please don’t cramp, please!! As I crested the final small rise leading to the finish I was struck by a sense of euphoria (A feeling of great happiness or well-being). I thought of the racers glory run, yet there was absolutely nothing left in the tank so I rolled in like a tortoise running across the freeway!.
As I passed through the finish Greg and Glen were there to congratulate me on finishing the Epic 50. Finishing this race took everything that I had. It was not a simple feat, but the sense of pride and accomplishment in finishing can never be taken away. The comradery ( the spirit of friendship and community in a group) in this group is exceptional and allowed me to complete this great personal challenge.
Oh ya I got the bling 3rd place Thanks Greg!
Glen, a shaved ice never tasted soooo good!!! Thanks for that.
And to every racer that signed-up, regardless of how you finished, way to go!!!
For more info about the event and it's organizer: Socal Endurance
To See one lap (1/2) of the 50-mile course:
The Epic 50
#4. September 10, 2011:
The Freedom 50 and Never Forget 100 by Glen Kratz
OK I will go first on the adventures of my day....Going in I was confident that I could at least finish, since I did the pre ride a week and a half ago. I set my goals as 1. Finish! 2.finish under 7 hours total time and 3. finish under 6 hours ride time. I was getting worried about the weeks earlier heat wave, but mother nature came through and gave nearly picture perfect weather...overcast and in the 60s to start...There looked to be about 200 riders total.
The course was actually a little different then the pre-ride but I kinda knew that since the gps track was a little hard to follow. The 100 milers went first with a 5 minute head start...the course started through the gates the made an immediate left up a steep fireroad climb that was a hike-a-bike conga line...My plan was not to go out fast, ride my pace and see what happens..I was at the back of the line with Mike, Pat and Alex ahead of me but in site. The first down hill section was fast and I picked off quite a few of the slow descenders and a bunch of peeps with flat tires, I knew I was going to lose contact with Mike and Pat but was really surprised I was having a hard time keeping up with Alex.
The run out to the dam was real good, I was on schedule feeling good and was rolling along well along the lake and out towards the 15 and I had to make an urgent non-planed stop at a very nice and clean porta-potty...whew that felt good!. My plan was to stop at the 2nd aid station and meet my awesome wife as she had some cold gatorade and food if I needed it. I saw her and knew the guys were ahead of me, I did not feel like food so it was a quick gatorade, some advil for the back which was not co-operating and off I go towards the turn around point. On the back side of the driving range I am cruising and all of a sudden I hear clink clank from above and whack and golf ball flies down in front of my face missing me by about 1.5 feet..whew that was close! About half way to the turnaround I find Pat and Mike riding together looking fresh as Daisey's and out for a Sunday stroll, we exchanged a high five and I kept rolling. What I did not expect was that Alex was only about a mile behind them...damn am I really riding that slow today? Shit so I started to push the tempo since Alex was looking a little tired...Hit the turn around a short break to stretch the back and off I go. I probably pushed a little too hard on the flat trying to catch Alex which caused my back to tighten up a little more...I ended up taking a couple breaks than planned to stretch the back out I hit the 40 mile aid station, and I actually was ahead of where I thought I would be time wise but the increased pace took its toll as I was tired and had to take a longer than planned break for some food intake, man those orange slices were the bomb! Off I went for the last 10 very hard miles... I made it up the switch backs and hit Artesian rd. There was a cop there and during the turn a had a bad shift and dropped the chain...while I was getting that sorted the cop asks me if I needed a ride back since he could call someone...Are freeking kidding me? I replied F**** NO.... I don't think he liked it but oh well I was in no mood...The last climbs were brutally slow for me I did not have much left in the tank but I was not giving up...I finally hit the power line rd and find Mike heading out for his 50 +++++, we stopped and chatted for a minute, he told me Alex had just finished...so crap know I had to make sure I beat my personal goals..Man that last climb was tough, I reached my ride time goal right at the top of the climb, so now I had to make sure I finished under 7 hours...I hit the finish line and Ya-hoo!...the timer girl writes down 7:01.. ..damn...well At least I finished...I then was told they only had one time clock so take minutes off that for the actual time since the 100 milers went 5 minutes early...SO I did beat the ride time!. They were right there to cut off your plate and brand it 50 mile finisher!..man did burning leather smell good! In all I was happy to finish, find out I was faster than a few others in my class and placed third, and meet my under 7 hour ride time...I hooked up with Pat, Alex and his gang, enjoyed the BBQ sandwich, assorted cold drinks and enjoy the view.
In all a great day of riding and even better to do it with some good riding friends...met some new peeps and the icing on the cake was watching Mike roll in after his 100 miles!
For more info about the events organizer: Racers and Chasers
To See the 50-mile course:
The Freedom 50 and Never Forget 100
#3. June 4th, 2011:
The 12 hours of Temecula #2, 2011 by Mike Dunn
..The biggest goat turn-out yet! I was excited not only because it was race-day for me, but also because we had 4,4-man teams racing, ..and that meant the most goats yet to share in our 12-hour experience. The 12 hours of Temecula had become a really cool tradition for our club, and was perhaps our home-court race, if there was such a thing.
As usual, Pat and Cheri would have their trailer on site, with Pat fashioning up his world-famous race-day pancakes @ 7am sharp. This time, the "compound" would be complete too, because Matt and Keri had snagged the adjacent site so parking and general loitering space was going to be plentiful. The weatherman was on our side with perfect weather conditions as well. It was going to be nice to hang out for the raffle and podium afterwards in conditions warmer than 30'ish degrees... ..not that im complaining.
I was running first postition for my team this race. It was my turn to do so, and Glen had actually run a pretty fast lap for our team when he ran first in January, so i was optomistic. Well, in order to keep my snivelling to a minimum, I'll just say i wasnt so lucky. I got clogged in the bottle-neck after marine corps and walked.. ..and snivelled, ..and crashed into a stopped bike.. ..and snivelled. I did ok on my second and third laps though, so i felt somewhat redeemed. My teammates Pat, Carl, and Glen rode very well and we managed to knock out 12 laps in 11:33. We got a second in our class, and once again, im pretty proud of how our team did.
...In fact, every racing Goat team medalled. Our other 4-man 180+ team got a 4th, ..our 4-man, SS'ers got a second, and the 4-man open team scored 5th out of 23. 16 racers, 16 medals.. ..A team cant complain about that. Rick Vanderlinden and Keven Busher lead our fastest lap times with 44:19 and 44:44 respectively. ..."Goats at Light speed"!! After a few races you start to realize what a huge margin one minute is in this event. To look at times at 44 min.+ is just awe-inspiring. Nice job goats!!
We did have a scare early in the day. SS'er Chris Brisson took an OTB header speeding down a descent on boomerang. He busted his helmet and had some issues with dizziness and balance so our local EMT Rick Wessels suggested a trip to the doc to make sure nothing was wrong. Wisely airing on the side of caution, Chris agreed and I took him to Inland Valley. Thankfully all is well, and Chris is fine.
I want to thank everyone again for all that they contributed to the race. Matt and Keri, and Pat and Cheri for the gracious accommodations and food. ..Greg, Jack, and everyone else that brought goat grub, Holly for sponsoring the event, and all of the racing goats that made this the best 12-hour yet.
More information about "The 12 hours of Temecula": 12hrs of Temecula #2
To see the Race course: The Race Route
#2. May 14th, 2011:
The Traverse by Matt Crowther
The day started early. I had to be at Blackstar at 6 am to pick up my starting packet and jersey, so I was up at 3am and left my house at 4, ugh! When I arrived at the start line, the Warrior Society folks were well organized and a very nice group of people. They checked me in and handed me my number plate and swag. Once I had my Jersey in hand, I thought, hmmm, do I really need to do this?..:). At that point I started to see a few familiar faces, Frank (Grinding), Mark, and Hal. I also met Marks son who was also doing the race, and waved at Tinker, who was pitted two cars down from me.
The Warrior Society peeps started calling us all to the start line at about 6:50, gave us a quick course overview and at 7am sharp, we were off. The weather was perfect, a gray overcast day with really mild temps. The conga line of around 125 riders spread out fairly quickly, and the route up Black Star was mellow with no real nasty climbing that I recall. We entered the clouds at Beeks Place at 1:03, then began the long grind down the Main Divide, traversing Pleasants, Bedford, Bald, and Modjeska Peaks. This section of the race included some of the more significant climbs of the day, a few of which turned into grinding hike-a-bikes. I don't remember exactly when I exited the top of the clouds, but remember the views were incredible, and wishing I'd brought my camera.
Four corners was a really welcome sight, making the 22 miles and 6000 feet of climb in around 3:20 (50 minutes ahead of the 4:00 cutoff). The Warriors society folks were great, cheering and guiding me in the direction of the food and water. I refilled my bottles, tossed down some nutes, and was back on my way, heading for Santiago Peak. This is where the pain started to set in. As I was nearing the peak, I could feel my legs start to deaden, and I had to make a couple short stops on my way up. The feeling when I rounded the last corner on Santiago Peak, at apx 28 miles and 7000+ feet of climb at 4:24, was arguably the best feeling I had during the entire race.Now, barring a crash on the descent to Lower Holy Jim, I would make the last cutoff with plenty of time to spare, leaving the only thing keeping me from finishing, was me.
The descent down Main Divide to the Lower Holy Jim checkpoint was tiring. It was steep in sections, covered with small pebbles and lot's of baby heads, one false move and you could end eating dirt. Once past the LHJ cutoff at around 4:35 (55 minutes ahead of the cutoff time) it was on to the dreaded Wall. I made it up the first half of the Wall with a combo of riding and hiking, then it became just hike-a-bike, with a nice serving of wobbly legs and pain. Then I was at the top with another feeling of elation and a small boost in energy. I was basically done with the climbing, with only 600 to 700 feet remaining, although it felt more like a couple thousand while doing it.
When I rounded the last corner of Main Divide to Trabuco Trail (36 miles at 5:48) I caught up with Hal again at the last aid station. We had seen each other throughout the day and he'd been giving me the lay of the land out on the course. Since this was my first time on the Trabuco single track descent, I thought it was a good Idea to follow someone who was familiar. This was the funnest part of the whole ride, sailing down 6 miles of some beautiful single track that winds through some heavily wooded areas, some sections covered in loose shale, a few stream crossings, and then finally dumping out onto Trabuco Road for the last few miles to the finish. I followed Hal across the finish line at apx 6:41, we were stoked! We shook hands, congratulated each other, then rode over to festivities area and was greeted with more cheers and some free El Pollo Loco.
What a day, This was a butt kicker, but I had a great time. I would do it again in a heartbeat . My goal next year, a sub 6 hour finish.
#1. May 1st, 2011:
..So here it is, ...aaand it aint pretty!
....THE first official Blaaaaaaag entry.
(.....LMAO! ...sorry Glen )
..Ive always seen blogs as kind of a self-serving, pretentious way of presenting your opinion as "important" by merely putting it on the screen. That's exactly what this is!..LOL.
What will make this a cool feature is member contributions. Write it, provide some pics to back up the event, and tell the story the way YOU see it. The "event" doesnt necessarily have to be a race, ..it could be a ride report, ..a mtb'ing trip somewhere out of reach, or even a little smack-talk about something you feel strongly about. This should be every members opportunity to contribute their opinion in any way they see fit.
We'll keep 5-10 of these on the page at a time, ..and as they're retired they will be stored in an archive so that they can always be viewed and remembered. Feel free to include links, or any other online resources to substantiate your bs.. ..er.. story as well, if you like.
BlaaAAAAAaag away goats!
© Mike Dunn/MVMG 2011. All rights reserved.