I decided to take advantage of the generous offer from the promoters of a discount on this years entry after last years insane race. I of course was nervous and apprehensive as I think most were that attended the inaugural race. I thought, no way could that happen 2 years in a row. I signed up and hoped for the best. The few weeks leading up to the race I checked the weather, checked it again, then checked it again. Hoping for the best. It was looking iffy but, we were committed to going down. Hannah was pumped to finally get a vacation. She's 5, life is pretty stressful at 5 so she needed a break.
Friday's weather was great. Sunny, warm and in the 70's. Saturdays forecast looked to be pretty good until about 2 or 3. It looked like I might have a little rain towards the end or hopefully it holds off. Well, it held off. The weather was almost perfect. There was a little bit of a strong breeze on a few spots but for the most part it was great.
I started out pretty mellow. I felt good, never felt like I was going to hard. Finished the first section feeling good and moved on to Zen. Don't let that name fool you. Not much peaceful about this trail. Super technical, no rest on the ups or the downs. It tests you both physically and mentally. Slip up and you will be picking yourself up off the desert floor. Of course, there were a few sections I walked but I felt good about the trail and finished the first few sections faster than we had finished it the year previous by about 15 minutes. I was pretty happy to have Zen behind me. I rolled into the first aid station with Tyler Seamons, he was riding strong all day. He left the aid station a little in front of me and I didn't see him for a few hours. Banks and Tanner were behind but I figured they would catch up before long.
The climb out Stucki was decent. I paced it fairly slow up that climb and had some headwind, crosswind and tailwind. Tailwind was the best. I got to the top, stopped to stretch a bit and Tanner caught up. We started the decent together, I pulled away on the decent, finished the reaper lap, missed a turn and ran into Tyler who also missed the turn. We met up at the last aid station and Tanner caught back up. I scarfed a half a banana down and refilled some water and we headed off to the first of 2 laps on barrel roll. 2 laps was tough mentally. I felt like garbage on the first lap. Tyler dusted us on that first lap so me and Tanner kept each other company. Tanner was having an issue with his fork so, I lost him on the decent. The 2nd lap I felt much, much better. I felt as peppy as I could at that point. I didn't see Tanner again until the finish area. I finished the 2nd lap filled some water up and made my way towards the return wash. It took longer than I expected to get back into Green Valley, there was some headwind making my way back and I was tired and just wanted to finish. I made another wrong turn and had to backtrack just a bit. I felt like they could have used a few more trail markings but all in all it was pretty good.
I rolled into the finish area a little more than 6 1/2 hours. I was pretty happy. I didn't get sick, felt good for about 80% of the race. Rode strong, and finished with a smile. Lindy, Hannah and Lucy were all waiting for me at the finish. Great way to finish a good, long day on the bike. I will be back next year.
Tyler finished just before me, Tanner rolled in just after and Banks pulled the plug after Zen with some serious dizzy spells. Took him a few days to recover from some nasty illness. Don't worry Banks, I'm already in for next year.
Here are some photos I poached from the race.