|TR and my Salsa Selma Ti 29er SS. Race prep going on.|
|The view from where we were parked in Crested Butte. Perfect weather.|
The Crested Butte 100 kicked off just a bit after 7am on Saturday morning. Temperatures were in the low 30's and it was a cold roll out to Strand. The hands were cold but I knew the climbs would start soon and the body would warm up. This year we navigated the three loops in reverse order from last year. First on tap was Strand Trail to Deer Creek and back to town via Gothic Road. This loop took me about 3 hours and Deer Creek is never easy no matter if you have fresh legs or not. That is my opinion. I was feeling the affects of the Vapor Trail two weeks earlier and knew I was in for a long day. My goal was to cut some time off from last year or come close to the same time.
I rolled into town going back to my van parked at the gas station parking lot which had me backtracking a bit as the order of loops was not in my favor where I had parked the van. IT worked well last year in how the loops were laid out. Oh well it wasn't that big of a deal. I refueled and headed back to the Brick Oven where we needed to check in before each loop. I headed out to the Slate De Juez road climb that would bring us to the 403 Trail. It seemed like I walked much more than normal and the 32x21 gearing wasn't helping much. Shawn Gregory was up front smashing it on a 3x20 setup. I knew it was going to be a long day.
The downhill on the 403 was steep and loose. What a fun downhill. Roots and rocks abound. Once down the 403 the route takes a left and heads up to Schofield Pass where we take a right on the 401 trail. The first mile or so it uphill and I walked/rode when needed. The downhill on the 401 is worth the ride up the pass. This year they added the lower 401 which has a nice climb in it before dumping us back on the Gothic Road. I cursed a bunch while in the lower 401. Damn hills. I passed some people while on the 401 and was passed as well by the people with gears. At times during the ride thus far I was leap frogging with the same people. I saw Jefe off and on and while I was on the pavement heading into town he caught me. I said to him something in the affect of "fucking gears". He laughed and said he was done. He complemented me on how I was smashing it. I didn't feel like I was smashing it but rather I was getting smashed. It was nearing 3pm and I felt good about having another sub 11 hour ride. I wasn't going to win but I was doing my own ride. I had seen a few single speeders who had passed me in the first section of this loop and I had caught back up to them. One on the 403 where Butch had smashed his chain ring and looked to be done for the day. Another one was Dan who was crushing it earlier and looked as though now he was being crushed. I had seen Steve Reiter headed down from Schofield saying he was done and was heading back to town to call it a day. That put me in third seat in the single speeder category according to my calculations. Not a bad day so far. Keep it going.
I pulled up to the van and saw that TR's bike was next to his van and knew he wasn't having a great day. I had last seen TR on the final climb up to Strand and never saw him again. I had heard there was a mechanical from other riders. Bummer! It was 3pm and I tried to talk to him and get my food shoved down the hatch and refill for the third and final lap which was the easiest and about 25 miles in length but I knew it would be hard. TR said he was done and had called it a day after coming down the 403 and rode up the road to Schofield about a mile and a half. He still had 61 miles in. Not a bad day. To not finish sucks but sometimes it doesn't happen. Dan Holmes was having a great day and was right behind me coming into the van nation parking area.
I knew if I had a three hour loop I would have my sub 11 hour day. I checked in at the Brick Oven and headed out up the road which leads to Kebler Pass. We take a left before the pass going up to the old town of Irwin and Irwin Lake. We jump on the Dyke trail which is about 6 miles and has some up and downs in it which would hurt. I felt good going in to it and had to walk less than I was anticipating. I leaped frog with a guy from Junction named Dustin. He was on a 29er full squish bike that looked fun. After picking our way through the Dyke section there was the climb up to Kebler and over to Wagon Wheel that parallels the highway back to town and the finish. I had though earlier in the ride where was Jason Stubbe with the cold Cokes like last year where I saw him three times with Cokes. And out of the blue there was Jason and his family with cold Cokes on the climb to Kebler. Fuck-n-a!!!!!! What a trail angel!!! Thanks for the Coke Jason as I was needing it. I downed the Coke and kept pedaling slowly up to the pass. I wasn't fast but had dropped the geared dude from Junction. I got up and over the pass and headed onto the Wagon Wheel trail that follows the highway for a few miles before jumping onto the road and a two mile finish into town. I finished around 5.50pm putting me faster than last year and under my 11 hour goal. I think I was around 10 hours and 40 minutes or so. Hell yeah.
Garmin stats: Riding time (moving time) 10 hours 5 minutes. 95.2 miles. 12, 360 feet of climbing. Average heart rate was 141. Gearing 32x21 on the 29er Salsa Selma Ti SS. 3rd single speeder.
The after party was fun and I chatted with new and old friends at the Brick Oven.