• 20m

Misc. strength

  • Yoga
  • 30m

We got home last night after driving all day. Getting caught up on inspires. Legs are really tight but otherwise feel pretty good.
Left Steamboat Springs at 3 a.m. and drove straight through to get home.
  • 9h 26m
  • 99.00 miles
  • 10.49 Mi/hr

Steamboat Gravel race. Amazing, tough and beautiful

99 miles
Race start was 6:35. Our condo was 3.5 miles from the starting line at 10th and Yampa, so Brenda, Steve and I left at 5:45 with the intention of riding up the Yampa River Trail and meeting Barb, who was staying at the Hampton up the road a bit. It was very dark and only 43 degrees (brrr), but the moon was nearly full and lit the path well.

Right outside town, two riders stopped us and said we would need to stay off the path, as there was a bear down near the river. Yikes! We all moved onto Lincoln Avenue, the main drag through town, and rode the shoulder to the race start.

Knowing that it would warm up as the day progressed, I opted to wear a throw away tee shirt over my jersey, along with arm warmers made from socks with the toes cut out. This served me well. Off we went, out of town at a fast clip with a police escort, in a large group. I hung back and let people pass me, not wanting to burn any matches early. The first big hill separated the group a bit. I rode mostly alone, which is how I like it. I don't like to have to make small talk and I can't hear squat anyway over the crunchy gravel.

The course went out into the ranch country with lots of rolling hills. At about mile 8 the hard packed dirt/gravel roads gave way to a softer, almost sandy footing that was tough to ride in. That's where the field really spread out as it was evident who had made a good tire choice and who should have gone with something different. I had Maxxis Ramblers, 40, which worked great in the soft stuff and held up well.

FIRST AID STATION - MILE 26 -- Had to pee and unfortunately there was a pretty long line for the port o potties. Men eventually moved out of line to go behind the portos, but it still took about 10 minutes to get through the line. They were serving pbj sandwiches. I took one for the road and headed out.

MILE 21 - FIRST BIG CLIMB. I had studied the course and knew there was a climb up a mountain between mile 21 and 39. Mostly it was about a 4% grade but there was a long stretch of close to 10% that climbed up to 8200 feet. The altitude didn't seem to be bothering me but I got off and walked some of the steeper stuff. It seemed like I was going up, up, up forever. At the top, the course wound around a beautiful lake and then emptied onto a two lane blacktop road with a long descent. There was too much traffic on this road and I was grateful for the wide shoulder. Saw an elk trot across the road about 1/4 mile ahead and then felt nervous about wildlife.

MILE 47 - SECOND AID STATION. They were out of pbj, so I ate an orange slice with peanut butter. Truth be told I was carrying enough GU to get through, but solid food is always so much better. Talked with the volunteers about the elk and how cool that was.

After this point ,the course went back on a busy two lane road for a while before cutting onto a rough gravel road. The wind had picked up and was really getting to be noticable. Made friends with a guy named John from Kansas City and we leapfrogged for several miles.

At the bottom of a long sketchy hill was a little pop up tent with two employees from Skratch labs who had set up a mini aid station. They had small cans of Coke, la Croix and Skratch hydration already mixed up. And ice. They had so much ice. I filled up my water bottles with La Croix and Skratch and took a can of Coke, which I carried in my jersey pocket. It acted like a mini ice pack on my back, which was getting tired.

The miles to the next aid station were through an interesting and remote area with steep walls and sandy, rocky terrain. After climbing for what seemed forever, the big downhill commenced. I was getting tired and was glad to have the downhill and probably took too many risks, considering the ground was really sketchy.

John from KC had been ahead of me but now I caught him and he was having calf cramps badly. Shared some electrolyte tabs with him and we came to the THIRD AID STATION at MILE 74. There was one sandwich left and an older gentleman had just picked it up. He must have seen how sad I looked because he tore it in half and gave me a piece. I love this about the gravel community -- there's so much sharing and watching out for others.

Had a couple of orange slices and some potato chips and then moved on. I didn't see John again but did learn later that he had finished.

4TH AID STATION - Mile 84. I was getting tired but knew that after this aid station there was a crazy fun technical downhill and then it was just 7 miles back to Steamboat Springs. Topped off my water and headed out, only to discover that there was yet another horrible climb. Lots of people walking with cramped legs. I walked a bit, tired of the steep inclines, and texted Steve that I was closing in on the finish. Eventually crested the hill and there before me stretched the Cow Creek Road descent, a thin ribbon of dusty rutted road that went down into a creek valley. Had an absolute blast on this, weaving through the little rocky areas and just floating over the technical stuff. My Niner handles more like a mtb and I feel this is where my bike shines.

Reached the finish line, accepted a cup of some type of chocolate milky recovery drink. A good day, would do this race again.

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  • 20.00 miles
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Group ride hosted by Chamois Buttr

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  • 36.00 miles
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Steve, Brenda, Barb and I rode the short course

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