100 mile mountain bike race. That sentence should be enough. It was also billed as a 100 mile inaugural mountain bike race with 18,000 feet of climbing in Telluride, Colorado.
Whew! Honestly, my wife Kristy stumbled across this race online. She signed me up, and yelled out to the garage, “Hey honey, just signed you up for a Hundo in Telluride, hope you’re fit”. “WTF, really? As long as you are OK with me thinking of you 60 miles in and thinking, “Kristy must want to kill me. I am in.”
We arrived in Telluride the day before the race, at about 3pm. Just enough time to go for a short ride and spin out the travel in the legs. We ran into Yuki Ikeda and Jeff Kerkove of Topeak-Ergon racing. They were prepping their bikes for tomorrows race. I asked if they had any course intel that they were willing to pass on. They were flying just as blindly as all of us (just stronger). Juki passed on that the 4wd traffic was pretty amazing up Black Bear Pass.
Race Start. 6am sharp, sortof… 605, and we were off! Mass start, neutral roll out through Telluride. We were instructed that once our escort vehicle left us, we were racing, and were allowed to sprint off the front. Escort vehicle left, and no one left. I think everyone was thinking 100 miles, uncharted territory, you go first, and sanity prevailed. Once we hit the initial climb up Black Bear Pass, that all changed. 360 watts was what I was showing as I was dropped from the lead group. Settle down, just 97.5 miles to go.
Black Bear Pass, then Ophir Pass, then Coonskin, then Last Dollar. If I go on about the exploits of each, you may get bored, and leave.
This race was about nutrition, hydration and elevation. The lowest altitude we were at was 8000′. The highest was 12500′. 12,5000 feet is HIGH! The rarified air makes everything a challenge, including feeding and hydrating yourself properly. Cognitive skills go out the window “The less oxygen you have, the stupider you become”.
Look Close … There is a Black Bear wondering what is in our Green Feed bags… (To the right of the tall building).
We crossed the 11,000′ elevation 4 times. That makes me, pretty stupid. We all know that, so let’s just go on from there.
Racing like this requires a team. From an athletes point of view, it is incredibly uplifting to roll in to a feed zone where your team is there with a presence! THANKS!
My personal finish was 17th overall, or 7th in my category. Yuki finished first, and was absolutely awesome!
CREDITS: Race promoter: Jennifer & Tobin Behling. They brought a small army of MTB passionate volunteers. They put on an amazing race, in what they bill as “The Most Beautiful Race on Earth”. We agree!