A benny of moving to a new place are new races to sample and I tried another new one a couple of weeks ago. Most of the Enduro takes place on national forest land between Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming. My seat of the bike shorts  assessment was, about 1/2 my riding time was on gravel roads and 1/2 my riding time was on single track. You climb 8,600 feet over it’s 70+ mile length. Most of the climbing is fairly gradual so I didn’t really notice it like you do at Leadville or the mother of them all, Forty in the Fort.LE

Here’s how the whole thing went down for me. Packet pick-up was Friday night only, in Laramie. Since the race started at 7 am on Saturday, it’s about the only way to do it but that means of course, you got to be in Laramie on Friday. I thought about camping by the start but ended up driving up and back on Friday. When I got to the race area on Saturday, I could see that lots of people had camped and it was easy to do so I’ll tuck that away for next year. The whole thing is really well run and not too big, about 500 riders I believe, so everything went really smoothly.

Pre-race info said there were 5 well-stocked aid stations on the course. None of them were more than 15 miles apart and the list of supplies at each one was impressive. I debated about ditching the Camelback and going bottles only but I still remember getting to an aid station in the Breck 100 after they had run out of water! I started with one bottle of Perpeteum, about 70 ounces of water, three gels and an emergency Cliff bar in my pack. Since Perpeteum was one of the supplies listed for each aid station, my plan was to drain the bottle between each one and use a few gels to supplement. The aid stations were great, plenty of everything on the list with a bunch of volunteers at each one helping you resupply. The only hitch, they had Perpeteum solids, not powder. I’d never used them before so my first attempt was to put four of them in a bottle of water and dissolve them. I don’t know what they’re held together with but they will not dissolve in water so I dumped that con-concoction out at aid station two and stuck four of solid tabs under the leg gripper of my shorts.

Since I’d never ridden any of the course I had no idea what to expect. July had also been a rough month for training miles so I felt my base wasn’t ideal. I decided to not push the pace, stop at all the aid stations and try to save something for the end. That strategy worked really well and by paying attention to my hydration and nutrition, I think I felt better at the end of this one than I ever had. It also meant I got to talk to more people and savor a few aid station treats like Oreo’s and Peanut M&M’s! Getting back to the Perpeteum. Solids are probably a pretty good idea except for one thing. Eating one is sort of like taking a bite of a piece of chalk. The lady at aid station two read from the bottle that you should eat one about every 15 minutes. I got through 3 of them before the next aid station and recharged my shorts with 3 more. Things were getting hot by this time and my sweat was mixing with the dust to add a nice coating to the outside of the tabs. I ate another 2 or 3 of them as the race progressed, not pleasant but Perpeteum was my primary fuel so you do what you have to do, right? The next one turned out to be my last one. I’ve never come that close to barfing in a race. I was wondering if I should stop and throw up or just turn my head and let if fly when the nausea passed. No more Perpeteum for me on this day.

The course was great. The first 50 miles were pretty easy and tame. That’s where most of the gravel roads were and the single track was all super rideable. DSC_8568_windy_windy_enduroThe climbing was long and gradual and I kept my pace right were I planned. My biggest surprise was how many wrecks there were. I saw a taco’d front wheel and several bloody bodies. I also heard crash stories at the aid stations and saw an emergency crew tending to a guy’s bloody face. I guess race fever got them and they over-cooked the very loose fast gravel corners on the early parts of the course. I think race director’s all get together to see how hard they can make the last part of the course. The longest climbs and most technical trail were in the last 10 miles of the race.AdamW2

The end of the race surprises you. You’re cranking through a single track section, turn a corner and bam, there’s the road again and it’s all down hill to the finish area. Valet bike parking, New Belgium beer and a great food selection are waiting for you at the end!

Definitely doing this one again next year!