I was going into my third 100 mile MTB race of the year a little nervous. I had a lingering saddle sore since the prior weekends race, the Laramie Enduro, and I didn’t feel recovered from the same race either. Also, on paper, the Pierre’s Hole says there is over 18000ft of climbing (4600 per lap). Regardless, I was looking forward to a road trip with some great guys, Jon Davis, Brandon Newcomer and Ernesto Marenchin. I have never been to the western slope of the Tetons, I was excited to be on new dirt and see new sites. It was very green all around the mountains, and the views of the Teton valley, and the Grand Tetons were awesome. The race is held around and on the Grand Targhee Ski Resort. There are only a few lifts, but the terrain looks excellent for novice and expert skiers. This is a place I plan to come back to in the Summer and Winter.
Race morning, I woke up at 4am for a 6:15 start. My legs still didn’t feel great. I told myself I would start off at a mild pace and see how I felt after the second lap. I was as ready as I could be, and regardless of the outcome, I was going to have fun.
At the start, I was lined up on the second row just behind the NUE racers, Josh Tostado, Jeff Schalk, Ernesto Marenchin, Cary Smith, Eddie O’Dea, and a number of locals that knew the trails really well. I knew the start would be fast and I reminded myself to stay calm and start slow. This strategry paid off in the end.
So after the word go, a big group started out fast and I hung back and I held my pace to the first descent, then to the first big climb. On each of the climbs I watched my HR very close and paid attention to how my legs were feeling. Three quarters through first lap, Jon and Brandon, who were doing the 50 miler gave me a hand up. They gave me some encouragement and said I was doing really well. But I didn’t know what that meant, so I kept cranking away. I did pass a few people on the first lap, so I knew I was doing ok.
Lap two was more of the same, just kept cranking way, enjoying the sweet single track and pass a couple of more people on the climbs.
Lap three was tough, it was getting hot, and the mid course climb was about to crack me. I got to the top and slowly pushed to our pit, which was right near aid #4. I was burning up from the heat, and I was shutting down fast. I decided to take some of the ice water from my cooler and dump it on my head and back. Grabbed my bottles and pedaled away. By the time I finished my third lap I was feeling much better, and the pain in my legs were gone.
Lap four I picked up the pace a bit but wasn’t sure how I would handle the mid course climb. I got to the road climb and passed another racer, then to the mid course climb, and passed a couple of other racers. Dumped more water on my head at aid stations, which REALLY helped me. I’ll be doing this more often, especially when the temps are above 70f. After the mid course climb I picked up the pace again and passed a couple of other guys in the single track. I finished in 9:24, fast enough for the belt buckle, and 1st place in the 40+ group. 11th Overall.
Total climbing was at 14600, not even close to the 18600ft advertised.