This past weekend Jen and I headed over to Wausau Nine Mile Forest sans kids (yes, JUST us!) to the race festival that is Wausau24. They had 600+ total racers and probably 2-3x more of support staff and families...AWESOME! I hadn't been to Wausau since 2008 when we won the 4 man 24 team National Championship, so needless to say, I had fond memories of racing Nine Mile. I while I have done a bunch of team 24 hour racing in the past and have no desire to do that again anytime soon....those 3 am laps are NOT fun. What took me to Wausau is the fact that I am really enjoying the new challenge of longer races this year and the 6 hour race was another opportunity to ride for a long time with a number on.
The course was just as fun as I remembered - rocky, rooty, twisty, and rough with sections of ski trail thrown in for a little relief here and there. There were sections that I saw less than 25% of the people riding, so that is a good indicator of an awesome course (in my book!).
After a le mans style running start, I took off at only a moderately high pace for the first few minutes because it was COLD for July, it was a fast start on ski trail (making it colder), and it was a long race. That said, I made it a point to passed everyone before the singletrack and then picked up the pace a bit. I kept near an XC race pace going for about 90 minutes and ended up with the 2 fastest laps of the race. The next few hours I felt fine and consistent. After about 5 hours, I got passed by the team that won the 24 hour race (one of my goals was to lead the race for all 6 hours..bummer) so from there I just rode it out and took it pretty easy on the last lap finishing with 80 miles (8 laps) in 6 hours and 15 minutes. I won by 22 min, so all in all not bad. My legs never felt really good and snappy on Saturday, but I am confident that is because it never got above the mid 50s for temps (with drizzle no less). My legs simply don't like the cold when it comes to harder efforts.
I was pretty tired Sunday, but I am pretty sure that had more to do with the free Red Eye micro brewery beer at 11pm than the race;) Did I mention that Jen and I had fun?
While I missed Afton on Sunday, I can't say that I MISSED Afton! I have ridden enough laps there for several lifetimes=)
Finally on equipment: The Superfly100 still continues to impress me. It is the fastest most capable and comfortable bike I have ever ridden. Other than my legs, my body didn't hurt after the race and attribute some of that to the bike. Given the rocky course I did run the tubeless ready (TLR) version of the Bontrager XR1 tire. The TLR tires have about 100grams of extra sidewall and tread protection, which is worth it on rocky trails...especially long races on rocky trails. The only other thing to report is that I rode nearly the entire race with my stand-bys of Gu Roctane drink mix and gu packets. I say nearly because I did throw in 2 packs of peanut M&Ms to switch it up=)
Next up? Who knows...Murphy TT's, Buck Hills, White Tail, Man-Weekend at Kevin Ishaug's cabin...it is hard to tell at this point where I will be in the next week!
What I do know is that Maah Daah Hey 100 is in 3 weeks.