A lot of top riders at the event and both the pro men and pro women broke the course records and I don't know how they did it in those marginal conditions.
A test of endurance and mental stability and biking stamina for sure.
Henry Gertje rode Cat 1 at 6:08:58 placing 12 of 14 in the cat 1 45-54, and 1 D
Todd Davison rode Single Speed at 6:13:37 placing 12 of 13 with 6 DNF
If either of us had rode cat 2 men 45-54 we would have been 7th and 8th out of about 25 and 10 DNF's so we racked up pretty good times for some older dudes with jobs.
The course is the same as the Mudslinger that is run a month or two earlier, but the Slinger is only one lap. I heard a few pros say that the course was in worse shape for the TOE. Slimey, with red stuff like Capitol Forest. My derailers and tires clogged up, so I had to pick mud, gravel and grass out. Each lap, there were sections I walked down, then up with feet slipping. It became worse as it went along. Greasy slots developed in the steep spots that sucked your tires in.
I saw several people fall down, so I rode the descents very conservatively. In spite of the 6 mile double track beginning the first lap, I found myself braking behind a host of people with better road climbing ability than single track skill. The toughest part of this ride was that the single track didn't allow the mid field riders to open up and flow. Full suspension and aggressive tires would have been an advantage. Almost as tough was that the climbs were numerous with little relief on the descents. Experience with this course makes a big difference.
It's interesting to note that the TOE is literally 1/2 of the Cascade Cream Puff 100. The CCP is in 3 weeks. The TOE is a prep ride. Hopefully the CCP singletrack will flow and it won't rain the whole time!