Monday, June 21, 2010

Test of Endurance 50

Todd's Report:

About 240 riders showed up for the Test of Endurance in Blodgett Oregon. It was warm and overcast to start and then misted and drizzled through out most of the day. The first climb had been gravelled recently so the start was 240 bikers struggling up a steep hill for 1/3 mile or so with big soft gravel, lots of gnashing of gears and cursing of falling over riders in there, but it packed down sort of for lap 2. Mostly up and up and up to the first aid station on roads with mild grades and the step grades here and there, though my judgement is clouded a bit and some might think those mild grades steep. The singletracks were wet and muddy and then a lot of really muddy spots. It seemed to take forever to get to Aid station 1 with 3000 feet of climbing, form Aid 1 to the start line then has a lot of downhill and an additional 1100 feet of climbing in it. The lap point was right at the bottom of the newly gravelled road so after that first 25 miles you got to jump right back on a tough 3000 foot climb. Some of the cross hilling and downhill sections of trail were really steep and dangerous and muddy and slimy, I ran some few hundred yards here and there. Saw heroic dudes endo down steep mud steps. The second lap I kept even with Henry till Aid station 3 where he got out a minute ahead of me to go as I relieved myself guzzling Heed and eating bananas. Then I just lost the power to climb out that last section and walked several of the steep hills.

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.


Henry's Report:

A few thoughts: Todd placed 123rd of 231 riders. Henry placed 117th out of 231 riders. If we raced in the Cat 2's, we'd have placed 7th and 5th of 25. Placing near the middle of this race on our first try was a solid show for GL 6. This race is one of the Norba Ultraendurance Nationals Qualifiers, so there were a lot of high quality racers there.

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!

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