|A gorgeous full moon all night.|
|Climbed this...and then some.|
After the descent, I stopped at aid station 2 and who's making pancakes and sausages for us in a raccoon hat? Dave Wiens! How in the hell can you not be inspired upon seeing him? I scarfed some tasty pancakes, sausage, red bull, Heed...you name it. I took off with a fresh set of race legs and began the multi-mile dirt road ascent and dropped some more riders while riding into the thin air. I'm not sure if it was the sleep deprivation or the strong current of prerace anxiety, but there's a lot I don't remember. I think my focus was right on and therefore glued to the trail and nothing else for nearly the entire race. Next thing I remember is the Monarch Pass feed station where the best volunteers in the universe were waiting and cheering me on. It was the feed station of a lifetime, you don't get many like this. The volunteers were so fantastic that it was like my bike had it's own pit stop and so did I. While my bike was getting the ten point inspection, I was catered to by hosts of a dinner party with massive amounts of food and greetings. They told me I had 45 miles left, what I was heard was that this race is nearly over. Heidi and the other supporters gave me some kudos, my bike, and even more inspiration to go race my bike. I ripped out of the feed station and did my best to race the next 45 miles like it was a cross country race.
I then arrived at the next feed station to descend and ascend the dreaded starvation loop. It was a fantastic singletrack descent but every foot you descended, you know you need to climb back up which was a tough pill to swallow 100 something miles into the race. When you reached the bottom, you were to climb a five mile constantly pitched dirt road that never seemed to end. It was as if you were on a treadmill and I couldn't help but think that making us race this was so wrong in so many ways, but necessary. Hell, I'll do that loop three times if they'd take the hike-a-bike out of the equation. From then on it was the "it's all downhill from here" quote that you get nearing the end of races when instead you have dozens of punchy climbs left. I never take that phrase seriously! From then on, it was Rainbow Trail which rips like Lair O' the Bear but for miles and miles of tasty thin singletrack! After being dumped onto the road in Salida, I tucked on the descent and time trailed the way to the finish line.
When I finished, it was strange. I didn't feel like the race should be over. I had the same feeling at the PCP2P just last week. I'm not sure how much longer I could've gone at that pace but I wanted to know. Nothing truly hurt, I was simply fatigued. My nutrition was spot on and didn't have a single muscle cramp. I guess I'll find out at the 24 Hour Nationals in over two weeks from now just how long I can go. I'm not going to lie, I'm drooling at the freaking mouth for this one and plan on turning myself inside out for 24 hours. For now, supposedly I'm to take it easy until then and not ride much, which is when I suffer most.
After the race, I was fortunate enough to stay at Michael and Lacey Scott's place. I owe a huge thank you! I got to spend some time after the race in Salida with Michael, Lacey, Curt Wilhelm, and Jonathan Davis which was a great wind down in a gorgeous town. We all had great rides, including Jonathan who smashed the record and crossed the line in 13 hours, 42 minutes! I'm very fortunate to have had the go big or go home attitude lately or I would have never pulled this off. Next year, I plan on having the same month of September, PCP2P, then the Vapor Trail 125, but next time I'll be ready!
Mountain Flyer Magazine write up
Vapor Trail 125 Video
Monday, September 26th Amendment: Still reflecting of the affect this race had on me. I look back at the destruction that Granite Peak inflicted upon me. I now believe that I was cursing this mountain so much not because I wanted to quit but because I knew I wouldn't let myself quit. It just wasn't an option and frankly, after being forced to quit the 12 Hours of Snowmass one year ago, it's not a place I ever want to return to. It's the worst feeling I've ever experienced related to cycling. That feeling slingshot me through the winter for anticipation of redemption. There's just nothing so disheartening to lie in your hotel while the race races on. As much pain you induce during a race, there's much more pain involved when you quit.
See you out there,