Midwest events for *2024*

Love the Lumberjack. Was registered, but had a family event pop up and had to let it go. This would have probably been my 6th or 7th time. Good luck, hope to be there next year.

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Lumberjack first timer here. Hoping for sub 10 hrs and go from there. I’ve done a few gravel 100 milers but never anything this ambitious. Mostly looking to have fun and cross the finish line. I can’t fathom going sub 8 hrs and just blame my weight :slight_smile: Fortunate enough to ride The Big M a fair amount so comfortable with the course. I’m holding you to those free watts for being a YouTube subscriber. Good luck!

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lol, thanks! Good luck to you as well. My advice is pace the first lap conservatively and keep your aid stops quick. You don’t have to move fast, just keep moving.

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Looks like you had some good results at Epic Bike Fest.

I’d say one good, one less good. Here’s a brief weekend recap:

Epic Bike Fest 2024 - Singletrack Full
Parcours: 38+ miles of nearly 100% WI singletrack. The trail was just about perfect, very tacky
Conditions: mid-50s at the start, somewhat high humidity
Report:
I started in the 3-3.5 hr corral. The first 2 miles are straight up some of the largest hills in the race, so of course I went way too hard, setting all-time 2- and 3-minute power records. It’s partially a testament to my current fitness, but also my poor pacing strategy. Since the course is singletrack, though, getting out in front of less skilled riders is important, so in that respect, my start was a success. We started catching the tail of the elite women and I was able to recover somewhat until there were passing opportunities. I normalized 115% for the first 10 minutes, and in hindsight, that was an obvious mistake.
I felt strong through about halfway, normalizing 88% and avg HR 86% of max for the first half. Shortly after halfway, though, I felt twinges of legs cramps which would only continue to get worse and worse until they were some of the worst cramps I’ve had in my racing life. I ended up limping along for much of the last 8 miles, dropping 20+ places as a result. I’m sure much of it was overexertion/pacing, but I also struggle in humidity and I definitely screwed up my nutrition. My gut soured with 40 minutes left, so I was happy just to finish without injury. There was also a huge hill near the end that was definitely not on the website’s race profile, so that was tough.
Finish: P56 overall, P12 in 30-39, 3:30

Epic Bike Fest 2024 - Gravel Full
Parcours: 50 miles of rolling WI gravel, including 3-4 miles of rougher logging road in the middle
Conditions: low-50s at the start, lower humidity
Report:
Once again, the course goes up a mile long climb in the first 10 minutes. I normalized 98% for the first 20 minutes in order to make a selection into a group that included Jenna Rinehart of the LTGP. I knew I’d pushed some to stay up there, but I was rewarded because we were flying down the backside of the early climb. I stayed with the group for the next 33 miles before the cramps again showed up and I got popped on the rolling hills just before the 2nd aid. I normalized 90% for the first 2 hours, so I felt pretty good about that. My pace dropped on my own, unsurprisingly, but I was able to recover somewhat and keep pushing MUCH more than on the singletrack. I ended up in a group of 4 by the end and I used the CX skills in the final descent to finish ahead of that group.
Finish: P17 overall, P4 in 30-39, 2:38

Since so few people do both long races, I did end up as P2 on the combined E2 30-39 podium. I was fastest on the gravel by a few minutes but I was ~18 minutes behind the eventual E2 30-39 winner in the singletrack, so I was 15 min down from first place in combined times.

The second day went far better for me, though it is still disappointing I managed to cramp both days. I’m sure pacing is the main part of it since my nutrition strategy seemed to go smoothly on the gravel and conditions were also pleasantly cool for the gravel. The different nature of gravel racing also allowed me to better manage the cramping on day 2 by moderating my effort more - it’s hard to do that as much on singletrack.

Looking ahead, I’ll probably look into sweat testing and see if any changes to nutrition are needed which could help mitigate cramping in the future. I’m not sure I’ll do the double full again, or even the full singletrack again, but I say that now… From a race organization perspective, I would rate these both very highly - the Birkie runs a very efficient race these days!

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Wish I could have made it, family had plans for me the whole weekend.

This event is absolutely worth the travel. The MTB trails are amazing, the gravel course is silly difficult and it is all run very well.

Any thoughts on the new gravel course?

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Epic Full Singletrack 2024-

Quick background- 46 years old, ~84 kg; I did the half last year (2:23) on a trail bike, and with some cajoling from a couple people and a new Epic Evo Expert, signed up for the full this year. Had hoped to allocate more training time, since my 2 kids are almost out of the daycare years, but walking pneumonia in January-February and other challenges, meant I was coming into it with only an average of 3.5 hours/week training during the past few months. I’ve followed the TR “XCM” low volume plan, varying between masters and not, trying to get as many MTB miles in as the wet weather has allowed this spring.

Started with the 4-4.5 group, a little too hard on the Birkie Trail (yearly PR for 1m and 5m power, oops.) Entering the singletrack, I held a good pace during the next 2 hours or so. The trails were in really good condition, and everyone around me was clearly happy to be out riding.

The proverbial wheels started coming off about 2.5-3 hours in, left quad started to cramp, and I couldn’t quite hold a pace on the rolling climbs that let me stay on top of all the ‘whoops’… e.g. the climb up ‘Flow Mama’ was pretty brutal. Due to a lapse in concentration when crossing a gravel road at ‘Seely Pass’, made a wrong turn onto the road, instead of continuing straight. That cost me about a mile and 10 minutes time. Had a couple dumb/minor crashes on ‘Ojibwe’ due to fatigue and poor line choice.

Great volunteers and aid stations. Very positive and encouraging. They made the difference in me finishing vs a DNF, without a doubt.

Finish time: too long, but I finished, and after thinking about it for awhile, pretty happy with the accomplishment, considering the limited training time. I’ve gone from thinking “I’m quitting mountain biking” an hour from the finish to “well, maybe if I lose 10 lbs and gain at least 10-15 watts FTP, I’ll consider it for next year.” :slight_smile:

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As expected, the new 50 mile gravel course is noticeably easier than the old 70 mile course. The long stretches of two-way traffic weren’t ideal, but they didn’t seem to cause any issues (at least where I was). Having done Hungry Bear, I also knew what to expect for the logging road section at the far east of the course. Some of the more road-leaning racers took that section slower, but it was in great shape and you could really rip.

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If anyone is racing Gravel Worlds in Nebraska this year, you can use code “Chase” to save $15 off registration. Hopefully it’s okay plugging a discount code to one of the OG midwest gravel events!

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taps sign

:crazy_face::crazy_face:

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The never ending debate :sweat_smile: I was just going off what the US Census Bureau says and hoping to help a few folks out…

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we settled this definitely upthread. :crazy_face:

Good luck in the race!! :+1:t2::+1:t2:

We don’t need more stinking gravel, we need UFFDA and GOPHER back!

How did it go, did you get those free watts I promised?

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@MI-XC, I think the free watts came through. My target was kind of arbitrary without any real idea of what I could do. Ended up 9 hrs, 5 minutes and felt I may have been able to push harder but better to finish with a little gas in the tank than to not finish. As a life long runner (most competitive in half marathon distance), this bike racing is a new animal for me and still figuring out similarities/differences. I had fun, plan to try and get in next year, and finish 2025 LJ100 in worse shape :slight_smile: How did your race go?

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We can adopt Gravel Worlds as a Midwest event, It ventures into Iowa every now and then.

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Hang on, hang on. With @Cory.Rood as my witness, we DID successfully negotiate an easement for NE last year.

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@chasethebiker your wheel was triggering for a lot of folks on the 2023 thread.

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image

:crazy_face:

My whole goal with each bike setup to get people triggered :joy: I guess maybe I should plug my own event that’s on July 27th here, which is MN, and hopefully most folks consider that the midwest…

The Hotdish, the most minnesota themed MN gravel event to exist. Everyone gets served hotdish (casserole) at the end, aid stations every 20 miles, top notch gravel in the driftless, and it only cost $60. Plus free camping Friday night at the venue.

Reg link: The Hotdish Online Registration

Free mtb race the next day also I’m putting on: Zinger - Mountain Bike Race Online Registration

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