High Points, Riding through some guys yard, through the house (doughnut hand up anyone?) and on to the next section.
Making it to SAG/Fuel Stop at mile 49, giving a San Jose Bike Club rider (Caleb) some salt stick and getting thanked for the monster pull three miles up the road to the next gravel section. I wasn’t riding any differently than normal, so it was no problem for me to pull.
The last 30 gravel miles were good, I was fatigued, but well hydrated and fueled. I finished strong.
Low Points, I’m not a punchy rider and there were plenty of spots on the first 50 miles that were better suited for those who could ride that way. I think the first 50 would have been more fun on an XC bike, but one would have still paid the price for it on the smoother flatter sections.
Due to my early registration I was in wave 1, it was amusing to be there, but this being a Cobbler, I wasn’t going to be spicy at all.
The mud was soul draining. It was like having at least 25% of your power just gone. It was worst on the last half mile of the big climb for both Rocker’s and Pebbler’s.
People who didn’t know what the big old popcicle sticks were for, learned really quick. After a through scrape, it was time to slide the first half mile on the back side of that climb before the road became ridable. Even then I picked up more mud that was then flung all over the place as we picked up speed on the downhill.
Lessons learned. Salted Chocolate Roctane Gu’s are good for a one off, but I can’t take them in a gu flask. You can fit 3 Never2nd Gels in a 170 oz squeezy flask. They were perfect. I will be having them at Unbound for sure. In prep for mud, the paint stick will be in the bag as well as chopsticks. My SPD’s were so cloged with mud/grass that I couldn’t clip in until I used a stick to clear it out. The grass wasn’t helping the mud clearing at all. Freshly waxed KMC chain worked awesome on GRX Di2, even in the mud.
Rode a Stumpjumper HT dropbar conversion. Was perfect except for climbing was a little heavy and the gearing wasn’t great on the road as I was spinning out when I found groups to ride with.
I started too shy and didn’t move up as quickly as I should have considering I was in the middle of Wave 2, had a lot of traffic.
Did you like the twisty canyon walls? Lots of people crashed in there and my friends came up on a guy with a broken ankle in the middle of the section, almost ran him over. Not a lot of visibility through there and we were going fast.
All-in-all one of the best events I’ve been to with great setup, great food and just a really cool vibe.
I was there as well. Overall, the course was just bananas hard. The misty wet condition going through mud valley completely changed the ride for me as I had to get off and hike earlier than I would have hoped. Like many others, I was clueless about the popsicle sticks until I needed to figure out a way to clear the sticky mud from my chainstays and crank, and all around my forks, seat stays, etc. Up until that point the course was fairly fast and made it way through a variety of dry, hard pack sand, and dirt trail with some steep but short pitches. The second half of the ride was challenging for me as my back was feeling the steepness of the climbs and my legs were hurting during the hike a bikes. We pretty much scaled a muddy wall during one of those and people were struggling.
There were some nice features such as a twisty canyon descent were you were carving the walls as if your were going to down a bobsled shoot, a long fast and narrow descent through a grass valley with about an 10" wide path that was strewn with smooth 5-7" stones. As a first timer at that event it was really a lot to take in. Thanks to the saturday app I was well hyrdated and fueled with a 1.5 L camel back, two one liter bottles with sugar and salt, as well as gels, maple syrup, chews and some mini-pies. I did take an extra gel and bonk breaker bar at the last aid station. Overall a fun but brutal ride and a great rider experience.