Tell more … what happened?
Huh, that was on my to do list once I get my gravel bike. Can you provide some context and a race report?
I just got to my computer and typing a race report on my phone is cumbersome.
Lets start with
Whats the definition for gravel?
: small pieces of rock and pebbles larger than grains of sand. gravel. noun. grav·el | \ ˈgrav-əl \
Coast to Coast Gravel Grinder
I think there were about 300 people racing the 210 mile event. Friday night we picked up our race numbers and drove to our hotel about 45min from the start of the event. We packed up our bottles and went to bed around 10pm to get ready to race the following up. Woke up at 4am, ate breakfast and loaded up, 3 cyclists that have completed some solid races prior to this event.
Race started at 6pm. First 60 miles were pretty quick, avg about 21mph, smooth gravel roads like barry roubaix 62 mile roads. Our plan was to stick together, my goal was to drink 1L of water every hour to stay hydrated, I was successful the first 3 hours and I took a super long pee. The issue is the leaders didnt really stop for the 2 min I stopped for. My group started to chase. We would pick up people and they would stay with us or get spit out. Around mile 78 we ran into a lot of sand. It was two track with sand, everyone in our group had to hop off the bike at some point and push.
We make it out of this two track that seemed to be 2 miles long, and saw the leaders at 2min. So we went back go chasing, somewhere in there I had accumulated a lot of rocks in my shoes and started to take those off while on the back. One guy I was riding with came up from behind to see how I was doing and I started to cramp. It was getting warm and I had drank my 2L of water since mile stop 60, and we had 8 more miles to go. At this point i should have changed my course.
But the legs got firing and I sat on my buddies wheel and we pushed on to the stop at mile 110. My other buddy was well up the road. At the stop we tried to make it quick, I load up with 2 more L of water and 2L hydration pack. I throw in 2 ice socks on my back and we push on, we spent about 5 min at the stop. The roads were a soft sand, you would go down a hill and by the end of the descent you were only doing 5-10 mph. If you were not careful you would be sucked in by the sand and taken in a direction you might not have wanted.
At mile 117 some people had water and my buddy was running hot so he took water on and dumped it on his self. It was around 85 at this point, we pushed on and someone had water at mile 125 or so. We took on a water bath at this point also. The going was rather slow, if I had known what I was in for, I would have called it at this point.
We enter a forest and the roads are no longer, were riding utv two track trails. And its just sand. you would get to ride 1/4 mile followed by getting off your bike and pushing it up a sandy hill. After an hour or so, I am no longer able to drink my drink mix. I am trying to drink out of my hydration pack, but i feel like I am going to puke. I inform my friend I need help. There is no support in the forest, and very limited cell coverage.
We start dumping water on me to cool me down, I ask my buddy to go on so he can find help, but I couldnt stop since I would be eaten alive by flies so I keep pushing on. We find a house with no one in it and just dump water on me to cool me down. I dump out my drink mix and get water in my bottles and we push on. Once we find a road with a few houses and cell coverage, I tell my buddy to leave me and he does.
At this point I am knocking on doors for a ride. No one answers, I still have tunnel vision and cant put out more then 150w. I reach out to my sag and he is waiting for my friend to make it. I have no other choice but to keep going, at this point I have 30 more miles as the stop is at 176. I just keep going, the roads are pretty limited, it is mostly 2 track utv trails that have a bunch of sand. A few people would pass me, they would push the bike in the same area I was in.
Somewhere in this process I make it to mile 176. When I get there my buddy who was sitting top 10 is passed out, he had run out of water in the woods and dehydrated and was in a bad spot. My other buddy kept going.
Out of check point 3 it was single track up 2 hills and then more sandy double track till mile 202. I ended up calling it at check point 3, the cramping, the in ability for me to eat and drink and a total of 13 hours on the bike was enough.
While the event might be something you want to try, just understand that its not really a gravel race due to the large portions of sand. The 66 miles through the woods that takes people 6 hours is not really enjoyable and with the 85 degree heat is more of a death march. There should be water in the middle of the section due to the limited distance you can cover due to all the hike a bike.
Im sure there are things I could have done better.
- Maybe a different tire, I ran a 42 Pathfinder.
- Smaller front gear I ran a 50 I could have ran a 44.
- More water from check point 1 to check point 2.
- Not dug as deep to chase the leaders.
I would have ended up in the same spot about the event. As I would have still been pushing my bike. I signed up for a bike race, if I have to push it a few times I am ok with that, but I am not ok pushing my bike 8 times in a 30 min time frame, and I was pushing my bike with other people so the issue doesn’t fall on my inability to ride.
I would label the ride as something closer to the crusher in the tushar. I was thinking it would be something like unbound.
Sorry to hear about your troubles. I feel the same way about MTB 100s and hike-a-bikes. I’m ok and expect some hikes, but when I’m pushing my bike up hills on numerous occasions for long durations it takes the fun out of it. Most participate in bike races to ride their bikes not push them.
That was ambitious!
Yeah the 50/42 wasn’t ideal, but the weekend prior I rode my 44x37 on 6000’ of climbing in 60 miles in 4 hours to make sure I could push it and was good gravel ride. I was thinking gravel climbs on the course profile weren’t too steep so the 50 would be good. On the gravel climbs I really never had an issue but the sand is another story
My buddy who came apart also ran a 38/36.
Lutsen was no where near as muddy as it could have been. I thought the course would be much faster considering it was 12 miles shorter this year. That 12 miles only improved times by just under 30 minutes across the board.
The section leading to the onion river road was horrible, I was shattered and everyone around me seemed to be as well, lots of broken bodies barfing along side the trail.
I did manage 2nd in the fat bike category though! Only a little bitter that the awards aren’t the wooden hatches from years past…
I was not as fast as you, but I experienced the same thing. I stopped at checkpoint 2 for a long time to get back on hydration because I could tell I was getting bad. Taking in all that water and mix made me not want to eat which caused problems down the road.
I’m ok with some hike a bike, but the sand was so chopped up that by the time I got there it was unrideable in large chunks. I went from 16-17 mph pace for the day to 11 mph coming out of the forest. I would agree that I would rather ride than an adventure bike race style.
I made it out of the forest to snap my cleat in-two pedaling up a hill which end my day. If I do it again, I’m switching to my Cutthroat and 2.2 or larger tires. My Diverge was no with 42mm tires was not the right choice for the day.
I really wanted to finish out of check point 3, but when someone said 2 climbs of single track, I knew that I didnt have that left in me.
Bummer! The event was amazing and course was incredibly fun if you could make it through without mechanical issues. Those first few starting miles were probably the most rugged and dangerous surface of the entire event. Like you, my teammate flatted in the first few miles, which was a bummer. Getting into that first bit of singletrack in a good position to avoid the bottleneck was probably the most important tactical move in that whole race and it obviously wasn’t an option with a puncture!
hey Sean…I actually was right up there to the singletrack (had the ENVE kit on) and had been nursing the soft tire, but knew once we made that turn that I needed to do something to fix the situation. In hindsight, I shoulda first just tried putting more air in and seeing if it held…lesson learned.
I’ll be back down for the Dustbowl, though…but will obviously be a very different race.
Very different indeed! Unfortunately, I have to miss Dustbowl this year, which is a letdown as I have unfinished business after completely breaking down in the heat last year.
We rode the 49er, err 53 mile. The “new logging” trail after our turn around at mile 27ish was no fun at all. Wish I had a full suspension quite a bit. Granted I’m a roadie who has done only one other XC race. I ended up finishing around 4:40, which put me in the top 25% of the 480ish riders in the 49er. I’m pretty happy with that with all things considered.
Next up the Cheq40 in 12 weeks.
Congrats, and I dig this years new H-Wood gear!
The last 15 or whatever miles were brutal. I was thinking I had about an hour left and was pacing accordingly.
That turned out not to be the case.
Weather turned out better than expected.
Thanks for the glimpse of what could have been. Sounds like we had similar days out there.
Plus side - everything in training and prepped worked out well for me.
I’m going to go home and do 200 lapping belle isle. Need to get that checked off. Idgaf
Still M and L jerseys on T6’s site, only L bibs left.
I asked for whites, but very happy with the blues, the jacket is money.
Now it is time to do some MN MTB series races and get ready for cross season!
Dustbowl 100 is looking to be pretty hot again this year.
Yup…even though there are plenty of aid stations, I’m planning on bringing my Camelbak. And I hate wearing my Camelbak.
I might be skipping Dustbowl just a long drive for me