I did the 30, although my rear rim cracked so day over unfortunately 1:45 into it. I was pacing for about 2:40 I think which would have put me 25th ish in men’s open.
I had the same thought on the course being crowded but had a different take on it versus only having them on the course at different times.
Having never ridden in an Epic Rides event before I was in wave 2 for the 30. I can totally understand how many of those in the 50 felt with those in wave 1 of the 30. And for those further back in the 50, that’d mean the 30 mile wave 2. Even I, going off 15 minutes after the first 30 wave, probably passed a good 70 before I lost count prior to the first aid station.
From that point on until my rim cracked I saw those who were about 5th - 20th in the 50 pass me and those around me. And the VAST majority of them were incredibly rude and sometimes even demeaning to those ahead of them.
Simply yelling “50!” over and over again gives someone no right to an immediate pass, especially in tight single track with no room to get off. I can understand a “Different category” call-out, but no one said that and these to me didn’t seem that way. More a “I’m riding 50 miles so move.”
In wider areas there were cases where those being passed needed to yield sooner, but that was a rarity compared to the rude passing.
So first major takeaway is people need to be nicer to each other. Would have smoothed a lot of stuff out and I’m sure made everyone’s experience better. 2,000 racers and it’s going to get crowded.
But second is that I think they need to be more selective somehow about what riders are in the 30 proof waves. Starting by being more selective about wave 1 and things would waterfall to 2 and 3. That way the top end of the 50 proof would be racing with the top of the 30, most of whom are cat 1 anyway, while there’d be better overlap further down.