When you think of the perfect endurance race course, what comes to mind? If you answered "steep punchy climbs that are almost impossible to pace yourself on" than you'd love racing at Sunridge Ski Hill in Edmonton!
This past weekend was the return of endurance racing in Edmonton, with 5 hours on tap for Hardcore's Royal River Valley Rumble mountain bike race. Temperatures were great, the bugs were motivation to keep moving, and the trails were in great shape, if not maybe too dry and dusty.
It had been awhile since I'd raced a long event and I was a bit rusty on how to fuel. My cooler bag was stuffed with a random assortment of Skratch bars and chews, Skratch hydration mix, protein-powder peanut-butter sandwiches, sour jujubes, pringles and a couple bottles of protein drink. And it paid off - when in doubt, pack it all. You never know what you'll be craving in the middle of an endurance bike race!
The first few laps of the course were speedy, and I found myself riding around Mike Sarnecki, who is usually so far ahead of me I don't even get a chance to see the dust kicked up that lingers in the air long after he's gone. I got a little cocky as I spent a few laps ahead of him, and kept the throttle twisted. It turns out, keeping the throttle twisted in an endurance bike race is not a good idea - I wasn't saving anything for the last couple hours.
My first 5 laps were consistent, but laps 6 through 8 were when I paid the price for a pace that was a touch too high for me to sustain. For those that care (although I don't know why you would...) my lap split times are below.
Lap 1: 33:27 Lap 2: 33:20 Lap 3: 32:38 Lap 4: 33:58 Lap 5: 33:52 Lap 6: 39:19 Lap 7: 40:12 Lap 8: 37:58
8 laps was good for 7th overall, but really I was just happy to be out racing a bike for 5 hours without having to drive south to Canmore! Huge shoutout to Kurt from Hardcore, and all the volunteers for hosting a great day of racing!
Mike Sarnecki from Kokanee Redbike put together this short video of the race. If you watch closely, you can see my butt at one point, so that's pretty cool. #My5SecondsOfFame