• Race Report: Ponca Marathon (4 hr)

    A training race. That was the sole purpose of this event. It was a whole new ball game. I have trained my body to ride efficiently for 12 to 24 hour stretches. The 4hr Ponca Marathon was to be a shock to the system for the anticipated higher intensity that 24 Hour NORBA Nationals will present. Below is a recap of the 2 day trip back to "The Good Life". Enjoy!

    On Friday, Slade and myself loaded up the P5 for the 4 hour road trip across the state of Iowa to Ponca, Nebraska.

    Iowa wind farm enroute to Nebraska.

    Ahhhhhh yes. The good life.

    We arrived at Ponca State Park around 4:30ish. We met up with Noonan, and secured a camp spot. When we left Waterloo to make the drive 4.5 hours earlier it was about 60 degrees and cloudy. When we arrived at the state park it was sunny and 103 degrees. WTF! We set up camp, then geared up for a bit of course preride. Conditions were primo. In fact the course was very very dry and could use a bit of rain to pack it down. The course for the marathon was about a 5 mile loop that consisted of rage'n downhills, sustained climbing, and short little bitch climbs. This course favored a good all around rider who excelled a bit more on climbing.

    After about 1 hour of spinning around the course and state park we made our way back to camp. When we started our pre-ride the sky was crystal clear. 1 hour later, the thuderstorm clouds began to build. Would this give us the rain we needed to firm up the course? Only time would tell.

    Noonan puts his Food Network skills to work Friday evening.

    Once back to camp we cleaned up and cooked up some grub that consisted of pasta and bread sticks. A high carbo diet for an event that would be fueled by carbs rather than and endurance effort which is fueled by mostly fats. After we ate, we stat around till about 10 PM then hit the sack. At about 1 AM, the skies finally unleashed their fury. We had a nice storm roll thru that dumped some hard rain for about 20 minutes. Nothing major. It woke me up, but then it was right back to sleep. Then at about 6 AM, we had another storm roll thru. This time the rain was a bit lighter, but it rained for most of the early AM hours. Who knows what this would do to the course. We either got just enough rain...or way too much.

    We woke up Saturday morning at about 7:30ish to rain. We quickly torn down the tents and made our way to the race start to cook breakfast under the shelter. Breakfast included eggs and pancakes. After the breakfast it was time to get the game face on. I picked up my registration and began to eye the competition. This race had some very good mountain bike talent. There were numerous rides in attendence that have podium'd at National xc and enduro events. Some heavy hitter names included the following: Cam, Noah, Cully, Rients, Kip, and a host of local XC guys. In prep for the event, I knew that i was going self supported. I carried all nutrition from start to finish. Nutrtion for me included a bottle of Hammer Perpetum in a bottle and a Wingnut Assualt with 5 scoops of HEED and some ELETE.

    We lined up for the start at 11 AM. The format of the race was simple. Ride fast for 4 hours. At the line, I knew who would be to mark as guys to follow. The gun went off and we were roll'n. The start was not that fast. The names mentioned above including myself move to the front and made our way to the singletrack. I was about the 5 guy in. Leading the way was Cam. The first half of a lap we were roll'n and a good clip. The pace was comfortable. Guys were riding singlefile was keep'n it real. Some guys didn't pre ride so there were some bobbles, but nothing to break up the field. About 3/4 of the way thru the first lap Cam up'd the effort and rode away. Someone yelled out to keep on his wheel, but no one did. So while Cam rode off into the sunset, the rest of the field rode together. After the first lap I was sitting in like 4th place. Heading into the 2nd lap, riders started to push the pace and fall off the back. First to go after Cam was Cully and another rider. Then came Kip. Shortly there after Jesse came around me on a climb. For me, I was feeling OK. I was riding well, but having some issues going up hill. I felt strong on all parts of the course, but was lacking horse power on the climbs. It was shortly after about 3 laps that I lost contact with the lead 5 guys or so. For the remainder of the event I would ride pretty much by myself. It was interesting, cause as the race went on, I felt better and better. In fact at the 3.5 hour mark I felt better than at the 1 hour mark. My body knew how fast it wanted to go. As the race went on, there were a few riders that were in the top 5 that fell back, and then there were some rider behind me that bridged up to less than a few minutes behind. Other than the top 4 guys, there was a lot of positions being changed. For me I just did what I could.

    Men's podium.

    Overall, the event was first class. Good talent combined with a primo course makes this one a must-do again. As for me, all the equipment worked great. The Maxxis Ignitors 2.1 stuck to the corners and gave me tons of reliablity all over the course. In it's first race application, the Wingnut Assault passed with flying colors. This pack is a gem. It did one thing, and one thing only...and that was keep me hydrated. It in no way effected my riding or contributed to fatigue.

    Here are some stats from the CatEye Microwireless from the event...
    Time: 4 Hrs, 6 min, 1 sec.
    Distance: 42.15 miles
    Average Speed: 10.2 mph
    Max Speed: 28.5 mph

    This race was just one more step closer to what should be a good showing at 24 Hour Nationals. My final result in this race looks to be around 6th or 7th. I am not 100% sure as the full results have not been disclosed to the public. Stay tuned for final result and more race pics.