• Last number plate of the year

    VT125This weekend....as per my race schedule....will be the last race of the year. Of course, we all know that can change as events are added at the last minute. This weekends race is the race that I give the nod to as the best course and event of the entire year: Vapor Trail 125. Starting and finishing in Salida, CO, this 125 mile......err.....130ish mile single loop course starts at 10 PM on Saturday and takes riders 15-19 hours to complete. The course is mountain biking in its purest form: dirt roads, techy singletrack, hour long hike-a-bikes, hours spent above 11,000 ft, and jeep roads that are better suited to an army tank rather than a 4x4 jeep.

    I have raced this route the last 2 years. First year I placed 7th while coming out from Iowa. Last year, with a longer course I placed 5th. This year I am hoping to move up the ranks again, but the field is the fastest it has been to date. Athletes like Josh Tostado, Jake Rubelt, and Jeff Irwin are just a small sampling out of the field that can light this course on fire. But in reality, a little good luck is always needed. This race is long, and pacing plays a huge role in success. In the past years we have raced we have been blessed with great weather. While temps sat near freezing at 11,000+ ft at night in the past....this is normal....it's the f'n Rocky Mountains. This year, we are going to be hit with a cold front...as per the weather forecast. This could make for a very interesting and chilly first 8-9 hours of racing. I am keeping an eye on the weather....this will dictate what I carry off the start line....including a pack or not.

    Bike will remain unchanged from last year. I am running the FS bike with Continental Mountain King 2.2 ProTection tires with Stan's. The handlebar/stem will be raised 5 mm for added comfort over the 125+ mile event. I am using 3 different lights.....with no need to change out batteries. One light will burn for 15 hrs and is used for the slow open road sections. Then, I have a handlebar and helmet light that will both burn for 9 hrs. I will carry one small cell-phone-size battery in case my bright lights decide to burn out.

    As for clothing? This is all personal. I, for one, can deal with cold temps. I guess I can thank those sub-zero training rides in Iowa for that. Right now, the plan at the start sits with the following items:

    - team bib shorts
    - knee warmers
    - wool Swiftwick socks
    - Craft base layer
    - short sleeve team jersey
    - long sleeve team jersey
    - team wind vest
    - team skull cap
    - short finger gloves.

    I will also have on-board long finger cool weather gloves and a rain jacket. If the weather really looks sketchy, I am loading up the Ergon BD2 with additional clothing. Getting wet at 11,000 ft at 2 AM could be killer....literally.

    2008 & 2009 VT125 course profileIn the meantime, here is the course profile from last year as recorded by my Suunto T6. It will be a carbon copy of this years course as it remains unchanged.

    VT125 - google earthOr to really put things into perspective, here is a GoogleEarth rendering of the entire route.

    Focus. Execute. Achieve.