This was 'Take 2' for the Park City Point 2 Point. Raced this event 2 years ago....the first year for the event. It's a beast. In my opinion, the hardest single day mtb endurance race out there. Why? Well, it's 80 miles of singletrack. Rocky, rooty, loose, and sometimes buff singletrack. The course is always up....and always down. A true mountain bike course. Little to no recovery. Burly. Lets you know where your weak spots are in your training and equipment. Plus, this year, throw in a super staked field into the Open Pro category. Out of all my races this year, this field was the deepest and the most talented.
The race started at 7 AM. It was freezing. I lined up next to 2 time race winner, Alex Grant, and he said his SRM was reading 33F degrees. I was standing there in a jersey and shorts.....dressed for the near 80F temps we were to get later. Having learned my lesson the first year I raced here, my plan was to take it easy until about mile 35 (water aid station 1) then start picking up the pace. My goal....slay this course in 7.5 hours.
The gun went off and I took to the front to get around the closed gate before the burst of road to the were the race was in 'game on' mode. In the lead, I was followed by Josh Tostado and Jason Sager. Once to the dirt double track I started with my race plan. Through the opening singletrack through Round Valley I would drop back to roughly 20th place. I was comfortable and riding 'my' race. The sun was brutal. Sitting low in the sky if was virtually impossible to see the trail while riding east. Spent a lot of time with my left hind covering my eyes....while trying to ride the various ups and downs of the Round Valley singletrack.
With the first hour of racing down, I started the singletrack to Deer Valley. My legs felt good and I was riding a conservative pace. Guys around me were yo-yoing.
At Aid Station 1 I grabbed 3 fresh bottles and 2 fresh flasks of gel....and a PowerBar. Next up was some big climbs. I caught and passed 3 riders out of Aid Station 1. I kept riding my pace and soon ended up at another aid station...which was water only. I topped of my bottles and was told I was sitting in about 15th place. Perfect!
I would spend a lot of time riding alone over the next 20 miles. It was during this time that I make a costly mistake and miss a turn. The course was marked well with orange paint, but for some reason I was not see anymore orange paint. Where did I miss this corner? Unsure. While I was riding, unsure if I was on course, I asked hikers if they had seen racers....and they said 'Yes'. Good enough for me, I kept going.
It wasn't until I came to a fork in the road trail that I knew I was off course. This 'fork' in the road had like 4 options for trail. There was no orange paint. I knew I was now off course. So, my 10 minutes of fast descending was then followed by roughly 20 minutes of climbing. I some how got back on course, but never saw were I missed my turn. Only way I knew I was on course was I caught a few other riders.
Going off course totally killed my mojo. For the remaining 40 miles, I kept riding my pace....oddly enough catching some of the guys that I passed at mile 10. It was basically like starting from scratch in the race....hunting down racers. On the early portions of Mid-Mountain Trail, things took another turn towards bad luck. This trail is super rocky, and while descending a rock flew up and hit my rotor and spokes. Thought nothing off it until I dismounted a section and saw/heard my wheel/rotor stop dead in their tracks. I stopped for a second....spun the wheel.....only to see the broken spoke and bent rotor. Spoke wasn't a huge deal, but the rotor was bent enough to stop the wheel dead in its tracks. While ridable....it was a drag, literally. Downhills were fine. Uphills, the bike felt sticky with every rotor/wheel rotation. Things could be worse, I guess.
I was well past my 7.5 hour goal....and I knew I had some trail left to go...not easy trail. Nothing I could do but ride at my ability. Riders passed me....we exchanged words. But the time it was said and done, I crossed the line in 8 hrs 10 minutes....for 25th place. Ugh. Not what I was looking for, but it's racing. I keep thinking "What if I never got lost?"....likely would have finished in bottom half of the Top 15. I have to count my blessings. A lot of folks didn't finish for various reasons: broken wheels, bee stings, shredded tires, etc.
See HR and GPS data on Strava
Next up is a rest block, including Interbike, and then prep with Sonya for the Brasil Ride Stage Race in late October.