What's not to love about the Desert Rampage? Mountain biking in great weather, great course, good venue for families, reunion with friends, 12pm start, other good riding options, etc.
It was nice to sleep in and be able to eat a full breakfast before the race. I think it helped enough that I may need to consider waking up super early on future races so that I can eat some waffles 3 hours before race time.
Somehow I forgot to pack just about everything for this race. My helmet, bib shorts, and sunglasses all got left home. My bib shorts were still air drying in the laundry room when I got home. My 1 year old actually took my helmet out of my bag and hid it behind the chair in the front room. I still can't find my shades. Fortunately, Mad Dog Jesse's wife came through with a helmet, and Nails came through with the shades. I kept it real and wore the baggy shorts that I did remember to pack. Fortunately I remembered my bike and my shoes...
I was blown away by the number of Exp 30-39 riders. We were three full rows deep at the start, and had 33 finishers. It was great, I felt big-time starting with all those racers.
The pace was pretty fast right out of the gate. I can see why, because once the 1-track started, it was tough to make many passes during a lot of the first lap because we were so bunched up. I felt good. Surprisingly good. My heart rate was high, but my legs felt good. I did get some passes in and was eventually able to settle into a rhythm.
During the 2nd downhill of the 2nd lap I was following Kyle from the 20-29 group and hit some rocks pretty hard. I thought to myself, "dang, that could cause a pinch." Next thing I knew, Kyle was pulling over with white crap spewing out of his tire. Sorry dude. I guess just thinking about it was enough. My bad.
I felt like I slowly moved up through the field throughout the race. Having such a huge field was fun because there wasn't ever a time where I didn't have a carrot and where I wasn't acting as a carrot for someone else in my class. My endurance felt pretty good, but my legs started feeling some signs of cramping during the 3rd lap, but fortunately never got bad. I made at least 3-4 passes on the 3rd lap, so I felt like I stayed pretty strong.
I finished in 11th place at around 1:36, making for 3 laps with an average time of 32 minutes each. 3 years ago, on my first race ever, I did 2 laps in 1:32. Most humbling day ever. Maybe next year I'll shoot for 3 laps in 1:32.