April 7, 2012
First off, thanks to the Colorado Endurance Series and especially Ben Welnak for organizing the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder. This was my first big gravel ride in my home state since the riding Bayou Salado a few years back.
I left my house with temp reading in the car a comfortable 42 degrees. By the time I reached the Greenland Trail head parking lot the temp read 24 degrees. With the expected temp to reach the low 60s, my clothing choice was difficult. My legs did have a heavy coating of Flahute + on them. So to quote a fellow gravel grinder “go light, freeze at night” and that I did.
We rolled out to the official finish at the corner of Greenland Road and Mesa View. Ben gave the last instructions and we were off. My hands and toes were numb so it was a relief to get moving so as I could get some blood moving. I quickly spun out as the lead group pulled away and we strung out on the road. After Elbert, the route headed north along Maul Rd then onto Comanche Creek Rd before heading east to Deer Trail. The 100 mile cutoff was tempting but riding the whole route was more tempting.
I had planned to stop in Deer Trail and refill by bottles. There were a slew of riders leaving town as I was rolling in. One other rider was at the convenient store. I filled my bottles, topped off my Camelbak and slammed a Gatorade Recover. I headed back out onto the course after the 3 mile detour and a 15 minute stop. We headed south toRidge Roadwhich seem to last forever as I had some intestinal distress from the Gatorade product. The wind started to blow from the south that added to that misery. Can’t stop, won’t stop rang loud in my head as I rode on.
The “B” road: Mark Stevenson would have been very happy with Ben’s inclusion of this nasty stretch of road. It wasn’t bad, but it was dry. Rumors were that this could be a 3 mile hike a bike section (insert TIv2 flashback). I did opted to walk one section as the loose dirt, tire selection, and gearing would have cost me a match or two. Once back to gravel we were 36 miles to the finish. The sun was sinking fast and I really wanted to get the ride done in the day light.
At mile 125, the steepest climb of the day. With weary legs I did my best to get up and over it without walking. I achieved my goal but it required a couple switchbacks. From there it was a straight shot back to the car. The wind picked up as the sun went down behind the mountains. Luckily I had been pessimistic and packed my lights. The last 10 miles were cold and dark. I rolled into the parking area with only a few vehicles left and I couldn’t feel my hands or feet, just like I left the parking lot almost 14 hours earlier.
As far as gravel grinding goes, this is high up on my chart of rides to do again. Plus, I plan to do a couple more rides in the area for later this year. I am overall happy with the performance and experience.
Update on GPS Data: My Garmin Edge 305 died at mile 137 with a elevation gain of 8683 feet. The last 23 miles were hilly, so I would guess over 9000 ft of elevation gain.
Update 4/12 @ 3:17pm: Results are posted. http://antiepic.blogspot.com/2012/04/antiepic-race-results-pictures-and.html