The season's first NORBA marathon in Fountain Hills, AZ was a real ripper. It turns out a lot of folks were chomping to get the season under way - the field was deeper than any marathon to date. Without a published start list prior to the event, you never know who is going to be there. I knew there were some guys coming over from Cali, and some from CO...but it had the feel of a pro xc start. There were something over 40 guys in the open/pro field. I don't think I've done one of these with more than 20 in the past. You could taste the start line anticipation, it was that thick.
The forecast was a warm one - so Team Big Bear cut the race back from 5 to 4 laps. Everyone but myself breathed a big sigh of relief on that one. The longer the better I say. So off we go...my start position wasn't so good in the 3rd row back, but the first 100 yards were wide open so I gave it stick and snuck up into the front of the group. That position didn't last long. The course funneled into wide singletrack quite suddenly, so of course we're riding 4 abreast (or more) where there is space for 1 or 2...and both my left and right barends get hooked by riders pressing in on me. Crap! Next thing I know I'm that guy who crashes off the start. Although I had the presence of mind to see the humor in the situation, it was a bit annoying to be suddenly DFL. The course is 100% singletrack, so the first lap I spent a lot of time and energy passing.
After that first hectic lap, it was all about staying smooth, eating, drinking, and working with folks from time to time. It was super fast, super fun racing, nearly all big ring stuff. I was taking in about 50-60 oz fluids every hour and still finished a bit dehydrated...also was taking in about 400-500 cal/hour and lots of electrolytes. The heavy eating/drinking seemed to work pretty well. I did slow down a bit towards the end, but steadily moved up throughout the race, finishing 14th. A couple of Canadian guys took the top 2 spots, followed by Travis Brown (on his singlespeed, or course!). Lots of DNFs, 15 or so.
These results come courtesy of
I used the PT for this race, the power file is