ENVE Racing

50K... tough but good!

- Not. Easy. But a good challenge. - First 10 miles, climbing took patience, but fun! - Second 10 miles, face punched a thousand times. - Last 10 miles, dead. - Got a medal... worth it! - Rick got a belt buckle AND a can opener... goals for the future. - Well supported, well laid out. Would recommend (but be mindful of your skill level)

Naturally, COVID has drastically effected the racing world in several ways.  Despite this, even without all the bells and whistles of the typical setup, the Grizzly100 made for a formidable challenge that I am glad to have had the opportunity to participate in.

The start was pretty laid back, which was strangely refreshing.  Rather than a tense countdown, roll out was much more laid back… which is good because you begin with a notable climb right from the start. The lack of anxiety-induced gate-bulling made for a pleasant beginning.  The first climb was indeed no joke.  6 miles up a steep gravel road warmed us all up quickly, and it wasn’t long before people were peeling off arm warmers.  Really, if you avoid killing yourself on the initial climb, the first ten miles are kind of enjoyable.  For me, a bottom-barrel cat 2 rider, all that changed in the next ten miles.  Back to back punchy climbs; tricky, sharp, and relatively tight rock passes; sandy switchbacks, all made for multiple walking sessions (despite my best efforts) and several moments of maxed out VO2 efforts.  There were a number of fun, swoopy sections and you couldn’t beat the views; but I did tap (and occasionally breech… sorry) some serious woo-saw tactics. There is room for improvement here… for me; the race itself is well designed… I just obviously could use some more training.  Of course, it didn’t help that the shifting on my back seemed a bit off… multiple conversations with my bike that started, “Just give me the gear!!  Why won’t you give me the gear????”

We eventually split off from the 100K group somewhere around 20 miles, which from the sounds of it, was very good for my barely-cat 2 self, as the back half of the mountain was described as, “way steep,” “super sketchy,” “even more punchy,” among other things.  The 50K group was taken along some fire roads that delivered 2 more notable pitches… which I was not expecting… and apparently, my body was not, either.  I ended up having to walk the last one.  Fortunately, this lead into the final descent, a drop down the initial jeep road climb, which seemed strangely more difficult going down than coming up; lots of sliding and water-trenches kept me on my toes, but I was motivated to know the finish line was near. 

No beer or food stands at the end (thanks COVID), but a friendly finish complete with medal (fun! Wasn’t expecting that) and lots of congrats.  Rick was toasted by the end of his 100K (understandably) and while he has a few reservations regarding his performance, he did well… and he got a belt buckle; which is fun ??.   

Of note, the final road was a little sketchy especially as the afternoon went on because it was a steep downhill finish that wasn’t blocked off… cars didn’t seem to be aware that there was a race going on (though the race promoters DID have out signs AND they had a guy out there directing traffic... tourists just seemed to have their own ideas). 

Overall, this race was very well supported with plenty of volunteers and check points.  I can think of two instances where I was mildly confused on the direction of the trail; however, I didn’t get lost!  And if I didn’t get lost, then the course was excellently marked.  Everyone was super friendly and the views are unmatched.  I look forward testing myself against some of those punchy climbs, again, in the future, and see the difference of a little training and tweaking. 

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