|True Grit Epic
St. George - March 17, 2012
Unlike 2011, the True Grit Epic was blessed with good
weather. The temperature started in the 50s and rose into the low 60s. Occasional sun peeked
through, but mostly it was cloudy with a brisk south wind.
Rains held off until evening.
The 2012 True Grit offered three distances: 100-mile (actually 98),
50-mile, and 23-mile. UMB had racers in all three groups, with start times
at 7 am, 9 am, and 11 am respectively. The True Grit offers a more
technical experience than the typical XC race. The course starts in
Tonnaquint Park on Dixie Drive, then hits the Race Course, Barrel, Zen,
Bearclaw, Stucki, Rim Reaper/Rambler, Barrel Roll, Santa Clara, and Cove
UMB was well-represented at this race. Our 4 riders in the Men
35-plus 50 Epic all finished in the top 20% of over 70 racers, with Jason
taking 1st place. At 2nd place in the 100-mile Open division, Casey won a
nice big paycheck (see photo below).
||Results for UMB racers:
100-mile Men Open
Casey Zaugg 2nd 7:59:32
50-mile Men 35-plus
Jason Sparks 1st 4:21:45
Mark Messer 4th 4:24:36
Mike Engberson 11th 4:44:26
Derek Ransom 14th 4:50:15
50-mile Men 50-plus
Bruce Argyle 12th 5:52:07
Cat Kalwies 4th 2:35:32
Adam Little 10th 2:37:29
||Race Course, 50-mile Epic:
0.0 Leave Tonnaquint Park northwest on Dixie Drive
1.8 Left uphill on Canyon View Drive
2.5 Pavement ends, right on dirt DT, then drop L into valley
Right on GV race loop (DT)
3.8 Deviate from GV classic loop, L up wash
R on DT back to GV race loop at
7.5 Leave classic course, drop L downhill on DT, keeping L
8.5 R on DT (12-and-under course)
8.9 L uphill on DT, veer L onto ST
Climb DH portion of race loop
then keep L at ST fork
10.2 L uphill on DT, rapid L on ST Barrel Trail
13.1 AID station, cross wash to Zen
17.4 Exit Zen to DT downhill
Rejoin Zen after 1/2 mile of DT
18.8 Back at Zen AID station
Uphill on DT to Bearclaw
19.8 Start Bearclaw
21.2 L off Bearclaw to Stucki Spring trail
27.3 Cross fence L, R on Stucki Spring Road
28.3 L on DT toward Rim Rock (2-way traffic follows)
29.0 Cross fence, L on Rim Reaper
Keep L on Rim Rambler
Descend DT back to gate at 30.4
30.7 L on connector to Cove Wash
Climb out of Cove Wash toward
31.4 AID station at Barrel Roll TH
L uphill on ST to Barrel Roll,
go L (clockwise)
37.1 Finish 1st lap of Barrel Roll, R for 2nd
42.7 Finish 2nd lap, descend L to AID station
L on DT
43.0 L at fence on ST, descend to Santa Clara
44.0 R uphill on Stucki Spring Road
44.9 L on Cove Wash Alternate DT
45.6 Drop into Cove Wash
46.6 Intersect N end of Race Course, L on DT
Retrace route back to
50.7 Finish line
|Stats from Bruce's GPS unit: Miles
50.8. Total time 5:50:17, minus 6 non-riding minutes for 3 one-minute aid
station stops and a long three-minute stop. Climbing 6100 feet. Calories
2650. Average HR 138, max 159. Average cadence 72 rpm. Max speed 32.1 mph.
Bruce's self-centered Blog-ish race report:
This was my first real enduro race. I'd
done the one-day White Rim, road centuries, and Lotoja, but I knew racing technical singletrack
would be different. I followed the lead of my experienced team mates. But
I was recovering from a nasty cold and a separated left shoulder. So my
goals were different. I simply wanted to finish, with a leisurely target time of 6
Stumbling out of bed at 6:20, we drop Casey off for the 7 am start of
the 100-miler. We leave water-bottle coolers for delivery to the aid
stations at the bottom of Zen and Barrel Roll. My supplies include: one
bottle on the bike, 2 bottles plus 3 GU packs in the Zen cooler and the
same for Barrel Roll, for a total of 5 bottles of Cytomax and 6 GUs to get me through
the race. We hit the Grand Slam selections at Denny's before returning to
the house to suit up for our race. I give the crud in my lungs a
last-minute double hit from the albuterol inhaler. Mike, Jason, Mark, and
I warm up riding the bikes 2 miles to
The Men 50-plus group starts with "and now everybody else" a minute
behind the Open 50 category and the 35-plus group. Having modest expectations for this race, I
ride alongside Craig Williams (a fellow 57-plus ICup rider who
consistently beats me) near the back of the pack. Craig did a big ride the
day before and isn't planning to finish. No hurry. Just ride. We talk as we
past other racers on the Green Valley race course. Good
companionship, and not really feeling the "race thing" yet. But I
accidentally drop Craig on the climb to the Barrel Trail and don't see
him again for 20 miles.
I'm dreading hitting the tech spots on Barrel with my bum shoulder.
My shoulder separation makes it almost impossible to throw the handlebars.
each spot, riders are bunched up and walking. So I don't have to make a
ride/no-ride decision. I'm forced to bail and walk the tech stuff. On to
the high-speed descent. The left shoulder complains loudly on the
rattle-bang downhill, dropping a few mph off my descent. I'd softened the
shocks on my plush Superfly 100 and decreased my usual tire pressure, but
it still felt very Not Fun.
I remember my first bottle as I'm traversing from the bottom of Barrel to
the aid station below Zen. Finish it after dropping the bike. Suck 1 GU, grab a bottle, and
head up Zen. I assume Craig has gone past and is ahead of me climbing Zen.
I lighten my load by 1/2 bottle as I climb. Still keeping the heart rate
in my "distance" zone of 145 to 150 -- upper Zone 3 bordering on
Zone 4 for me. By
the top of Zen, I've passed a few riders so there's open trail in front
of me. I ride all the tech spots with an occasional dab. Hit a big rock in
the chute down to the washbottom of Zen. Try to pull up the front wheel
and the shoulder says Sorry Buddy and here's a nice serving of shoulder
pain. Bike hangs up. Painful tearing sensation in the front of the right thigh
before the momentum lurches me over the rock. Owie. As the trail dumps onto
doubletrack below the wash, I finish off bottle #2. The pain in the
thigh forces me to switch techniques. I'm powering with the upstroke on
the left. Yeah, people complain about those one-leg drills on Biking
Power, but here's where it pays off. Pedal-ouch-pedal-ouch-pedal-ouch
goes the cadence.
Back at the Zen aid station, I drop the bike and step
toward the cooler. The right thigh protests. Time to pull the emergency "it hurts" kit
from the jersey pocket. A half-size baggie with 4 ibuprofen, 2 rhodiola
rosea, 2 green tea, 4 calcium lactate, 1 magnesium citrate, and an
out-dated 50 mg
tramadol. Wolf down the whole handful in front of suspicious volunteers.
No urine tests here, right? I suck GU #2, stuff GU #3 in my pocket,
and load bottle #3. A little longer stop than I'd planned. Up the hill to Bearclaw Poppy.
The left hamstring is asking when the one-leg pedaling drill will end.
The markings aren't
clear at the top of the Three Fingers, so I just drop off the middle
finger for some air time. Shoulder doing OK as the shocks bottom out.
It's surprising what hurts, and what doesn't. As I crank down the wash,
I'm able to resume normal pedaling. Either I've worked out the muscle
strain, or the tramadol is kicking in.
The race course skirts to the left of Clavicle Hill, then
comes back north
to the Stucki Spring trail. On the long trip uphill along Cottonwood Wash,
I finish GU #3 and bottle #3. A young rider catches my wheel as I'm drinking and
drafts me for a couple of wind-whipped miles before dropping
off. I'm beginning to feel significant leg fatigue. At only mile 23,
that's a surprise. Thought I was in better shape than that. My heart rate drops into
the 130s but I can't push harder. I grunt up the last hill to the top,
feeling like an old guy on a bike. But salvation! It's a fast furious downhill
northbound on Stucki. Several times the shocks bottom out on the rollers
-- feels like I'm doing one-arm pushups on the handlebar. At each dip I
lean my body to the right, away from The Shoulder.
The course hops from the Stucki trail to the Stucki Road just past the
Spring. Up to Rim Rambler/Reaper. I'm running a little low on gas as I
finish the loop. I pass Craig and a couple of other 50-plus riders
(going the other way) on the two-way below the loop, so I know I have a
couple of miles on them. But I'm feeling floppy as I climb out of Cove
Wash to the Barrel Roll aid station.
I grab my last 2 bottles; one for the back pocket, one for the bike. I
suck a GU and put the last 2 GUs in the pocket. I think of grabbing
extra calories at the aid station, but decide I'll be OK. Three GUs plus
calories in two bottles for 12 miles, no problem. Up the hill to
Barrel Roll. I drain bottle #4 on the smooth climb just before the
midpoint of Barrel Roll. I figure the second half of Barrel Roll will be
too rough, fast, and twisty to drink. I pull into the checkpoint and get
the mark on my number plate for lap #1, feeling pretty good considering I'm
37 miles into the ride. Out to lap 2.
I now have blisters on the palm of the right hand.
Despite the best gloves in the UMB shop. To protect my left
shoulder, I've been maintaining a death-grip on the left handlebar. Keeping
the left side rigid, I'm doing all the handlebar motion with the right
side. My right hand is taking a beating. There are also blisters where
the shift levers occasionally touch the base of my right thumb. And the right
side of my back is paying a price for protecting my left side. The legs
are hurting now, and I have trouble maintaining my HR above 130. Still in
Zone 3, but touching bottom.
I finish GU #5 on the first area of smooth climbing, then hit bottle #5
in the same area as the last lap. But with a couple of miles to go on the
loop, I'm beginning to fade. Riders start passing me. The trail is too fast
and too rough to grab GU #6, so I decide to
wait for the aid station. I'm slowing down. A mile out, I hit the wall hard and fast. A
whole-body bonk. I can't even maintain steering, so I coast off
the trail into the brush. Down GU #6 and lean on the handlebars for 30 seconds. Back
underway, not as fast as before. (Serious underestimation of calorie
requirement -- I used a GU every 30 minutes on the one-day White Rim, and I was trying
to race technical rock on half that. I should have packed energy
balls from CocoNutz Fuel instead
of GUs. But Casey isn't supplying me free samples, probably because he
doesn't want my slow riding to reflect badly on his excellent product.)
Back at the Barrel Roll aid station neutral support
booth, I grab a few handfuls of trail mix
to calorie up for the last 7 miles. I fill 2 bottles with whatever-ade
and drink one immediately. Long long rest stop at over 3 eternity-minutes. The
bonk and long rest stop cost me the #11 finish and maybe the #10. Just
want to finish? Hell with "Just Finish." What was I thinking? Like the guy in the video says, Come
on, it's a race!
On the singletrack down to Santa Clara, I'm riding sloppy. Slow descent.
Still weak. Hard to stay focused. Big "aw damn" as I look up the Stucki
Road from the bottom. Painful climb. But the calories are working now.
100 yards ahead of me, a rider stalls out and falls over into the dust. He
stays there. He isn't hurt; he's just done. I ride on uphill.
The Cove Wash doubletrack and Cove Wash go by fast. Legs feeling better.
Finish the last bottle (#7) in the wash. Bliss. I'm the king. I can ride
Oops, here's the little hill out of Green Valley.
Up toward the pavement. Shift down. Down. Down. Down again. In granny and
still suffering. Ouch. Don't I usually ride this in middle ring? The bike is crawling. Keep turning one - pedal -
after - another - until - I'm at the top. My legs answer my deluded brain:
You've got nothing left; just get to the finish line.
On to the pavement and speed back
to toward Tonnaquint against a headwind. My first XC endurance race is over. I'm stoked.
I feel great. Never mind that my team mates have been sitting around for
90 minutes. I finished.
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