No “chocolate” on his face in this shot!
Photo courtesy Mitch Kline
Congrats to Kevin Kaucher, and THANKS for submitting such a thorough & entertaining race report!
So its been a while since my last race report, the last was probably the RME Indian Creek marathon race about a year ago. Since then I’ve only done about 16 other races, so I figured I was due.
RME PV Derby, located on a Boy Scout camp just outside of Elbert, CO, called the Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch, this would be a 22 mile loop, done in either a single, double, or triple loop variety, based upon how stupid you are. This is obviously closed most of the year to all except the boy scouts. Somehow someone found out about this place and the miles upon miles of super flowy singletrack. What I had heard prior to the event was that the course was super fast, flowy, a few technical sections, and only a few short burst climbs scattered throughout. This seemed perfect, a nice early season long ride to really see where my fitness was after a long winter of slaying pow and drinking bloody marys.
Of note, multi-lap races are not my favorite, especially if its a short loop, as I tend to get real bored after a few laps. For this race, I was hoping it would be different, a long 22mi lap that should take about 2hrs would be ok as I would likely forget half of the course by the time I had to start my 2nd and 3rd loops. But we will see…
2 Days prior to race day: I figured I would bite the bullet and sign up, race registration closes at midnight so I waited to sign up at 23:49. Just in time! After the fiasco that was the Eagle Outside Fest Firebird 40k race course i did 2 weeks prior, i figured waiting until the last minute to ensure a rideable course was worth it. The only threats were a few afternoon thunderstorms each day that would only hopefully make a course that gets ridden one day per year even better.
1 day(ish) to Race/Race Day: work to 23:30, race is at 8am, 1 hour drive to the venue, 30 minutes to get self and bike ready, which means I better get the hell out of work on time and fall asleep immediately once I get home….01:30a (6.5hrs till go time) and I am just polishing off my 2nd Genesee Cream ale hoping it will put me to sleep since I am still gathering bike gear and clothing.
Race day: 4 hours of sleep, not bad. Look outside to bright sunny skies….%^&#! If it was dark and gloomy or rainy I was going to fall back asleep, oh well. guess ill do this. out the door with coffee in hand. I basically felt like I had already won just accomplishing that much so far.
*Nutrition plan: ha. downed a banana and a tortilla with almond butter while getting dressed at the venue. Looked around my car for food to pack in my jersey, didnt find any. Good thing they have 3 aid stations throughout the 22 miles with plenty of oranges, bananas, and hammer nutrition products. 1 water bottle, ok. Typical nutrition plan for me though really, probably even more thought out than usual so I figured I was good.
Start of race: think of the usual things….
1. Why am I here?! My bed was so comfortable
2. I should have just called in sick to work yesterday, went to wolfs going away party, drank 20 Pabsts and slept until noon today.
3. What will break on my bike to make me not have to ride all 66 miles?
4. what will I eat when I’m finished, a whole pizza, chick fil a, a burrito the size of breyer (pre weight loss challenge), all of the above….
So many thoughts running through my head. Boom go!
Lap 1: settle in, back of the pack, historically I usually place in the middle of the field so no sense in dropping the hammer and blowing up like Sankoff did on our run at North Table Mtn a few weeks ago. I set in behind some squirrels with $12k bikes who don’t really know how to ride them. Seems ok for now as I ride their rear wheel, HR still in the 60’s so I am right where I want to be. 1.5 miles in and we are cruising, hammering up a short little doubletrack climb and wham! cow patty and cow $hit all over my face from either my front wheel or the rider in front of me. I hadn’t thought of this being one of my excuses to drop out and not finish the race but I thought long and hard about it for the next 20 yards while wiping it off my face. Think to myself…ok so this is how this is going to be, I hate open range. Pass a few squirrels because they are riding better bikes than I am and they suck and settle in. Find aid station 1 and eye their nutrition but don’t grab anything, the banana is still holding, or at least it would if you WB. About 10 miles in I get passed by 2 former pros from the 40-49 AG, think that this is ok since they only started 2 mins back and they are former pros. Try to stay with but start to feel the legs smoking, back off. Mile 20, the most technical part of the course, see a guy walking after he taco’d his tire. awesome. 1:42mins at the Start/finish, about what I predicted.
Lap 2: grabbed 2 gels and an extra bottle at the transition point. Also down a handful of Endurolytes, about 10ish I’d say. I think the bottle says the normal dose is 4 caps. that should hold me. Figured I’d down a gel now and then another half way through. 2 bottles should get me through lap 2 although I had figured I was a bit down on hydration so I needed to pick that up. The one bottle idea was not good, glad they have bottles to take. as soon as I finish one gel I start to get hungry, the 2nd disappears as well.This isn’t good. Quickly find myself all alone too, typical of a course this long. Am glad to see a rider here and there even though they aren’t in my AG.
Come upon one guy after about 15 miles of seeing no one, looks like a solid rider but he is not riding hard. I ask him how his race is going and our conversation goes something like this:
Me: Hey man, hows it going, beautiful day out here huh?
Him: not good, crashed a while back
Me: damn, that sucks, you hurt?
Him: yep, think i broke my wrist
Me: awesome, way to ride it out, be safe
Find a few others in my AG and try to pass them quickly without them seeing my marked calf, don’t want them picking it up knowing they are losing a spot to me. Chat with a guy about Leadville 100 coming up, exchange training routes, discuss current Strava segments and KOMs we are after, etc. I leave him as he eventually fell off. Mile 35 clicks by and im hitting one of the very techy sections and suddenly feel like my rear tire is hitting each rock and root with no give. Look behind at my tire and its still inflated, but feels squishy. Oh well, I packed 2 tubes so if my sealant doesn’t seal whatever it is ill change it quick. Love tubeless. Ride it out with no issues but definitely a little softer than I like it. Maybe I’ll check the psi at the transition, if I remember. Make it to aid station 2 and exchange bottles, grab some hammer chocolate protein bar thing. As I eat it its getting all over my face. Now I have a mixture of cow dung and chocolate on my face…can’t wait to see the photographer on course, definitely buying that one. 1:50 lap 2, feel OK
Lap 3: If you make it to lap 3, you’ve basically won, or at least that’s what I tell myself. I try to ride conservatively, not take too many risks, and just be around for the last lap. I often try to sabotage myself with my nutrition plans/life/work/training balance, but if you can make it to the last lap you are golden. I also know that by sitting back, just hanging around and riding MY race, I will be there in the end. No need to blow yourself up early. After All, a 20th place finish is the same as a 2nd place finish to me, all you get extra is another pair of socks, maybe a box of Hammer gels that I don’t like, so really I don’t care, just here to ride/race and enjoy the free beer at the end.
I take 1 bottle for the last lap, another handful of Endurolytes, another hammer chocolate thing. forget to check my tire. Off we go. Down the chalky chocolate bar, still hungry, starting to catch up on fluids. The Endurolytes are fake, likely just dried up weeds but figured I would take them for the hell of it. I need more veggies in my diet anyways. Catch 2 or 3 guys in my AG right away, haven’t seen them all race so they clearly busted out of the gate too fast or had mechanicals. From the looks on their faces they did not have mechanicals. One guy started screaming d/t cramps as soon as I passed him. Try to pass them quickly and get ahead before they catch a 16th wind and want to put me on the defensive at the very end. Hang on, ride the last few miles conservatively, no risks, but then Wham again! 2 cows standing in the middle of the trail. OK this is not good. I have 23 AGer’s right behind me and I have to stop and deal with these damn cows. So what do I do?
Scream SANKY at the top of my lungs….they run away but the earth was shaking, I almost had a marlow right there. I am clear to pass, for now.
Ride out the last few miles, back is killing me, legs are deciding whether or not to cramp up, I’m starving, weather starts to move it. Finish lap 3 in 1:56/5:30. Done!
Post race: limp to my car, pretty delirious at this point. need water bad. Find the beer tent, Ice cold Dales Pale Ale will do just fine. Stand there for a few minutes because I can’t muster the effort to walk yet. Watch a few others finish and they do the same, I think to myself damn…he looks rough! But then remember I look just as beat up.
Thunderstorms move in, really bad thunderstorms., I feel bad for the racers still out on course because there are A LOT of them. Having flashbacks to 24hrs of Enchanted forest, where WB ensured me it never rains in New Mexico, expect when I’m in town. It rained dumped for 10 straight hours. Figured I would just pack it up and head out, not worth staying to wait it out and wait for post race awards. Need to wash this chocolate/cow dung mess off my face before someone notices.
Final thoughts: solid race course, great event. Need to work on the nutrition plan a bit better for Breck 100 and Leadville 100. Still should have stayed in bed and drank 20 Pabsts the night before. Turns out I placed 3rd/21, 8 minutes from 2nd and 20 mins from 1st. would have gotten a podium shot and some hardware but oh well, I don’t need any more apple/cinnamon gels that I think are gross anyways. The socks would have been cool though. *need nutrition plan: talk to byyny/breyer/sankoff, again. Next up: maybe a Vail Mountain Games trail run next weekend or Xterra Curt Gowdy in a few weeks. And that entire large pizza of course.
ALSO: Matt Morgan finished 7th out of 39 in the Men’s 40-49 AG of the PV Derby’s XC (44 miles) race;