I had a decent time racing the marathon nationals. I finished 8th place in my age category, just 5 minutes off the podium times. It was 55 miles of twisty, dusty single track, never really climbing that much, with about 6,000' of total gain. It felt slightly harder than Leadville, mostly because the course was more technical than I'm used to.
Descending isn't my strong suit, so I got passed a lot. I didn't want to risk crashing early on. The trails were so much fun to ride, but I couldn't really find my rhythm till the second half of the race.
My start wasn't that good, and I knew going into the first few miles that this was definitely a B/C race for me. I think I rode too much the past couple of days. At the start I got passed immediately by my entire group, but I knew it was going to be a long day so I let them go, hoping to reel them back in later.
My legs were fatigued the entire time, but I was happy that my nutrition was really dialed in. I went with a CamelBak instead of bottles, which was a huge help considering how twisty and bumpy the trays were, making it difficult to drink otherwise.
Now 8th might sound like a good placing, but it was out of just 12 racers. The competition was hard, considering it was a nationals race. My overall time fairs pretty well, but I knew I could have done slightly better if I had saved a bit more energy leading up to the race.
Again, just happy to have finished it, and to have my race-day nutrition dialed in; not eating too much in the morning, not going with an energy drink, just eating GU Chomps and maybe a Clif bar at the end.
Parking lot full of mountain bikes/bikers, all getting ready to suffer for four hours.
My friend, Ryan, just destroyed the course and competition, coming in 2nd place in his age category. The kid is insane! He also won both Downieville's XC and enduro events last month.