I hadn't raced a bike for 3hrs since Herman road race last year. I'd been thinking of doing a few marathon races this spring/summer, so the 3hr-Bone Bender was a great target to test out the endurance legs.
The plans were somewhat mettled the week prior, with my bike developing an irritating rattle in the front, eventually leading to a diagnosis of a loose inertial valve in the fancy front shock (stupid moving parts), and an inability to fix the problem. But, my buddy green beans came through and offered his incredible 26-in YBB Moots. Since we're almost exactly the same size and weight, it was an easy decision to proceed with the plans.
Maggie came along for a night of camping followed by a day of racing. But since the race was in Lawrence, a stop for BBQ was required in KC:
We managed to get in with enough time to pre-ride the course and were totally surprised to find Clinton lake trails in superb conditions despite the a few a days of rain leading up to the race.
The race began with a LeMans start, normally something I enjoy. My plan was to test myself and see if I could keep up with the likes of Schottler, Bill Stolte, John Rines, and many more for the first lap.
I've been riding a ton of base miles this year, so I figured the 3hr race wouldn't be too ridiculous. Man, was I wrong. The hardest part for me was that there was hardly any climbing at all. Around 40-60% of the trail was rocky and technical, but generally the 9-ish mile lap was a hammer fest with almost no recovery. As mostly a single-speeder over the past few years who relies on going really hard for a few minutes, then recovering and spinning really fast, this was not something my body was used too.
We ran up a short hill to start, and then went for our bikes in a huge pile:
Unfortunately for me, there was another Moots a few bikes down from Green bean's bike. I grabbed the wrong one and proceeded to run for 50 yards to get out of the chaos and then realized I had the wrong bike. So much for a good start!
The first lap was slow and full of crashes. I went down once and got the seatpost twisted and forgot my multi-tool, so rode the rest of the race with a crooked seat. At the end of the first lap, John Rines and I ended up together and rode a steady and fast 2nd lap. I felt OK, but my HR was jacked super high the whole time. I just couldn't seem to relax. At the start of lap 3, I crashed again, dropped my chain, and my Garmin fell down a hill. So, I had to stop and collect myself before getting going again. John was gone. The rest of lap 3, my knee and ankle hurt and I started to get sore from the 2hrs of effort. Before heading back out for lap 4, I pulled the plug and decided to get some ice on my knee and call it a day.
Overall, an awesome weekend, with good friends, the wifey, and an amazing but painful day of singletrack!
3laps for the day: