2016 Casper Mountain Bike Challenge

The race a 8 hour mountain bike race on Casper Mountain put on by the good folks at Casper Sports Alliance and Fat Fish Racing. Our friend Adam talked us into it and we though what the heck, drive 6.5 hours and go camping and racing … right?

My plan was to go at a heart rate of 125 beats a minute (slow) and make note of my pace. Let’s say it would be like 9.5 mph. And wait for someone to lap me. If no one lapped me at hour 4 then start ramping my speed up and seeing what shook out. But if someone lapped me then I would follow them and note their speed. Say it would be something in the ballpark of 11.5 mph. I would follow until 4 hours to go. I would then attack and get out of sight and then ride at the difference in our speed plus their original speed (11.5-9.5+9.5=13.5 mph). If I could finish the ride at say 13.5 mph then I could catch up and win.

Reality is though I don’t train any longer and so my mind has not figured that part out yet. Another reality is that this track was so much fun I blew the “going real slow” part and was just riding along. I kind of knew at the start I would just ride all day and be good with that. Even if I would roll in last. Maybe I would even run into “snuggles”. that would be cool. And lap her … HA!

The start went pretty well. Went a little harder than I wanted but nothing to get all tired about. Actually committed to slow things down a bit for the next 3 hours to see what shakes and wait for someone to lap me. And I felt like I wasn’t going to roll in last because I was feeling OK. And Mo was right behind me. I kept seeing her a couple switchbacks behind. Holy cow … she was going fast.

The next lap I noted my pace was 9.5 mph. Hey, just like I figured. I wondered how long before I would get lapped and figured that would not happen in the first four hours. Really the course was ONLY 7.3 miles BUT it was super twisty so it seemed longer then it was. Super fun. I just couldn’t slow down enough. way too much fun. This was no race … it was a fun fest.

Lap 3 My pace was down to 8.9 mph slow enough to keep the heart rate at a “sitting on a couch” pace. Super rested. But on the downs I would let it rip … and maybe a little too much. My next lap things would unravel.

I was at mile 24.5 when it happened. Lap 4 on my 9 mph pace. It leveled out and descended to a rocky turn. I let it fly. Then BOOM! I waited … made the corner …. And then felt it. A soft rear tire. Shoot, I ripped the sidewall of my paper thin Fat B Nimbles (never get those again). I pulled over and started the repair. Looked for the rip and found nothing that bad so I stuffed a tube in it and screwed on the cartridge. All the while keeping my eye out for who was going to lap me. This was my chance to chase. Did I mention I was riding a fatty. And that it slipped my mind a simple air cartridge wouldn’t air up the darn thing up? AND … here is the kicker … forgot to put a pump in my frame bag. Yea, I got in enough air to keep the rim about a centimeter above the ground.

I couldn’t ride it and made the decision to walk back to my pit and then start the lap over. Bummer! So I walked. And walked. Cut through the woods and spotted the radio tower above camp. It was still a way out. In the end it was a full mile back. I pumped up the tire but it was too late and my previous attempt to ride had pinched it … it went down again. Shit … ripped that one out and searched around until I found a skinny 29er tube. Tried that and it exploded inside the cavernous fat bike tire. Then I remembered I had a full 4 inch fat bike tube in the car and got it. Now this thing would work but one must realize it is heavy. If anyone has ever held a Surly fat bike tube they would understand. It was like stuffing a tire with sand.

I secretly did not want to ride any more. I wanted to quit. I mean why would I want to ride a bike that felt sluggish. I really did not want to heft that thing up the climbs. As I started back out Mo came into the pit exhausted and ready for a rest. I explained my situation and rolled away. It didn’t feel all that bad. Someone busted by me and I realized it was the leader. I gave chase. Probably 2 laps down but whatever.

I finally finished my 4th lap and started on my fifth. That entire ordeal took an extra 45 minutes. Holy Cow! I lost the leader and busted out lap 5 in 49 minutes. I think I was actually starting to get cooked. Then the cramps came and I slowed to a crawl.

I’ve been here before and just whittled away at the pedaling until I was on a 8th lap with 30 minutes until the cutoff time. Well I don’t know why I would want to stay out under the sun and suffer but I went for it to grab another lap. Darn cramps stopped me on the climb and just missed the time cut off.

8 (er… 8.5) laps is not too bad … right? And Mo came in for 7 laps and 4th place. She was glad it was over and I started to realize just how close she was to actually beating me on this go around. Way to go Mo.

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