First race of the year is in the books. After a few beers Thursday night at a friend’s birthday party Travis Brown convinced me a road trip down to El Paso for the puzzler would be a fun idea. I had been training for a couple of weeks and thought it would be a good chance to get out of the snow and do a little Mnt. Bike riding. We stopped off at the White Mesa Trail for a little training and a chance for me to remember how to ride a mnt bike. This is an amazing area and if you get a chance check it out. Now I heard the puzzler was rocky but had no idea what I was in store for. After pre-riding a little of the coarse my options were to either volunteer as a marshal or head to the local bike shop for the biggest tires I could find. Luckily I found some tractor tires and my hard tail was ready to go. Race time, with Evan Plews and Travis Brown along with a few other fast folks I knew a training race may be out of the question. Luckily things started out mellow for the first five minutes! We quickly had a selection of 6 riders and it was game on. Travis and Evan were riding tempo up front with the rest of us hanging on for dear life over the first big climb.
Over the top it was Travis and Evan followed by Santiago, a kid from crazy cat cycles, me and Cameron on the single speed. After about 300 yards of semi smooth boulders the trail quickly turned into a screefield decent that made my fork flex in ways I never new possible. At the first aid station Cameron blew through it followed by Bato from Arizona. The rest of the race was a blur of GU, FRS, Cliffbars, rocks, rocks, rocks, rocks, more rocks and rocks, oh and cramps. I hung on for 7th overall and was 1st in the master’s class.
All in all it was a great race and labeled the toughest marathon to date by Travis. The new sections and distance they added makes this a true test and a must do on the crazy hard race list. Suspension would be a huge + and maybe a few more traning days instead of ski days!