Sunday, August 5, 2012

Race Report: Pierre's Hole 50/100 mile

This weekend we journeyed to Grand Targhee ski resort near the Idaho/Wyoming border

to have another go at the Pierre's Hole 50/100 mountain bike race.

Last year, I raced the 50 mile option and Drew attempted the 100, but had to drop out due to painful ligaments.

This year we coerced our teammate Stephanie to join us for the drive. Also racing from the team were Ellen, Karl, and Alison. Alison's husband Erik, despite a recently dislocated thumb, also raced. Only Drew and Ellen were crazy enough to attempt the 100 mile option. Believe me, the 50 was hard enough!

We checked into the Teewinot Lodge on Friday afternoon.

I had intended to get in a quick spin, but instead we just goofed off at the resort

Before meeting up with cousin Milissa, Christian, and Niki for dinner.

Drew and Christian each ordered two entrees. You can do that when fueling for a big race.

Race day started early for Drew; the gun went off at 6:15 a.m.

 Drew at the start. He is the 7th from the front in this picture with a blue jersey and lime green hydration pack. Picture from the race organizers.

Stephanie and I started at a lovely 10:15. By that time, Drew was already on his second of four laps.
Me #218 and Stephanie #211. Picture from the race organizers.

I learned my lesson last year to not start at the very back and start slow. This year I was about mid pack and pushed the pace a bit so that I would not get stuck behind a lot of slow descenders. It worked and I ripped down the new single track and into Mill Creek with a fast crowd. Last year, Rick's Basin was my favorite section of the course, but this year, I think I loved the long fast descent  into Mill Creek the most. The Lightning Ridge and Colter's Escape (probably named after John Colter's famous escape from the Blackfeet Indians in 1808) trails are pretty similar to our home town PC trails - just enough rocks and roots to make it super fun.

Picture from the race organizers of random racers snaking down Colters Escape single track.

The next section of the course is 3 miles of paved road climb, which I usually avoid at all costs, but I have to admit a smooth road felt pretty good after the rough descent, and it gives your brain and butt a much needed break.
Picture from the race organizers of random racers we know showing the road climb with the iconic Teton Range in the background. The Teton Range formed between six and nine million years ago and is the youngest range of the Rocky Mountains.

Cousin Milissa caught this shot of me just before the descent after the road climb. 
Then it was down a nasty 4WD road to a private ranch down in Teton Valley. Of course that means you have to climb back up, and that climb is a bugger! It was at the top of this climb that Stephanie caught me. I cheered her on as she passed me and vowed to ride my own race and not get caught up in trying to hold her wheel.

The last section of the course is a big loop out on Rick's Basin's perfect single track trails. I finished the first lap in 2:38 and headed out for lap #2. The addition of a new climb up single track at the start of the 2nd lap was supposed to add 20 minutes (4.3 miles and 400+ feet of climbing compared to 2011), so I figured lap 2 would take me 3 hours. The fact that it took me 3:19 was proof that I slowed down a lot in the second lap. The second lap was OK though. To be sure, I felt leg fatigue and my right eye went blurry as usual, but mentally I was mostly there throughout and I had no leg cramps! My goal this year was to finish in under 6 hours and in good health, meaning minimal or no cramping and no bonking like last year. To that end, I throttled back on the climbs a little bit, didn't stop at the aid stations very long, and ate consistently. My food and drink intake for the day consisted of 4 servings of Hammer Sustained Energy, 2 mini Snickers, 2 bottles of Carborocket, about 9 Hammer Endurolyte tablets, a handful of potato chips, a Coke, and about 80 ounces of water.

As I came through the resort area on lap 2 at about mile 42, Alison cheered me on. She had dropped out because the massive amount of time racing and riding over the past month had taxed her reserves and she just didn't have 50 hard miles in her.

At the last aid station, I caught up to Drew! He was in great spirits at mile 67 and was determined to finish. I gave him a hug and then headed into Rick's Basin in pretty good shape, but I was ready to be done. Finally, I crossed the finish line right at 6 hours.  Considering my time of 5:21 last year plus an extra 20 minutes for the additional single track, I was considerably slower than last year, but I sure felt better afterward and had met my goal.

Here is my Garmin track. My average heart rate this year was 149 bpm; last year it was 156. I burned 2240 calories, road 51.3 miles, and climbed 7800 feet. I ended up in 9th place out of 27 women 50-mile geared-bike finishers. 

I waited for about 10 minutes for Drew to cross the start/finish to see him out on his last lap and give him some ibuprofen.  Again, he was in pretty good spirits.

But I was in better spirits because I was done!  Stephanie had finished just before me, so we made a mad dash for the shower.

And headed out to enjoy the post-race Mexican food and micro brew on tap with Christian and Milissa until it was time to head over to the camping area to see Drew through the last aid station.  We ended up seeing Ellen through first, but her pit crew had her covered.

And a few minutes later along came my man.

He was still smiling at mile 92 and had the will power to refuse the beer Christian was trying to give him.

It wouldn't be long now until he came around to the finish line.  Just enough time for another beer and then to the finish to see him role across at 14 hours, 16 minutes!

He was awarded the coolest finisher's mug!

Hats off to Ellen and Drew for finishing the Pierre's Hole 100!  Here they are with race director Andy Williams, Christian's brother.

 We got some food in him before the beer.

 Proof that the trails were dusty.

What a great accomplishment by all our friends.  We will enjoy our mug and BPA-free freezable, flexible beer glass for years to come!


1 comment:

  1. Awesome results and enjoyed the blog, but you might want to reconsider taking Ibuprofen during endurance events...

    From a previous Ibuprofen crack junky.