Another year, another weekend getting roped into doing a 24 hour race. Some friends in Golden were desperate for another rider to join their 4 person team. I know that a 5 person team presents enough suffering as it is and it would be even harder with one less team member, though I did ride for almost 6hrs on that 5 person team. The trails in Golden beckoned and even the initial forecast didn't look so bad with just a slight bit of rain to "keep the dust down", I reasoned.
I'd ridden a loop like that in the Mountain Shadows area before, so I wasn't too worried about pre-riding the course as I would probably get in more riding than I wanted over the course of the weekend.
First lap, off the tag, our leader had a wonderful lap and I tagged off in 2nd, not too far behind the leader (Leighton). I set out hammering up the new Schaecher trail climb (that will eventually go up Mt. 7) and along the extremely flowy trail above the gravel pit and rodeo grounds. Seriously awesome trailbuilding going on in Golden! Chipping away at his lead, I caught the leader at the top of a downhill and went ahead, but crashed over the bars right after with him right on my wheel. Stunned, but no dripping blood, bike seemed ok but the bars were twisted. Strava says I spent over 1.5minutes collecting myself and getting my bike going haha! I got back into the groove for the rest of the fun lap, and still managed to throw down a good time before tagging off to Pierre.
Back in my tent, I could hear rain drops starting to fall. For our team's 2nd go through the rotation, we were going to do 2 laps at a time to give each other more rest between laps. The course was littered with rocks that would be slick in the rain, but I focused on riding smooth and nailed the section that brought me down on lap 1. Soaked after one "hot" lap and another good lap on a course that was deteriorating, I headed to sleep.
Up in the middle of the night for 2 night laps. The rain was still going strong. Not something I was looking forward to, but I just wanted to get it over with. Lots of anticipation. Then the tag comes. The climbs were slick and the trail was one slick puddle. All I could think of was the grit getting blasted into the bearings of my bike, and my brake pads that were already low on life. The kilometers slowly ticked by. It was amazing how some technical sections would sneak up to me in the dark and I managed to ride without much fuss. Nearing the end of the lap, I thought, "what the heck, what's another lap?" and my final lap ticked by. Time to crawl back into the tent to get some sleep.
We had the race locked up, and er fortunately our laps were taking longer than 1hr now, so there wasn't time for everyone to get in one last lap. I politely declined and hopped in the car and drove home from another crazy weekend of mountain bike racing.
The root and rock laden course is punishing in the dry and in the wet, quite a contrast from the speedway that is the Canmore course.