2015 Grand Junction Off-Road

The GJOR is a 3 day festival/race weekend. I chose the 30 Grand Amateur race which started at 8:30 am on Saturday May 30. Riders needed to be there Friday for packet pick up and rider meeting. After packet pick up, I decided that it was important to get some nutrition and hydration to prepare for the big event. I had a couple brewskies at the festival, the better beer was clearly from Dirty Hippie brewing out of Palisade Colorado, I had the Imperial Red, fantastic. The other beer I had was a local beer from Kannah Creeek, a blonde is what I orderered, but I'm not sure that's what I got. Whatever it was, it was decent, but did not taste like a blonde. The nutrition was fantastic. I had a couple of awesome sushi rolls at Suehiro Japanese Restaurant right there on main street in the middle of the festival.

Race day. I got up early and made it down to the start/finish area to see off a couple of my teammates on the Hub Bicycle Shop/ Subaru Adventure Team on their quest for single speed greatness in the 40 Grand race that began at 7:30 am. About 45 minutes later we began lining up for the 30 Grand. Hydration would prove to be very important in this grueling desert ride. Luckily, a gentleman from MRP Drivetrain and Suspension Components was ready to help with a bottle of Makers Mark. I had a quick shot, then off to the races!

The race begins and ends in downtown GJ, so you start and end with a little over 3 miles of pavement. When you hit the Tabugache Trail, the climbing begins. It was difficult going, but I led 2 of my teammates up the trail. We often took the more difficult lines on this rocky ascent in order to avoid slower riders. At least 1 section was, as we were warned, very much unrideable. A little back and forth with my teammates and other riders in all the traffic as we climbed the Tabugache Trail for about 2.5 miles. As the climbing continued, which it did for another 3 miles, I began to put some distance on a few of my teammates, and caught up to another. We stayed together for a while, had some water at aid station 1. John had some trouble with his dropper post, but had what he needed as I went by. He would eventually pass me and go on to finish about 3 minutes before me. The climbing ended for a little while about 8 miles into the race.

Next was about a 4 mile descent on Twist and Shout and Butterknife. This, like most of the course, is very technical and a hell of a lot of fun. I tried to push as much as I could through this downhill. I passed some people, got passed by others, etc.. There were some nice features to catch a little air now and again, but the overall roughness of this terrain can really wear you out. After about another 4 miles of rolling trail, where I tried to eat some food and get hydrated, the next climb would begin.
Stopped at aid station 2 to have a couple snacks, drink some water, and fill up my bottle with some Skratch Labs. Next was a 4 mile doubletrack climb with about 1000 feet of elevation. Chatted with some fellow racers and consumed calories and fluids.

After a short DH to Little Park Road, then down the road back to the first aid station, we began the DH on Andy's Loop. Andy's is no joke! It's mostly downhill, but it has a couple of really nasty steep climbs. I had a lot of fun on this trail, and I would say that it was one of the most difficult on the course. By this time in the race, I was probably a little dehydrated, as leg cramps would begin to plague me for the rest of the race. Ran into more traffic as people were fatigued, and did I mention that this was VERY technical. I managed to make it through a couple more miles of singletrack before hitting the pavement again.

Ahhh, smooth pavement. I hate riding on the road, but with the leg cramps and fatigue, I was glad to see it. Only about 3.5 miles to go. Passing, getting passed, drinking the last of my fluids. Approaching the Colorado River, I passed a guy who was having some leg cramps too. Almost to downtown. Coming into the Main St. area I noticed that he was gaining on me. No way I was going to let him pass me on the home straight. I stood on the pedals and gave it hell! I heard them announce my name as I came down the last stretch. I finished 2 seconds ahead of him for 46th overall in a 133 person field. I placed 14th of 35 in the Mens Masters category at a time of 3:25:47. More beers and bullshitting at the Subaru Adventure Team tent. A great day!

The Old Guy...

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