A little night (and daylight) ride
Ahh, Vapor Trail 125. Time for a little tour of the mountains to the west of Salida. The Leader and Pit Boss were both in attendance for this legendary event. As it was said in the pre-race meeting, this is a "fun" ride - only some people have fun by going as fast as they can and beating everyone else. Yep. Everyone has a different definition of fun. Most people wouldn't consider 125 miles with 17k feet of climbing to be fun under any conditions. Yet there we were, ready to enjoy a little "fun" night ride.
The Leader's version of fun was to get into the front pack on the roll out, hanging the with fastest guys. It wouldn't last, but that's not the point. As soon as the race hit the right hand turn to Blanks Cabin, it meant The Leader could attempt to employ an "out of sight, out of mind" strategy. In the darkness of night, that was a little easier! Her goal was to ride as hard as she could, hopefully at the front of the middle of the pack. There were still plenty of star gazing chances in the long climbs, but The Leader kept focused on the goal. With the help of some tunes, she made it to the summit of Monach pass in good shape and in a great time. Alas, the energy was quickly gone as she started the legendary Monach Crest Trail. Fun turned into a death march up the Poncha Springs Road. And there were still miles left to ride! Luckily, some of those miles included the descent of Silver Creek and The Leader was able to keep it together and make up some lost time entering Rainbow trail. In the end, she finished in 17:55, in the front of the women's pack and middle of the pack overall.
As for the Pit Boss. He was racing for glory and redemption after the Vapor Trail 75 last year. And he met his goal, finishing in fine shape in the middle of the pack. His version of fun however involved the Vapor Trail 125 Enduro - a little known event included in the primary race. Like with most Enduros, there were plenty of self transfers between the descents and timed segments. Only one timed segment counted, though - the one that involved 125 miles... And the self transfers had some pretty stiff climbing - maybe 17k feet of climbing! But the climbing didn't disuade him from riding his favorite full suspension bike and railing the downhills. The Pit Boss was also participated in two exciting foot races during the Vapor Trail 125 - the Old Monarch Pass 5k and the Poncha Springs 5k. Pretty sure he won both of those races!
As is typical of races such as the Vapor Trail 125, both The Leader and Pit Boss were swearing "never again" during the race. How long did that last? Well The Leader was already plotting for 2016 Monday morning. Pit Boss took a little longer - Thursday evening and he was thinking about a different version of redemption. Beating The Leader at her endurance game! We shall see what happens...