It wasn't my longest ride, or my ride with the most vert, but sure was the hardest ride I've done! Crossed the finish line without puncturing or crashing! Official time 5:17:41. 90th overall male (out of 233); 27th in my Age Group (out of 79)
I drew bib #87, to which I'm attributing my fantastic luck for the day. I started a little too fast, but I was doing pretty well until the Switzerland Trail descent wrecked my hands. After that, the ascent of that same section of trail later in the race completely demoralized me. As if it wasn't already difficult enough to find a line, there were ATVs, jeeps and racers from the other courses (?) coming down the trail adding to the challenge. Among the chunkiest terrain I've ridden; impossible to keep any momentum. I had a really hard time eating and drinking bc I felt like I couldn't take my hands off the bars, causing me to get behind on both nutrition and hydration. Consequently, the last hour was not great. I deployed a Skratch Labs HyperHydration at the last aid station bc I could feel the early stages of charlie horses in my glutes and at least one of my calves, which bailed me out for a while, but it was just delaying the inevitable. I finished, but I didn't feel great, and I wouldn't have been able to go much longer. My compatriot, who drove us to the race, DNF'd and had a pretty bad day, so I was just happy to have finished (he actually sold his gravel bike after this race, claiming it showed him that gravel isn't for him). I can't imagine I'll want to race this course again unless they remove that Switzerland Trail section or I get a hardtail.