Just some thoughts and experiences from a mountain bike endurance racer who likes to ride and race his single speed mountain bike a long long way on remote single track in the mountains and desert.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sedona Big Friggin Loop, 2011

The 2011 Sedona (not so) big friggin loop race was much shorter this year.  I finished 1st out of the singlespeeders and 5th overall out of all the geared bikes.  Here are the stats http://connect.garmin.com/activity/74057252  Course was way to short for my preference but it was still fun and Sedona riding is great.  I tend to do much better in longer races.  I think next year it will be back to a longer version.

Since the race length was only 38 miles I took 3 water bottles with Hammer HEED, Some Perpetuem Solids and a few packs of energy food.  My Trek was setup extremely lightweight with a Schwalbe Racing Ralph on the rear and I went with the Schwalbe Nobby Nic on the front which cornered great on the course. Gearing was 32x19.  There were definitely some spots where a 21 would have been nice.  Overall I though my setup worked out great!

We left Dolores after work and arrived in Phoenix at around 11:30pm.  I took my truck into the Ford dealership there for an appointment I had previously made to have a Nav system put in which was scheduled to take 4 hours.  They gave me a convertible mustang as a loaner during the repair which seemed nice since it was over 80 degrees there.  Two days later they were still working on it and informed me that they needed to keep it over the weekend.  This created a predicament since I had to get my bike and equipment to Sedona for the race.  I ended up dissembling the bike and cramming it into the back seat and the trunk along with my gear and leaving Phoenix at 5am for the race.

When I arrived in Sedona I got a few strange looks from other riders and I could tell they were wondering "Who is that goofy guy with the top down when it was 50 degrees with his race bike in the back seat.  Does he know what kind of race this is?"  After explaining the situation and a few laughs as my expense we headed over to the Bike and Bean bike shop in Oak Creek for the start.

At the beginning we immediately jumped onto some great singletrack I had never done.  After cresting the top there was a gnarly decent!  At one point I wasn't sure if I was going to get stopped in time for a turn because I was sliding out of control on steep rocks while squeezing the brakes which seemed to be doing nothing.  After going through Red Rocks state park Dave Burdette and I hit a long road section where the geared bikes left me while I felt like my cadence was 120 or higher.  I ended up riding the remaining distance with a Dave Burdette who is a super strong rider from Chama NM.

Navigating the great singletrack route was challenging with the amount of turns and the GPS was invaluable!  At least until it quite functioning properly.  The GPS was showing a right turn where there wasn't one available.  After zooming out I realized that for some reason the route had a straight line back to the start and the last portion of the route was not available.  Bummer!

After that we had to navigate using old school techniques like looking for the bike tracks and tire tread prints from the guys in front of us and navigating via trail names and routes from memory and from previous Sedona rides.  We even got some route advice from a couple of guys from Mountain Flyer magazine who were out doing an article on the race.  This slowed us down considerably but we ended up finding the remaining route rolling into the Bike and Bean in about 4 hours and 20 minutes.

At the Bike and Bean we had Beer and Pizza on there patio with a lot post race talk.  Good times!  Scott Morris from Tucson Arizona got the win with the fastest geared bike time.  Nice job Scott!

Then I loaded up the bike into the completely impractical race vehicle and headed back with the top down looking forward to the next race.