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What a great weekend. I’m home from Hotter’n Hell 2013 with a gold medal and a great 100k ride under my belt. I met my goal of racing (and winning) the Cat 3 19-29 MTB Race and hung out and rode with some awesome friends on the road.

THE MTB RACE 

This was the event I’ve been training for and targeting before Cross Season. It was the first MTB race I finished after DNF’ing my previous two. I spent 30 minutes on the bike warming up before the race, though I forgot my rollers so had to roll around the MPEC area.

There were 20 people in my wave (19-29 Cat 3) and due to registration order I managed a first row call-up. I made a conscious decision to start in a high gear and when the gun went off I managed to sprint for the hole shot. There was a long (300+yds) start “loop”
before hitting single track and after being first out of the gate I was first on the single track with a ~30sec lead. I managed to keep the lead through my wave seeing the chasing riders a few times but always holding them off; though I was passed by a 30+ rider 9 miles into the 11 mile race. In the end I won my age-group/race by 40 seconds and 5th overall in Cat 3. 

The course was extremely loose and mostly flat. There were some fun technical features (suspension bridges, rocky climbs and descents, raised boardwalks and lots of sand) with a few short, steep and loose climbs. It’s very fun trail to ride and the course was well marked come race day. I ended up running my tires at 28psi and at some points wish I had gone lower. I crashed twice in the race but don’t think I lost anytime getting back up and going.

The support from Cadence Cyclery was great. They had 3 large RVs at the event and I was able to get a shower and change, get some recovery protein and rest a little before the results were up for protest.

THE 100k

What a difference a year makes. Last year I SAG’d out of this ride 48miles in after bonking. I wasn’t prepared and paid the price. This year I rode with a great group of friends and finished with ease. We weren’t fast and we stopped a lot but since we were all doing the ride for fun we didn’t care. I have no doubt I could have done a fast 100 mile with some other friends but I have no regrets about doing the 100k as a “fun ride”.

As always the ride is extremely well supported with the best volunteers anyone could ask for. The finish line village was great with live music and reasonable beer prices. The Consumer Expo had some great deals and products (if you missed the Cadence Cyclery tire deals…). There’s a reason 12,000+ people come to this ride, if you haven’t make plans for next year.