" 'It's longer than an elephant's penis', that's what they were putting on all the posters around town," says the unofficial race organizer of the unofficial race, the Crested Butte Classic Dave Ochs. "I wonder what all the people in town are going to say?" And he chuckles.... Dave is a good biker with some crazy chops and a wicked sense of humor. He was MCing the finish of the Grand Traverse Ski race and it made all the pain go away. We were all sitting around Piezans having free pizza and Fat Tire beer compliments of Mr. Wiens and Gunnison Trails after the Thursday night mt bike race. Dave W. is the main character in an upcoming movie by the way .... So Dave Ochs asks Dave Wiens if he's doing the Classic. Dave says "Naw, We're making new trails at Hartmans on Sunday and I have to work on that on Saturday." Then Dave Ochs asks me if I'm doing it...... I say, "I might, been slacking for the past month." OK I'd ridden my bike a total of 16 hrs since Leadville Aug 15th. I was a bit burned out and had been playing with the kids and working more as school started.
So what is the Crested Butte Classic? You show up at the 4-way stop in Crested Butte. Sign your name on the list, listen to Dave give the route description and then roll on the hwy south on at neutral start. There's no entry fee, course markings, rider numbers... you just check in as you come into town after each lap and at the finish. Each lap takes you through a different set of classic CB trails.
So I decided I'd do it and keep it at a moderate speed, nothing too fast so I could finish and live to tell the tale.
I showed up and parked in my usual place and up pulls Gary Pierson and Chris Dickey. Gary is doing it all and Chris is doing it as a team. The temp out is 24F. brrrrr.
I put my GPS on this ride to get the actual stats... Here they is .
So off we go at a very moderate pace--probably because it was so cold. About 55 solo riders and others doing part or a team version. I began shivering pretty good after about 4 mi. I had on a vest, arm-warmers, jacket, and jersey and regular bib shorts. Dave O's wife was waiting at the first climb to pick up jackets. We turned up Brush Creek and then hit Teocolli ridge trail. This is a steep 2000' climb. I dumped my jacket. By the middle part of the climb, my fingers began to work again. As the sun came up and we got to the top, I took off my vest and arm warmers.
Down we came a quick stream crossing (got my toes wet yuk--it was still pretty cold) and then up strand bonus and down strand hill. Then back to town along the trail by the high way. 30 mi and lap one done! I had eaten a bit much for breakfast so figured my Glucose was a tad high so I stopped at the car and checked my sugar. 290? So I took a unit of insulin. I then skipped my next feeding (every 37:33 min my watch beeps for a feeding of a gu or something). I put on my light camelback as the next stage got me really dehydrated last year. I grabbed a small water bottle and more food. ~2:50 to the check in.
The second lap goes up past Peanut lake north of CB and out the Lower loop trail. This is an easy trail for the tourists then hits Slate river (dirt) road. This is pretty mellow until the old town of Pittsburg where it climbs up and up and up the Slate d'Huez for about 2500'. This is about 18-20% grade to the turn off to the 403 trail. The 403 is a bit tricky single track with steep descent to just above Gothic on the Schofield pass road. Now just another 1500' to the start of the 401 trail. This got a bit muddy in the trees climbing up to the top and the tires were covered with thick mud.... A guy was counting racers and let me know I was 13th. Not bad for a mellow pace.... Many guys were hurting pretty good at this point. I reached the top with Charlie Nuttleman-One of the Nuttleman twins. I had to pee so I told him to go down first. The 401 trail is really just a cool trail. You traverse across the side of a high ridge with views everywhere as you scream down. I hit a rock and heard air screaming out of my tires.. So I hopped off on the narrow edge of the trail and fix it. Blast it I get passed by 3 guys. Two I had passed up the climb. So about 4-5 mins the tire is good to go. And down to the road out. Here beavers had dammed up the crossing. This was supposed to have been cleared out but they were evidently some busy beavers and the crossing was a thigh deep trot... Now you hit the Schofield pass road skipping some single track trail. And it's a fast ride back to Crested Butte with a couple small hills. I get back and put two new bottles on and some food. My Glucose is looking good at 100-150 (I forget). I came past the check in at about 3:40 for this lap and 67 mi total. I was getting slower and slower on the hills... But the sun was still out and it's a beautiful day.
The last lap heads up Kebler pass to the town of Irwin. There's Nuttleman on the climb. I just hang behind him as a million cars go by on the dusty road. Nice! And there's a stiff headwind. We climbed the grade slowly it seemed to me, especially as Kerri Nelson comes screaming by us at the top. She is doing it as a team so is fresh. She has won several prestigious ultra hard running races. And she is a Western State College graduate. We headed to the start of the Dyke trail single track and on the downhills I can easily stay ahead of Kerri but as soon as we head up again she hammers past. The trail is mainly down hill to the other side of Kebler pass. Really a sweet trail even if it is 80 miles into the ride. Screaming fast single track through aspens with leaves turning yellow and falling on the trail. We hit Kebler pass road and the last climb of the day. The road is steeper on this side. I spun an easy gear up to the new Wagon Trail that cuts off the top of the pass and adds a bit of single track as you follow this trail half way back down the other side of Kebler. Finally I hit the paved Kebler pass road and the easy coast back to town. A total time of about 9:45 with 18 min for stopping at the car and fixing the flat. I think I was in 9th place. Last year I had done it in just over 9 hrs....