85 miles is a long ride on a road bike. It's still only 85 miles if you're on a mountain bike, but it sure seems like a lot further on a mountain bike. Yesterday I did the Talon Trails Excruciation Exam. It used to be called the Torture Test. Anyway....
It starts at Bluff Creek Ranch in Warda, TX for a 6-7 mile sprint on the mountain bike trail there. It's actually after a lemans style running start to our bikes. Then it takes a bunch of back roads that are a mix of blacktop and dirt/gravel to RockyHill Ranch in Smithville, TX. This stretch of road riding was a good 1.5 hours and was predominately on gravelly washboardy roads. Once we got to Rocky Hill it was about 20+ miles of everything that they have to offer, and most of it is rocky, rooty, singletrack mountain biking. 20 miles later and it was back to the roads to head back to Warda...but a little less gravel and a little less distance. About 3 more miles of riding at Warda, and you've got between 83 and 85 miles all on the mountain bike.
Edit...I just found this on a forum. It's an elevation profile, but it is missing several miles. Apparently, when you loop back on yourself so many times under trees, the GPS sort of gets confused. This person's computer said 81 miles, but the 1st female's computer said 84.
5:30:32 later, and I crossed the finish line 8th overall, 6th in the Open Class. It was a tough day. Just about everyone who finished crossed the line saying how tough the race was, but that it was also a lot of fun.
It was probably pretty good training even for triathlons as the first 30-40 minutes were all 'on the rivet' meaning that we were going full throttle. After that I settled down a little bit, but when you're in the trails, you can never just put it on autopilot! Once I got to the roads, I really tried to push the pace and break up our group of about 12...I had some help from Keith "Big Red" Gray as well. Anyway, we broke it up after the first check point, but that was mostly due to the fact that a few of us got out quick and forced the pace. I lost a bit of time at Rocky Hill, but played it safe, rode in control, and banked on my road training to get me home pretty quick once we hit the last stretch of road/gravel riding. The gamble worked and I passed about 5 people on the way in.
A fun day that left me tired, sore, and generally 'worked over.' Might see me at an Xterra Race next season.