Raid on Sherwood Peak
June 10, 2013
Decided last minute to head up to Ft. Bragg today for the Raid on Sherwood Peak, a relatively unknown race that started last year put on by Murphy Mack, whose is known for his refreshingly unusual and difficult events. It is a pure gravel grinder, a dirt road race with zero singletrack, about 50 miles with 6,000ft of climbing. Endless fireroads don't really appeal to me, but hey, a tough race in an area as beautiful as Mendocino? Sounded worth checking out.
Start line. Yep, about what I expected - maybe 25 people showed up, super informal and low key, and after a few words about safety (i.e. don't get lost or you probably won't ever be found), we were off into the misty rain.
I did a hard ride the day before to try and intentionally wear myself out for this race - I wanted to see how I'd respond to starting a tough race like this with tired legs. Good training for CTR as I'll be riding on tired legs for many days straight! Legs felt good at the start, and I was mixing it up with the front group for a while.
About 10 of us took a wrong turn and ended up doing an extra 3 miles or so. Still felt pretty good as we hit the start of the main climb, a long, 20 mile climb up to the top of 3,000ft Sherwood Peak. A couple people went off the front and I couldn't follow, as my legs were feeling the effort from the day before. Just tried to keep a steady pace and fight off boredom up the long climb - clouds and trees obscured most of the views and I was stuck just staring at a fireroad for a couple hours.
My view for most of the day
Finally got to the top, looking forward to bombing the downhill. Passed a couple people on cyclocross bikes and I thought I might be in 4th place. Not much else happened, I just pushed as hard as I could back to the finish line and came in at a bit over 4 hours for 4th place. Overall, definitely worth the trip up as Mendocino is beautiful and it was good training, but not necessarily my favorite type of event - more of a road race than mountain biking.
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