Aaron Johnson | True Grit!

True Grit!

February 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

March 21, 2013

A hundo in March??? What the hell, why not!  Made a little video of the race:

Race morning was dark and slightly chilly - we started pre-dawn, barely light enough to ride without a light.  The start was pretty chill, maybe 30 people racing the 100-mile (a couple hundred people would start 2 hours later for the 50-mile), and I kept a comfortable pace somewhere mid-pack for the first 10 miles of fireroad climbs.  But as soon as we hit the singletrack, it was ON - I passed a ton of people, and found a pretty good rhythm chasing the lead pro woman from Team CF, who I could barely keep up with both uphill and down.  We blasted through the first aid station without stopping and hit the Zen trail - crazy technical, I had no idea what to expect.  I was able to ride pretty much all of it, passing a bunch more people on the ledgy, technical climbs, trading places back and forth with the pro lady.  I was buzzing, this trail was amazing! Attacking a trail this hard at race pace without pre-riding it made for some close calls and narrow escapes but I kept it upright.  Team CF girl and I arrived at the aid station together, grabbed a couple bottles and some gels, and I took to chasing her up the climb to the next section.  She distanced me here and I thought I wouldn't see her again.  I rode the next couple hours alone, a long, flowy, singletrack loop through white and red desert canyons and plateaus, simply beautiful.


I was still feeling strong and making good time through the techy, fun Barrel Rolls loops, where I managed to catch Team CF girl, and we took turns leading back through the dusty fireroads to the start of the 2nd lap.  Halfway done - now I was starting to hurt!  I was able to keep pace with Team CF girl for another hour or so, but she slowly slipped away from me during the big outer loop.  I lost a good bit of steam here, around mile 65, and was starting to suffer big time in the afternoon desert heat.  I'd been eating and drinking well all day, but was approaching the upper limit of what I'd been able to train for.  Barrel Roll loop 1 was a bitch, all the techy stuff was starting to get annoying after 7 hours of it.  And then disaster struck at the start of Barrel Roll loop 2 - broken rear derailleur cable! Shit!! 20 miles left and I'm stuck in the hardest gear! I managed to screw in the outer limit screw all the way, pushing the chain a couple cogs inwards, which would at least allow me to shift between my 3 front chainrings.  I was pissed, and felt totally invigorated, not tired any more! I crushed those last 20 miles on my triple speed, hoping to catch Team CF lady but finished just a few minutes after her.  8 hours, 43 minutes.  Pretty satisfied with that time, considering my mechanical breakdown and early-season fitness.  Crazy fun, brutal course - I often felt I was competing against the trail itself, not other people.  Wouldn't mind doing it again next year, but that 24 hours of driving, not so much........


Race done, dead, feel amazing and destroyed at the same time, EAT SO MUCH FOOD, beer, campfires.  Big shout out to my man Sean, who opted for the 100-miler after not being on a bike for a month, AND riding a 6.5-in travel DH bike with flat pedals!  So awesome. Next day, Sean and I did a pretty sweet little hike/scramble up a wall of the Virgin River Canyon before the long drive back to SF.  Awesome trip, I really really need to make it to the desert more often.



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