We spent Labor Day weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We took the motorcycle and did a ton of sightseeing. Wall Drug, BadLands, Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, Sturgis, Etc.... I also took my bike for the Dakota Five-O.
Things got a little crazy on Saturday. We were on the motorcycle for close to 8 hours before finally making it to Spearfish for race registration. The line was a block long and it took well over an hour to get signed in. By the time we made it back to Deadwood it was 9 o'clock and we still had to eat dinner. A few hours later the alarm went off so we could double time it back to Spearfish for the 7:20 am race start.
500 racer lined up in Spearfish city park for the "neutral" ride out of town. Shortly out of town the "neutral" part quickly ended and the pace went up on some pretty long gravel road climbs. Right away I knew something wasn't right when I couldnt even stay with the lead group. I was fading and watching a big group ride away and we werent even to the singletrack yet. I must have entered the singletrack in the teens somewhere. I was still going backwards. After the first section of singletrack the trail opened back up to doubletrack and I moved past a few riders, Dejay Birtch was one of them, which I was happy about because he was just bragging about how his wagon wheels were such a huge advantage. I caught up to Mark Savery somewheres about this time. We were only a few miles in and I was thinking that my legs would come around at some point. At mile 10, Mark and I were still together somehow. We were yo-yo ing back and forth a lot but always seemed to come back together. Through the first feed zone we were told we were in 7th & 8th, 2 minutes off the lead. A huge suprise.
I still had only one speed and it wasnt all that fast. I decided to fuel up. Two bottle of Heed, two gels, and a bar were all consumed. By mile 15 my stomach was not happy with this and I started going backwards, fast. At mile 20 I was in 14th and 10 minutes off the leaders. I took on water and nothing else from Katie. By about mile 25 I was around 20th at best. I stopped for a bathroom break on the side of the trail, thinking about quitting. Downed some more water.
Mile 30 comes along and I get some more water. Suddenly the stomach is coming around. I ride with a singlespeed rider for a long descent and we catch a group. On the flats I go by. Then there is a huge downhill. By the bottom of the downhill ive caught three more and we get to the 40 mile checkpoint. I miss my bottle but im with 3 other riders, who I know were inside the top 10 so I decide to push on. A super long, steep climb is right after the checkpoint. Without really thinking I go to the front of our little group and start spinning up the climb. By the top of the climb ive dropped the three and have caught Kelly McGelky, who got second at 24hrs of Moab last year. Somehow ive made my way back towards the front.
No time to stop at the Bacon Station for bacon or PBR as I figure there are only about five miles left and maybe 4 miles of singletrack to the finish. After a sweet singletrack descent I started seeing the dust of another rider. On the next and what I assume final climb I catch him and he says something about being close to the finish. That wasnt exactly correct, as there was still a good 10 minutes of racing left. I never saw him again and was able to cruise back into Spearfish in 5th place. Satisfactory considering I almost quit at mile 20.