I entered both of the El Paso Puzzler's two main endurance events this last weekend: a 26.2-mile Trail Marathon run and a 50-mile Mountain Bike race. It was a very good weekend for me as I took 3rd place overall in the trail marathon on Saturday and then returned on Sunday to take 5th place in the Singlespeed Category.
The MTB race the next day left me scrambling to find a 21t cog in back as I had come down to El Paso with 32x20 gearing. After running the course I realized that I would need an easier gear. Word got out to Mike Rosson and The Bicycle Company people and they had a cog there waiting for at their shop. Awesome. I ran my Maxxis Ikon tires but with too much air pressure - 30-psi. I was fearful of letting out air in the race as this is a very rocky course and I just did not want to risk flatting. That made steering a bit sketchy at times. However it was not that big of a deal because I was tired from the trail run the day prior and this 50-mile MTB was done at a ride and NOT race pace. So finishing in 5th place a day after the trail marathon - and this being only my 2nd time on a bike in the last 60 days I was very happy.
I got to chat with my old friends Brent Sanders and David Halliburton at the finish of both the run and the MTB, and I even got to eat machacas at Lucy's. I first ate there 23 years ago and the place still looks the same. The Puzzler called the combination of the trail run and the MTB ride (26.2/50) the "Completely Insane" category but they did not develop a list in order of finish. I'm pretty sure I topped that list if one was to be developed because there were only a few of us who did this. The race promoter - David Wilson did however offer up personalized jackets for the Completely Insane finishers so I should get one of those soon in the mail.
I've done this before with the Growler/Burner and I can tell you it is much easier to do the MTB day one and run the next day for me at least. I really hurt after the run and contemplated not riding the next day all through the night and even the morning right before the race. A recent conversation with my buddy Tim Poppe also scared me on the use of ibuprofen when racing endurance so I skipped that for the MTB race. Maybe I should have downed some beer beforehand. ;-)
I am not sure though if I'll be back for 2014. David said that they may do a 50k run in lieu of the marathon making it a 50k/50-mile weekend double. Wow, I'm really happy for El Paso that this event exists. It stands alone in the entire USA for ultra-endurance racing in the month of January - and they offer a run and/or an MTB race. I suggest this to everyone who reads this blog and wants a January challenge - with warm 65F temps, this was just a perfect day. I started out with no jacket, arm warmers or gloves. Perfect!