Jul 5, 2009

The 8 hrs of Independence race was held Saturday July 4th 2009. The laps were 6.5 miles. I ride a 1x9 gearing on my 29 inch mt. bike. For trails and road riding in Bend I use a 38 tooth chainring. After riding TOE I have started to realize how wrong that kind of gearing can be for some races. So when Mike Ripley said this course would be steeper than TOE, I knew I was in trouble. I decided to change my chainring to an easier 34. In reality I probably should have had something in the 20's.
I drove over the day before and camped close to the coast for more moderate temperatures. I arrived at the race site just after 7 AM, early enough to get one of the best parking spots. Started getting set up and shortly Austin and his dad showed up so we set up our own aid area.
I paced myself well at the start of the race and Austin went a little faster. I felt pretty fresh after 2 laps and knew I would have a decent day if I just kept trying to not go too fast. Somewhere around 2-3 laps Austin took a little break and we ended up near each other fro a while but he went off the front again, it was really hard for me to ride my own pace and not let the performance of other affect my pace, but I did succeed. Austin and I were like the hare and the tortoise. He would shoot of the front and I would slowly reel him back in.
At the 4 hr mark we had done 5 laps and it started to become clear 10 laps was not going to happen, so I refocused on doing 9 laps and let up on the pace a little. The steepest part of climbing was on a motorcycle trail and was impossible for me to ride with my gearing so I walked it pretty much every time from the start of the race. lots of people got by me there. Part of me thinks that having a 3x9 set up would have enabled me to ride more and do 10 laps, but another part says I conserved energy by walking that section and ended up fresher towards the end.

On the eighth lap I reeled in Austin again as he was starting to fade. I hoped he could start lap 9 but he did not. I thought the adrenaline would kick in for the last lap and it would be easy, not! Those climbs are hard no matter what. I finished lap 9 with some other racers around me and really went hard towards the end, crossing the finish line around 150 heart rate. Average heart rate for the race was 139, which is good for me at that distance.
The course is great, a lot like willamette pass but at lower elevation. Really fun singletrack. It almost seemed like ther was more descending than climbing, maybe that was just from feeling good.
I will be back for sure.

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