Last weekend was the San Jacinto Enduro Badger Ride. It was a 55 mile mountain bike loop with 6700 ft of climbing. I showed up with the intention of practicing pacing and nutrition in a race scenario and to ride some of the sweetest trails in the area.

My strategy was to ride easy from the start until I had about 90 minutes left in the race. Only then, could I push hard and give it everything I had. We left promptly at 7 am and rode up the road as a group.

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Found the best seat in the house

I got spit out of the back of the group pretty quickly. This was very hard for me to let happen. I could have ridden the pace of the group, but to stick to my plan, I had to let them go. As we hit the dirt, I stated to catch some people and passed a few more before doing to the first single track.

The first single track was pretty technical and gained elevation. In order to surmount a lot of the obstacles, I had to elevate my effort, exceeding the limits defined by my race plan. After surfing and resting several times, I finally made it over the hill and down the decent.

I recovered as best I could all the way down to the 74. There were a few hard moments here where I had to watch people pass me that I knew I could beat. Sticking to my plan, I let them go.

I stopped at the lake Hemet market to top of my water and then continued on the course, leap frogging with a group of 3 guys. They’d pass me on the climb and I’d reel them back in every time gravity took over. Eventually, their pace must have slowed because I pulled away.

The next decent was the worst. I think it was called Morris Creek Trail. It was steep, rocky, and overgrown. The trail was very hard to navigate. I caught and passed a few guys here before eventually reaching the bottom.

Next up was Thomas mountain to Ramona trail. Thomas mountain is a long steady climb. I started up the climb with another rider. He rode ahead,but missed a turn and we were together again. He ride ahead again and caught another rider, but eventually slowed. I caught him and the other rider, still at my show and steady pace, and eventually rode away from them.

Once I hit the top,  the real fun started. I powered up all of the small climbs. The decent was all single track, mixed between fast flowery stuff and rocky technical stuff. I passed another rider on the decent.

After the decent, it was back across the power line trail. I made quick work of the first few rollers and powered by another rider.

Back on the 74 and past the lake Hemet market. I kept a good tempo. I started climbing back up towards Hurkey Creek Park and passed a third rider.

A couple of turns through the park and I found myself on the old 24 hours of adrenaline course. I was climbing the steep rocky trail up to Ken camp summit and passed a fourth rider.

After that, we went across the meadow and up may valley road to the log pile trail. I’d never ridden it in this direction so it was a nice change. Just before hoping onto the single track, I passed a fifth rider.

From log pile, we climbed a bit higher before descending down to the finish. I finished 4th, which is a decent result. I stuck to my plan and finished strong, a rare occurrence for me. It’ll be interesting over the next couple weeks to see what can happen for the 6 hours of Temecula race.