Went up to Eldora on Sunday for the group pre-ride. It's the only opportunity to legally ride the course since it's on private land and the owners are selfish about letting people on the trails in the summer. Though people go up there anyway and the crowd for the pre-ride was about half what it was last year.
At first I felt better about things than last year. I was able to mostly keep up with the main pack, or at least keep them in sight whereas last year I was at the very back of the group. However last year I had done a race the day before and had very tired legs. By the last few climbs though I was struggling, falling further behind though thankfully not all the way to the back of the pack. Still, seemed like I was struggling on hills I had ridden during the race last year though maybe I'm mis-remembering. Also a front blew through at the end of the ride bringing humidity that I'm not at all used to. Not midwest type of humidity but still enough that I was sweating profusely and struggling up those last few steep climbs. The elevation (over 900') was bothering me way more than normal as well but I suspect this had to due with the humidity as well. It's also challenging riding in a big group like that with varying ability levels. You also lose momentum and the sense of flow of the trail because you're constantly stopping to let the group catch up. So I'm optimistic that things will go better on race day.
I took a few photos but couldn't stop to take the photos I wanted to due to being in the group.
The start of the bike, up the road that goes under the ski lifts. It's way steeper than it looks.
Some random bit of trail near the start.
Waiting near the snow making pond. Also fairly near the start.
Pretty sure this was after the steep climb up the rocky Rising Sun trail.
Fatty Mills, which is the only really super technical singletrack trail, was still unride-able for me in a couple places but luckily it's only for a few steps to get over some steep rooty drop-offs. I did get the realization that if I stay to the right of the ditch at the bottom that I should be able to ride it the whole way down. A tree blocks your way if you stay on the left.
The only other downhill I'm still struggling a bit with is a steep, fast descent down a trail called Twin Twisted Tree or something like that. It's more like a dirt, gravelly road than a trail and it's very loose and rutted. I lost a lot of time to other people flying past me on the pre-ride, folks who I was well ahead of on the other descents. It'll cost me some time since we do the loop twice but it's not worth bombing down that thing.
The race director guessed that the water temp. was around 65 degrees though he hadn't actually measured it. If so this would be great, the warmest it's ever been for the times I've done this race. Two more weeks to get in some intervals and then some rest. I had a tougher recovery than I thought I would last week from Mountain Champs so this week it's time to get back to business.