The Rio Bravo Rumble is the only race I have done four times now...It was one of the fist races I had ever done and solidified my passion for off road multisport. Starting with the run is painful but mixing up a few sports and the dirt is what it is all about for me!
In 2006 I was just trying to take it all in and survive the race... Then in 2007 I trained for it and was stoked to take the win and followed that up last year with another win and still feeling like I could do a lot more. What I like best about this race is the people and environment that gets put in place on race day. The kids race, family and friends enjoying the green hills of the Rio Bravo. It has also always served as a good indication of how I am feeling fitness wise and mentally going into the racing season. This year was spot on! Despite how the race ended up this year I feel ready for a great year of racing. . . faster, stronger, wiser and more motivated than ever. Ready for some suffering with the best of them ;-)
We started as "usual" with a nasty 10K trail run over some tough hills. Funny how the mind forgets just how challenging some parts of the course can be. I maintained pace with the top 3 runners in the biathlon and struggled through a pace that was unfamiliar in recent months. My goal was just to keep the leader within site and I ran in just a couple of hundred yards or less behind the leader. I didn't blow up and made a 6:38 pace. OK. Get me on that bike!!
I was waiting for the run to end about 100 yards after I took my first step. . . I was surprised I could keep that pace but it is a good indication for what I need to focus on in the coming months. Now on the bike I felt at home... I started reeling people in from the individual and teams up ahead and pulled into the #1 spot by the end of the first climb. My legs felt great and although my heart was still on the recovery from the run it managed to pull me to the top of the hill. Time for some descents and recovery.
I had my same bike last year but this time I was rockin' the rock solid fork. Awesome! Really ideal for this course. Once we started the downhill we all fell into some surprises. As I rounded the next hill to the valley decent I saw bike tracks spread out like a fanning rake. Part of the challenge of being a front runner is that it is not always a line to follow around the course. Especially when the course is not really marked! There were a few people spread out who were doing the mountain bike only race ahead of us so I followed the majority of the group. Some people followed me and some made their way across the valley. When I got to the front of this group I realized the trail we were on had NO bike tracks in the dirt. I looked back to the guys and said "I don't think this is the right way huh..." They looked at me and said "yeah we are totally lost". . . DUDE!
Long story short, we all made our way back to the dirt road at the end of the valley that led back to the transition. From here we had one more lap (the run course) of 6 miles to finish off the race. I stopped and talked to the race director, Brian and let him know that everyone was way off course. I guess they were not allowed to put anything in the ground so we were only going to get the pained arrows in some spots. Its all part of racing...sometimes. I finished up the last lap and crossed the line in first but was one of the few people open to taking a penalty for going off course. There was more to the event than the results so I headed out to takes some pictures and cheer on some of the other racers out there. Monique was crushing it!
I made another loop and had a good time of the day. I know I had a lower run time but the bike results were changing as people were going back and forth with Brian. I was OK with any result as long as they were going to keep it consistent. I really just wanted my shoes back!
This years race was all about seeing where I am at in training, having some fun and keeping my build towards some bigger races later in the year. Mission accomplished so with that Monique and I hit the trails and the pool the next day.
Good times in Bako and some progress into 2009.