Ride report to follow but first a couple of bulleted lists to capture my EB 2012 experience:
Things the EB makes you appreciate:
- Great riding buddies – I suppose many people do the EB solo but dropping into Thumper after 60 miles is much easier when you’re not doing it alone.
- Central Texas mountain biking community – The EB organizers and volunteers are a great example of what makes the mountain biking community great. This ‘ride’ is better organized, supported, and more fun than most ‘races’ being put on by professional companies. This year the pit stops were perfectly placed, expertly stocked, and staffed by the nicest group of people you will ever meet.
- Full suspension – Being able to keep my butt on the seat while plowing over rocks saved my back and legs some serious burn.
- Good downhills – I don’t mind climbing for a good downhill but bouncing down Powerline after climbing Mulch and all those fence line climbs really seems like a waste. I hate that Powerline descent…nothing fun there until the end.
- The little ring – I’ve thought about mashing a 1×10 or a single speed but about halfway up Courtyard or Jester I’m glad I brought along that granny gear.
- Trails > Road – I don’t mind breaking my neck doing something stupid at City Park. However, getting run off the ROAD to City Park by someone trying to take a picture of the fancy houses, texting, and drinking a beer is something I can do without. I’m also not a huge fan of monster SUV’s driving past me at 75 mph on 360. I suppose it’s just part of the experience.
- Austin trails – Spending a full day in the saddle riding a wide variety of awesome trails without ever getting back into your car is priceless.
My EB 2012 Experience highlights:
- Hearing the sound of 200+ clicks as each light turned green on the way to Zilker as 100+ riders clip back into their pedals in the morning fog. That was awesome.
- The deafening roar of 100+ rear hubs freewheeling down little hills on Shoal Creek.
- The strategic stops to answer nature’s call before hitting the trailhead at Zilker. No tree or bush was safe.
- The random words of Yoda and other wise cracks scattered throughout the course.
- The green smiley face halfway up Jester and the green frown almost at the top. That was great stuff right there!
- Riding up a river in St. Ed’s and then riding back down the same river.
- Riding, more appropriately WALKING, Thumper when the rocks were wet and the ground was moist.
- Blasting through Walnut with what seemed like fresh legs after hearing the thunder in the distance and smelling the Rudys.
- Rolling out of the last bit of single track and seeing my family in the playground waiting for me. Perfect end to a perfect ride.
After sweeping the course last year and missing all the festivities, we went into this year’s EB with the goal of finishing before it got dark. We also had the goal of beating the 12 hour mark. Managed to meet both those goals despite a couple of mechanicals and getting poured on at St. Ed’s and Thumper.
BCBG was uneventful but we went in closer to the back of the pack to try and avoid the pile-ups. We rode part of it with Sarah Ginsbach until she dropped the hammer and we didn’t see her again until she left Thumper while we were headed in. Picked up a rider lost at the top of Powerline and we all got to enjoy that downhill and HOL together. Hit 360 feeling good and headed to Courtyard. All the practice riding Courtyard paid off and I made it up that without any problems. Stopped at the fire station for water but the engine was out and we had some trouble getting the hose to turn on. Finally figured that out and stretched for a minute before dropping into Emma. No mishaps in Emma and some of the cheater lines were greatly appreciated. We only saw a couple of riders in the park during our ride so it looked like we weren’t gaining or losing much riding our normal human pace. Coming out of City Park it was a refreshing change to see riders going in. We passed Hoss while he was in the bathroom and wondered what he was doing back in the pack with us. Turns out he had some mechanical issues so he just tacked on a few extra miles and time getting that fixed.
Blasted down city park and stopped at the pit stop before Jester to work on a bike and get a snack. Polished off my flattened PB&J and then headed up Jester after a short break. The cheering at the top of Jester was great and it felt awesome to be at the top of my nemesis. We rode down Beauford riding the brakes the whole way as the pavement tried to grab you and guide you into a curb. Very dicey and no fun.
Hit St. Ed’s in a light shower and stopped for a second to stretch and keep the cramps at bay. At that point, the sky opened up and it started raining like crazy. One rider passed us and then turned around saying it was too wet. We forged on up the climb riding in a 1” to 2” deep river the entire time. Dropped into the descent trying to not to die on the slick rocks. We thought the turn was higher than it was marked but the spoons here really helped. Finished St. Ed’s in the rain but discovered it had not rained at all between there and Thumper. Yaupon was cake but I started to notice water as we neared the top. Thumper was of course wet (I expected nothing less) and a total bear but since you’re walking so much there anyway, it wasn’t that much slower than normal. We saw Hoss in Thumper and made it a goal to beat him to Walnut knowing that he would reel us in quickly on Parmer. We managed to beat him there but I kept glancing over my shoulder expecting to see him pass us doing 25 mph up hill.
Walnut was great but we were racing what looked like a big storm so we actually put down a decent pace. I knew that we were getting close to the 12 hour mark but I didn’t want to look at my watch because I knew my legs wouldn’t give any more despite how close we were going to cut it. Ended up rolling in at 6:19 and breaking the 12 hour mark by 23 minutes. That felt awesome.
Training for the EB and riding it really pushed my riding to a new level. I’m still feeling the pain of that new level right now but it was worth it.
– Joe Wieck