3 years ago I decided the night before to give the EB a try… I figured I would last around 2-3 hours since I had never ridden more than 15 miles in a single day. Anyway, I ended having a great time, met some really cool people and wound up going much further than I thought I was capable of. Early on in the greenbelt I met Vince and Forrest and they let me tag along for the rest of my ride. We got separated about midway through Thumper and my body just wouldn’t go any further. I was physically exhausted and also lost (it was my first time in Thumper, BTW). Ended up coming out of the trail onto a golf course and followed it up to the road and had no idea where i was. So I called it quits after about 65 miles, but the challenge of the EB had been planted. In the following year I increased my riding with the goal of conquering the EB in my mind. I did finish in 2012 with Kent, and again last year with Jeff S, both in about 12 hours. This year my goal was to go faster. I wanted to try and knock at least an hour or two off of my time so I planned on keeping my own pace and not trying to keep up with faster riders or stay back with slower ones. So on to the actual ride report
The ride from WC to Zilker was fun as usual – I think I was near the front group and had no idea that we had spread out so far. The stairs at Zilker were a mess and I’m surprised no one got hurt there – I think next time I’ll find another way around. The greenbelt was pretty fun until I bent my rear derailleur ( I ended up fighting it the rest of the ride). So I stopped on the side and adjusted/bent it back as best as I could and then tried to catch the 20 or so people that passed me. I caught a small group that knew the route so I stayed with them a while but then struck out on my own. BTW, the ribbons were very helpful and well placed this year so thanks to all those who put them up. Got to the HOL and rode about halfway up and then walked, knowing that I needed to save that energy for later. I caught a group on 360 and drafted with them all the way to the bridge. I rode up Courtyard and CP road by myself. The CP angels were awesome as always! I wasn’t really hungry but they had bacon and pickles so I had no choice. CP was fun and fast (by riding the whole trail, I even got to pass some people twice!). After CP, I stopped by the angel station again and got a nice 10 minute rest, some PB&J sandwiches, more bacon and pickles, and a banana – that sure hit the spot, thanks again! Off to St’ eds. Leaving CP I saw my friend Charles R coming in with a group and was only able to shout hi/bye/good job as we passed each other. CP road down was fast, Jester up was slow (walked the top 3rd), 360 was fine but getting warmer.
St Eds was pretty short and uneventful but I always enjoy that initial climb for some reason – its got the right mix of tech and elevation gain to be a joyful grind in a weird sort of way. Passed a few more people for the 2nd or 3rd time of the day on the way to Thumper. Took a quick break at the Thumper angel station – again, Awesome!! – and then jumped into Thumper. That was actually the most fun that I have ever had at Thumper. I was feeling pretty good and had managed to reserve enough energy for it. I don’t ride it often, but I ended up getting a PR on the first half. Afterwards, I checked in with the angels again and refueled for a bit. I saw Vince for the first time of the day as he had finished a few minutes before me. I caught up with him on Yaupon and we rode together to WC, taking turns drafting on Parmer (what a help that was!).
Pulled in to WC and I let him lead the way as I hadn’t bothered to learn the route. It seemed like we rode every possible trail out there (except Windy & BMX) and we were both starting to feel the exhaustion and cramping setting in, but we were so close so we pushed it to the end and finished strong. I thought it was kinda neat that I was able to finish my EB ride with Vince that we started 3 years ago All told, I was able to knock off around 4 hours off of my time last year, finishing in 8 hours and 20 minutes. Thanks again to all of the volunteers who make this happen year after year! This is a great event for the MTB community and as always a fun challenge!