Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Traverse 2011

The finish line
This was my first time doing the Traverse - wow what a tough ride. 46 miles and over 8,300 feet of climbing. The day started off a little weird. Got to the start at Blackstar and it felt like it was empty compared to the start of Vision Quest & Counting Coup (VQ/CC). Went up to the starting gate at about 10 minutes to 7:00am and there were not that many people lining up. Stood there a few minutes and more and more people started to come up to the start. Talked to Manny Prado for a few minutes which was cool. He ended up taking 2nd overall with a time of 3:54 (over an hour faster than me!).

The start out and up Blackstar was fast similar to VQ/CC, but a little less hectic with a lot fewer people. There were 123 Traverse riders compared to over 300 VQ & CC riders. I made it up to Beeks in 48 minutes and was able to pass a few riders on the way. Kept a steady pace up to the ball, over to Pleasants Peak and eventually the motorway turnoff where there were a few Warrior's Society voluteers that were filling up water bottles. I opted to push on to 4 corners where I would re-fill the two bottles I was carrying.

This was my first time riding this direction on the section of main divide in between motorway and 4 corners. I've come from 4 corners to motorway which is mostly downhill so I knew this section had a lot of climbing.
After Motorway turnoff point looking towards 4 Corners

I hit the aid station at 4 corners at 2 hours 32 minutes, quickly emptied the last bit of my perpetuem that I hadn't finished and filled up the bottle with some sustained energy drink mix from hammer nutrition. Re-filled my second bottle with water and was on my way. The climb up to Santiago Peak from 4 corners is a grind and I knew it would be no different today. Got to the peak in 3 hours 15 minutes and kept on riding towards west horsethief and trabuco where we would turn and head down the single track and then out trabuco creek road to the finish at O'Neill Park. I was taking it easy on a lot of the downhill sections of main divide and had a few close calls as it was real loose, rocky, and rutted out in many sections.
After Upper Holy Jim looking towards West Horsethief and Trabuco Trail
Finally made it to the Trabuco turnoff at 4 hours 22 minutes and started heading down. The Trabuco Trail singletrack descent is a lot of fun with a lot of loose rock and exposed edges. This is one of my favorite trails in OC, however today I felt really slow on it. It seemed more loose than normal and I was taking it slow as not to fall after already being on the bike for over 4 hours at this point. Finally made it to the bottom of the singletrack and started heading out Trabuco Creek road to the finish.

All in all the Traverse was a great experience and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was fun seeing all the pro riders at the start...even if it was for just a few seconds before they took off. Thanks to the Warriors Society for putting on a great event.

Splits: Beeks 0:48, Motorway 1:44, 4 Corners 2:32, Peak 3:15, Trabuco 4:22, Finish 5:08. Ended up 6th place out of 50 riders in my category (Intermediate, Ages 31-45) and 36th out of 123 riders overall.