This years' version saw once again a very stacked Pro Men's field, with names such as Chris Sheppard, Ryan Trebon, and Carl Dekker looking to take home top honors this year. The course was the same as last year with a few new singletrack sections added in. The start begins on a fireroad for roughly 2 miles before reaching the very dusty and loose singletrack during the "start loop" for a total of 5 miles before actually beginning the first of 3 laps to be completed. Winning times of this races have typically been around the 2.5 hour mark, and this year would be no different. I have to say this this is one of the tougher xc races out there due to the constant undulating terrain, technical rocky sections, and endless switchbacks.
I wasn't feeling 100% fresh today after riding for nearly 90 miles on the road Saturday. However, neither were most other riders as some had done the new Bend Don't Brake RR on Saturday too. Going into the first singletrack section I was in 5th position behind Thompson. I would hold onto this spot until we went thru the start if the first lap where I began to fall off the fast pace. It's amazing to think that you are killing yourself going as fast as you can, yet there are others just pulling away. Once we reached the first doubletrack section I was with Matt Russell and we were still within vision of the lead group. We tried to close the gap but our efforts failed and would continue to ride together for another 4-5 miles or so. By the time we finished the first lap I was still holding on to 6th place but losing time to the leaders (about 7 min). For the next two laps I got into my race tempo pace and settled into a rhythm. I was passed by another rider (Bruce Cole-Baker) midway thru lap 2. Towards the end of lap 2 I was beginning to feel a little better and the legs started to feel alive, but that only lasted a few minutes before feeling very heavy again. I passed Matt Russell on the final lap who was having some cramping issues (and later would break his derailleur and drop out) and could see Bruce ahead of me but could not close the gap.
After 2:41:00 in the saddle, I crossed the finish line in 9th place. I always think this race is going to get easier, but it seems like it gets harder each year. Trebon eventually would win the race with Sheppard close behind in 2nd and Dekker in 3rd. Ben Thompson rode solid for 4th. Full results listed below: