THIS WAS MY SECOND BWR UT.  I'd intended to do AZ in Feb, but it lined up with Tucson Bicycle Classic.  I postponed to CA in Apr, but was too tired from Sea Otter...

... I wasn't intending to do UT.

But, I read about all the new single track.
Plus, the weather looked good.
And, it was paid for.

Did I get my money's worth?

I lined up a lot earlier, so I had a shot at hanging with the lead pack.  To do this, get in the corral as soon as it opens, and be among the first 30 to get through the tunnel.

Not easy.

Once through the tunnel,
the dust was up,
rocks flying.

The pros started to push the pace,
I started sliding back.

A gap opened,
I didn't care.

We formed a second group, which included the Floyd Landis himself and a few pro women.

Racing across the gravel, we could still see the lead pack.

For some reason, they slowed a bit when they hit the pavement again and we were able to latch on.

Not only that, it was only mildly leg searing up the gentle drag before the left hand turn back onto gravel...

... and another 2 tunnels.

This was chaotic.

Everybody charging at 30+ to get to the tunnel first.
Rookies locking up the brakes, 
before the dark abyss.

Now for the long straight, mostly smooth direct shot to the foothills west of town...

... where the rollers begin.

I was so happy to be there.

While everyone is still pumping adrenalin and trying to keep up...

... I drop anchor and go my pace.

I have a plan.

After the rollers is a some fast double track,
with rocks and ruts and sand.

Remembering my race a few years back, 
I was sure I'd not only catch the stragglers,
but, I'd make up a ton of time and positions.

15-20 minutes later, we are through Aid 1 and I'm back with the Landis group and other strong riders...

... taking pulls and pushing hard.

This was really nice.

Roll through,
roll off.

The next section started with an abandoned trail to a raised cow gate.  I made sure I was second through there.

We were gone.
From 15 riders,
down to about six.

My watts were around 250,
right at my ride all day limit.

The next major feature of the course was the new single track.

I love it.

The first bit was fast and flowy,
got held up a bit, 
not too bad.

Grabbed a water bottle,
what I needed was a lot more calories.

The next section was quite technical for gravel bikes.
Moabstyle rock features with blue dots,
wood bridges over sand.

So fun.

The 45mm Terra Speeds were working great,
so was the 20mm of travel in the rear triangle.

Passed a ton more guys.

Onto the pavement back to town, I connected with one other rider from DC. 

We were working well together,
we thought.

Then, two caught us from behind and were going so fast we almost didn't catch.

Here's the thing about BWR...

If you are a good descender 
and good bike handler
you make up time.

When the strong roadies get back on the road, 
they will reel you in.

Jump on.

Eventually, we got popped.

The big dude, who won 45+, was just too strong.
First to go was DC,
I was next,
then blue.

There was one more rough dirt section.

As I rolled onto the pavement I could see blue.

I tried to go by too fast for him to catch.

No luck, he caught on after a half a mile or so.

We swapped leading.

No one behind,
or in front.

My last race on this course, I got turned around and lost a 3-up sprint.

Not this time,
first up the curb onto the grass wins every time.

Here's what I know about the BWR UT:

  • Get to the first tunnel up front
  • The other tunnels, pray for the riders ahead to make it through
  • The major, big group drafting is over at the rollers, settle in.
  • Work on your descending and technical skills.
  • Run the big tires, lowest pressure you dare (28 and 30 for me).
  • For the Wafer, a hydration pack and 2 full bottles would be ideal.

About that nutrition.

Because the promoter is handing up pure water, no electrolytes, I believe it's probably best to carry enough liquid, laced with massive amounts of sugar and salt, to make it the entire distance.

I found it hard to eat during the last 90 minutes, which I needed to do since the bottles only had water.  I tried, but it was just too fast and challenging to do easily.  

Also, sometimes the heat and altitude mess with me.  My breathing gets shallow, and not even drinking is appealing.

Which lead to the awful precramping feeling.

Fortunately, I had about 15 salt tablets on me and was munching them down like candy.

From that list above, I'd say the two biggest things I saw cost people time were...

... weak handling skills, and dehydration.

This kind of racing is a blast.
All the savviness of surfing a surging peloton,
with the romping, skidding and sliding of MTB riding.

For that reason, I believe the winners represent the most complete riders.


9 hrs
No strength work
20 minutes recovery
60 minutes reading + Journaling