Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Butte 50 MTB Race

Official photo at Registration for Race
Last year I did the Butte 50 with a race time of 8:20. This year I improved my time by an hour!
Everyone is curious how I improved an hole hour of last year, there are few factors different this year.

1. My new bike (Specialized Rumor). Having a light weight full suspension 29er was sweet. My bike was smooth and super fast.
2. I trained on hills. Yup, all I have been riding is hills, hills, hills.
3. The weather was perfect. Not hot, little bit a rain for track and cloud cover. Ahhhhh, so nice.

What is the Butte 50?

The 50 mile version of the Butte 100 includes epic amounts of single track (75%) on the Continental Divide Trail in the Highland mountains. 

 50 Mile Course at a glance

  • 52.4 total miles
  • 8,500 ft. elevation gain
  • 4 Total Aid Stations- Numbered #7-10 (according to 100-mile course)
  • More detailed course descriptions will be included in the Race Bible

 I was stoked to have my team Mt Alpha there at the race.
50-Mile Course
The 50-mile racers must be at the start area at Homestake Pass at 7:45 a.m for USA Cycling roll call; the race began at 8:00a.m.


Starting loop

4.8 miles; 551 ft. elevation gain; 4.8 mi. cumulative
  • start loop on sandy double track meant to spread racers out for safety reasons
For me, I decided to not start racing until after the first aid station. I used the starting loop as a nice warm up and let racers pass me by. I didn't go slow, but I wasn't at "race pace"

Start area  to Aid Station (Thompson Park )

7.7 miles; 1,563 ft. elevation gain; 12.5 mi. cumulative
  • Black Tail descent immediately follows start loop; single and double track, quite technical,with a bottle neck
  • Short ride on an asphalt connection, through a housing division to Black Tail Trailhead; 3 mi. climb and 3 mile descent to Hwy 2 crossing and Thompson Park area

T-Park aid station and course layout

Aid Station (Basin Creek)

8.8 miles; +1,192ft.; 21.4 mi.

After this Aid Station I turned on my "race mind" and started to work harder. The temps were cool and still with nice cloud cover, so I worked to stay with Kellie Carim down through this section.

I have been racing Kelly for years, and I really enjoy being on the trail with her. I knew she would beat me in this race. She is an amazing climber and has deep cardio fitness with Skate-Ski racing in the winter. I am super excited for her improving her time from last year by a half hour!

  • Climb to “The Chimney” on singletrack and some RR bed
  • Descent on dry singletrack (watch for wash-outs)graduating to dual track, established double track, then gravel road into Basin Creek Aid station #

 10.7 miles; +2,593 ft.; 32.1 mi. cumulative

  • The Basin Creek climb consists of a very dry double track
  • 4 mile climb to CDT left turn (King/Queen of the Mountain checkpoint) 2-mile climb remaining on buff single track
  • Beautiful single track to Highlands aid station

This is the hardest part of the race I think. Such a long hard climb, and a lot of it is too steep to climb. I talked with  Tinker Juarez (Legendary Pro MTBiker) after he won the Butte 100, and he said that he finally cleaned the Basin Creek Climb. Wow, I pushed my bike up so many steep sections with a bunch of dudes.
Jen and Tinker after the race. Tinker beat his time from last year for a new Butte 100 record!

Aid Station (Highway 2)

 11.3 miles; +1,266 ft. elevation gain; 43.4 mi. cumulative


This is my most suffering. I was having shoot pain under my left knee cap when I would climb hills. I simply could not ride my bike up hills. I took 3 Ibuprofen and 6 arnica tablets under my tongue and waited for the pain to stop. In the mean time, I had to push my bike up all the hills until the pain-relievers kicked in. After a half hour the pain was gone and I started hammering again. I felt great because I had slowed down to walk, so I caught 2 more girls ahead of me and pushed my lead to be in 3rd place for podium.

  • “8 Miles of Hell” right out of aid station along CDT buffed/slight dry single track
  • Continue on CDT through the Limekiln intersection (a beautiful portion of course)
  • Nice downhill to Aid Station #10 at Hwy 2
  • Note: a USA Cycling official will be enforcing racer cut-offs at Hwy 2 aid station #10. Those pulling in after 7:00 p.m. will not be allowed to continue, no exceptions.

Aid Station to Finish

Now I love this section. I have ridden this area of CDT maybe 20 times, so I know it better than any other single track. I knew exactly when I could attack the Mountain, and when I could get a few seconds of rest.
After hammering up the final climb, the 2 girls that I dropped caught up to me and passed me. I knew that I had to push it hard to pass them again on the downhill.
I caught them on the downhill and dropped the descent as fast as I could. I did not see them for the rest of the race to the finish. However, the girl behind me was only a 1 minute back! After over 7 hours of racing, that is pretty close.

I was super happy to take 3rd. Sharing podium with a Pro (Ivy Pederson) and Kellie Carim was awesome

9.0 miles; +1,344 ft.; 52.4 mi. cumulative.

  • Final significant climb (after Beaver Ponds trail junct.) Stay on CDT
  • Buff single track through boulders and woods
  • Descent to I-90 intersection-should start hearing car noise
  • Right turn on concrete, over the overpass and into the finish line


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