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I understand that the Cascade Cream Puff 100 makes the official claim of being the toughest 100 mile race in the US, and I do want to try it someday. But if it is more difficult than the Durango MTB100, I’ll be surprised. I’ve done the Leadville 100 three times, and while it’s no walk in the park, it doesn’t hold a candle in terms of overall difficulty to the Durango race.

Here’s some numbers:

Durango MTB100: 17 finishers out of 60 starters (28% complete the race)
CCP 100: 106 finishers out of 110 starters (96% complete the race)

Durango MTB100: Winning time was 10hrs 46min
CCP 100: Winning time was 8hrs, 58 min

While total elevation gain is equal (18,000’), the Durango MTB100 takes place at elevations between 9000’ and 11,500’. CCP100 tops out at less than 5000’.

There’s no doubt that CCP100 has more single track, and that generally makes things tougher.

I’ll be interested in how the Endurance 100 in Park City turns out -- all single track at a high elevation with a similar amount of climbing to Durango and CCP…

Anyway, the race in Durango started off under threatening skies, but turned into a quite beautiful day with only a brief shower. The first loop was about 36 miles, and it caused me the most problems – soft wet roads, giving way to rocky single track sprinkled with muddy stream crossings. At the top of the climb, about half way through, I ended up so muddy that I was in chain-suck hell until I worked in a good amount of lube. I lost a bit of time and was plenty grumpy by the time I hit the bottom and began the second loop. I should note that it was somewhat rewarding to trudge the same hill that I watched Ned Overend and Thomas Frischknecht battle on for the World X-C Championship in 1990 – I just wasn’t excited doing it the third time after 70 hard miles…

The second loop went better and I caught a few people on the steep jeep track to the top. At the base the last time, my friend Kurt encouraged me by noting that there weren’t all that many people up the trail and I could get a good placing. Frankly, I was just interested in getting the ride over with as soon as possible -- I was in survival mode.

At the top of third loop, the folks manning the aid station noted I was in 3rd place – yow! Being told something like that gets one moving and I pushed it hard all the way back. Ultimately I was quite pleased with my effort, particularly on the last lap as I rode about 10 minutes faster than anyone else – I can’t go fast over the short term, but I also don’t slow down much over the long term.

Finally, I must note that I rode the race on my trusty Moots YBB (circa 2000), equipped with a rigid steel fork made by James at Black Sheep Bicycles. It was a huge advantage on climbs, whether they were gravel roads or rocky single track. I followed a pro 24-hr racer down the hill at one point with out losing any time, even on the rutted single track near the base of the ski area. In my hands, the fork is a perfect complement to the soft tail of the YBB. I’m not trying to convert anyone here – just wishing to point out that technology isn’t a cure all. I think it’s highly likely that my bike represented the oldest technology on the mountain. My premise is that over the course of a long race efficiency is most important and is what defines “true” comfort. What is typically considered comfortable – a full squish bike – might be so for the first 30 miles but might also become a boat anchor during the next 30 miles...
 

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PeT said:
I understand that the Cascade Cream Puff 100 makes the official claim of being the toughest 100 mile race in the US, and I do want to try it someday. But if it is more difficult than the Durango MTB100, I’ll be surprised. I’ve done the Leadville 100 three times, and while it’s no walk in the park, it doesn’t hold a candle in terms of overall difficulty to the Durango race.QUOTE]

PeT,
Great report, Durango sounds rough! I was wondering what your three Leadville times were and what your Durango time was for a comparison. I realize how much harder Durango is with more climbing/singletrack, and on a full rigid, nice. :D
Cole
 

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Cole said:
PeT,
Great report, Durango sounds rough! I was wondering what your three Leadville times were and what your Durango time was for a comparison. I realize how much harder Durango is with more climbing/singletrack, and on a full rigid, nice. :D
Cole
At the 200 Leadville MTB100 I was timed in at 8hrs 37 minutes. At the 2001 Leadville 100 I rolled in after 8hrs 29 minutes and in 2003 I clocked 8hrs 12 minutes. For Durango this year I needed 10hrs 21 minutes.

I ended up 36 minutes behind 1st and 10 minutes behind 2nd, but as I noted I was pleased in large part because after 70 miles I was 40 minutes behind the guy who finished 1st and 20 minutes behind 2nd. If the race would have been only 50 or 60 miles longer, I would have been able to pick them off ;)

I should stress that while Leadville and Durango are theoretically the same style race, they feel like completely different events. Leadville has lots of hoopla and excitement – lots of people to ride and race with. At Durango I was virtually alone the entire race, only occasionally encountering another rider or the overweight Texan on an ATV. Both style of 100 mile races have their place in my racing calendar. Now it's time for a laid-back local event -- the Laramie Enduro 100K!
 

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Wow

PeT said:
At the 200 Leadville MTB100 I was timed in at 8hrs 37 minutes. At the 2001 Leadville 100 I rolled in after 8hrs 29 minutes and in 2003 I clocked 8hrs 12 minutes. For Durango this year I needed 10hrs 21 minutes.

I ended up 36 minutes behind 1st and 10 minutes behind 2nd, but as I noted I was pleased in large part because after 70 miles I was 40 minutes behind the guy who finished 1st and 20 minutes behind 2nd. If the race would have been only 50 or 60 miles longer, I would have been able to pick them off ;)

I should stress that while Leadville and Durango are theoretically the same style race, they feel like completely different events. Leadville has lots of hoopla and excitement – lots of people to ride and race with. At Durango I was virtually alone the entire race, only occasionally encountering another rider or the overweight Texan on an ATV. Both style of 100 mile races have their place in my racing calendar. Now it's time for a laid-back local event -- the Laramie Enduro 100K!
PeT,
Wow, those are smokin' fast times, congatulations on all of them! Did you train a lot different for Durango?
Cole
 

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Cole said:
PeT,
Wow, those are smokin' fast times, congatulations on all of them! Did you train a lot different for Durango?
Cole
Thanks!

Just like my bike choice isn’t for everyone, my training methods probably aren’t either. I’ve been cycling seriously for 25 years and racing during many of them and have come to recognize my strengths and weaknesses. First, in a normal NORBA length race I’m usually a middle of the Sport pack finisher. Even in my road racing days, it was clear that the longer and harder the race the better placed I was at the finish. While I still try and work on my speed, I’ve finally given in and play to my strength – endurance. I trained the same for Durango as I did for the Leadville rides – lots of long, high-intensity rides. The last couple of years I’ve really become a fan of my cyclocross bike and have been doing several hard, hilly 50 to 100 mile rides on gravel, dirt, and trails each week. During the work week, when it’s tough to go out for long rides, I often do a series of 2 minute intervals on my mtb on a very rocky incline, and recover down a bumpy single track – makes it fun enough that I don’t totally fear the workout. I also run and lift two to three times a week throughout the year, and as a consequence I don’t fear hike-a-bike sections – they’re actually a strength!

I also do virtually all of my training on an empty stomach – I get up, make the morning cup of coffee, get on my bike and ride. I really feel that training my body to efficiently utilize aerobic/endurance metabolism greatly decreases the odds of a bonk. Really – I haven’t bonked in years. I’m more inclined to tank up when I’m doing intensity workouts such as intervals or road riding with local road racers. During the race, I do utilize Cliff Shots extensively to keep my energy level up, but for races this long you just have to be able to mobilize reserves and I feel as if I’ve trained in a way that allows me to do this efficiently.

Over the years I've tried different training methods, different feeding principles and have settled on what works for me. I have more than a passing knowledge of metabolism and genetics and understand that there isn’t a one-size fits all training program. Personally, I love hearing and reading about what other people do, and then try and incorporate elements that I think might work for me into my own regimen.
 

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Great report!

Great report! Thx for sharing it.

The only 100 mile mtb race I've done is the Cascade Creampuff 100 this year. I can't say how difficult it is when compared to Durango, Leadville, etc - but I do feel I should point out that the high number of finishers this year was apparently a rarity due to the surprisingly good weather. It's normally much warmer and with far fewer finishers.

I do think that the races at higher elevation seem like they would be harder for most people.
 

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Nice job!

PeT said:
I understand that the Cascade Cream Puff 100 makes the official claim of being the toughest 100 mile race in the US, and I do want to try it someday. But if it is more difficult than the Durango MTB100, I’ll be surprised. I’ve done the Leadville 100 three times, and while it’s no walk in the park, it doesn’t hold a candle in terms of overall difficulty to the Durango race.

Here’s some numbers:

Durango MTB100: 17 finishers out of 60 starters (28% complete the race)
CCP 100: 106 finishers out of 110 starters (96% complete the race)

Durango MTB100: Winning time was 10hrs 46min
CCP 100: Winning time was 8hrs, 58 min




I can attest to the Durango race being on the top of the list for difficult races since I raced it too. I have raced for many a year and this one was the worst. It was also my first time racing in Durango. My difficulty was the tough climbing. It seemed like it went on forever and when you got to a downhill, it was so rocky you really couldn't pick up much speed on the singletrack. I did love the downhill on lap #1 on the FS road, however.

I missed the cutoff time for the 3rd lap by just 8 minutes :( . That was the norm for 85% of the sport class. Since the weather didn't play a role in this race, I have to say that it was the course itself the created the demise of the majority of the riders. I haven't ridden the CCP, but I would question the validity to the claim of being the toughest 100 miler.

Would I do it again? You bet, just with a lot more climbing intervals that lasted over an hour for my training!

congrats on the ride PeT!
 

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...I haven't ridden the CCP, but I would question the validity to the claim of being the toughest 100 miler...
The "toughest" line was added 3-4 years ago after the comments of 'Puffers who have also ridden Leadville, Brians Head, Vail Ultra 100 and many other events including solo 24hrs. The Durango 100 and Endurance 100 are the new kids on the block. This year saw the 9th running of the 'Puff.

One veteran of many Leadville (9:20 last year) and Brians Head events wrote after finishing the 2001 'Puff (perfect weather on an easier course) in 14:19: "..I was humbled by the dirt.."

I think riders now know what to expect from the 'Puff and prepare for it.
 
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