2013 Black Bear Rampage Recap

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2013 Black Bear Rampage Recap

Postby gexas » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:10 pm

Just thought i'd jot down a few lessons learned and give a portrait of what this race is about and what one could expect if they decide to give it a go.

First of all to anyone out there that isn't familiar with this race I'd highly encourage you to attend it next year and get a taste. There is a 40 mile and 20 mile version. I don't think you could go wrong doing either. This race is a lot of fast rolling trail. However, I know on the 40 miler there are some pretty decent long climbs that provide a nice challenge but won't destroy you.

There were 380 people that registered I believe so the turnout was huge. I liked this even though I am primarily a solitary rider. The amount of folks out there provided enough company that you were usually around some folks, but weren't so crowded that you felt claustrophobic. Plus if you are the type of person that needs to see a person far off and then 'reel them in' in order to keep your pace up, there were enough people out there to provide this.

I did this race last year for the first time and having some native knowledge of the trail helps as well as experiencing the logistics of doing a long race(i did the 40) when you roll into it for a second time. The trail and conditions were dry which put an emphasis on water, wardrobe and the right nutrition. I usually do the snake creek gap race and conditions and terrain on the bear are a complete opposite of what you find there...for the better i might add.

Here are the lessons learned and things I tried this year:
1. I decided this year to increase the gels that i'd take to 4 with one actually mixed into my camel back. I tried the mixing the gel in the water thing before and it seems to work well as it helps you remember to drink and you aren't popping gels right off the bat. I had only 3 last year and crashed with about 6 miles to go. I drug myself across the finish line
2. didn't carry a full bag of water. I only carried about 1.5 liters and filled up to the half way mark at a sag station that was at about the halfway mark. Temps were pretty nice...low 60's so it wsn't blazing hot and dehydration wasn't a huge concern
3. had two snickers bars on me to keep the calories and carb levels high. i don't eat a lot when i'm on the trail but these were a nice 'pick me up' and helped give me some energy
4. On the start i decided to push it on the 2 mile hardball rode(long pulls up the two hills) and get ahead of a lot of people. when you turn onto the single track it can bunch up and its slow going for a few miles before breaking out to an area where you can pass. This helped me shave some time off my race in the end
5. BE CAREFUL on the fast sections. we had to get off the bikes and walk passed a poor guy that had crashed really hard going down a really fast section. He had to be life flighted out. This served as stark reminder to my friend and i that we don't do this for a pay check
6. I needed some good antifog on the glasses. when we were down in the woods and on some of the climbs there wasn't enough air flow in my safety glasses to keep the fog at bay. i decided not to put anti fog on before the race and it came back to haunt me
7.chains and drive train need to be in really great shape. there were a lot of people that had mechanicals out there. not to say you can't have a new(er)chain break on you but the better shape your gear is in the more likely you'll have an uninterrupted ride
8.Might try full fingered gloves. I have some pretty good fingerless gloves from Fox but when the sweat is pouring off your hands and the humidity is a little high the bars can get a little slippery. I think full finger gloves would help keep a good grip on the bars. i have some good odi grips that are like glue if your hands aren't drenched in perspiration

There it is...all the jedi secrets. I managed to shave about 40 min. off my time last year and i think part of that was some of the items above but mostly because my conditioning was a little better. I have done more hill work(sucks) and longer rides leading up to the bear. I still had a tough time over the last 3-4 miles so next year i'll do a couple 50 milers and yet more hill work to see what i can do.

i'd love to hear anyone else's experience on the bear that managed to get out there. The support and team from Scotts Bikes is superb and to me even though the cost is a little high it is well worth it to ride one of the best trails in southern TN with 380 of your new found friends.


E
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Re: 2013 Black Bear Rampage Recap

Postby Robert » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:18 am

I have done this race so many times, I cannot even remember. It is a top notch event and a great course. I choose to load an 80 ounce camelback and not stop at all. I use a gel flask and with it and Cytomax, I have plenty of calories. I also use endurolytes every hour because it gets warmer as the ride goes on. I rode in my division, oldest one, but used my Single Speed bike because I feel that, other than Old Copper Road, the race is pretty Single Speed friendly. After the Connector trail to RIverview trail, I only saw 10 other riders and after I passed about 7 of them going back up Boyd Gap, I saw no one on Brush Creek return, until right before the finish. That was nice. As long and my body can stay healthy, I will be back to this event every year.

Side note: A single speed rider won the overall race this year which brings a :) to my face. He smoked it at about 14.2 miles per hour. That is sick.
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Re: 2013 Black Bear Rampage Recap

Postby IHNIWID » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:49 am

From a beginner point of view - my first endurance race. This is a great race to get your feet wet in endurance racing. The distance is not too long and the climbing is only 3600 ft. Some tips that I will pass on that helped me finish with a smile on my face. 1 - you need to do training rides in the 4 - 5 hr range. This gets your behind use to being in the saddle. Riding non-stop for that length of time can take some getting use to. 2 - Also, when you do your long rides in the 4 - 5 hr range, you can work on the nutritional part. You will need to refuel or you WILL bonk. There are many choices - gels, bars, drink mix and so on. Find out what works for you. This part took me 3 pre-rides till I got to the point where my stomach was happy and my legs did not cramp. 3 - Even though there is only 3600 ft of climbing, it tends to come in chunks. Make sure to add long climbs to your training. 4 - On race - pace yourself and have fun.
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Re: 2013 Black Bear Rampage Recap

Postby yellowzx » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:38 am

How did you come up with 3600'? I got 5800 with my phone and 6100 with my garmin (I had the garmin on till I got back to the car so it has one extra hill on it) All of the strava files I have seen show 5600-5900.
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Re: 2013 Black Bear Rampage Recap

Postby Robert » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:50 am

One the race website it says 3740 feet of elevation gain and 3366 elevation loss.
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Re: 2013 Black Bear Rampage Recap

Postby Tony Hill » Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:49 am

I logged 3930 on garmin. Regardless which Is right. It feels good to climb
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/220869630
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