What a great day it was for LRRH! I did the 80-mile route (which ended up only being 76) because I had to get back to SLC for an event that evening, and my friend did the 100. The way the routes were configured this year, we were able to ride together for about 68 miles before splitting off.

I liked the new routes - the beginning was on quieter roads so less traffic starting out which allowed the crowds to thin nicely.

My goal was to work on nutrition/hydration so I wouldn't bonk. Promised myself to down at least a gel or blocks at each rest stop and drink more. I did pretty well, felt good at the end of the ride (as opposed to my metric last Monday when I felt totally pooped). The verdict on gels: Cliff Shots - thumbs down (so thick it about made me gag), Hammer Gels - thumbs up.

The rest stops were well-stocked (those were the best oranges ever!) but the lunch stop was quite a bottleneck with the 100's, 80's, and 57's all arriving at the same time. Long lines. Hopefully they'll be better prepared next year. The most wonderful part about the lunch stop was the icy-cold wet wipes!

The flatter part of the ride was before lunch (which was around the 50 mile mark). The 4 miles of climbing (gentle as it was) right after lunch was a bit painful. My average speed before lunch was 16.3, after lunch 13.2 - yikes! I wonder how the 100-milers felt about having most of the climbing (in the Idaho section) near the end of the ride. I know the climbs aren't huge, but definitely noticeable! Anyway, I was glad to avoid that part this time.

The weather was perfect - cool and overcast for a good part of the day, very little wind, sunshine at the end. There was one nasty insect that bit me right through my shorts at about the 66-mile mark - ouch! It's a 2-inch welt today.

General ride behavior - didn't seem quite as bad as the last few years but still quite a few clueless people out there. Why, why, why that ongoing attraction to riding right by the center line? Saw the aftermath of one bad crash - ambulance, backboard and all. According to the road marshall it was caused by wheel overlap in a paceline. Hope it turned out OK, it looked pretty scary.

The party at the finish line was fun. The chocolate fountain was not a fountain but a dip by the time I got there, but still... Unfortunately I didn't win the raffle. All in all I had a wonderful ride! (Now let's not talk about that horrendous drive back to SLC...)