La vie de vélo

Adventures in cycling and life

Rio Bravo Rumble 2009

The Rio Bravo was a great was to start out the season. It is a biathalon, 10k run with a 16 mile bike, both off road. Held out in Bakersfield so there was a hefty 2.5 hr commute each way. It is beautiful country despite the crappiness that is the central valley industrialized-agriculture.


We were supposed to get up at 5:15ish. My body decided that I didn’t need the sleep and I got up at 4:00 .. used the extra time to drink a few extra cups of coffee and load up the ipod with some new tunes.

We got registered and I watched Jos take off for the 10k running leg.


She was a bit “gut sick” and psyched out by the hills but I still was hoping she would get her target time of 1:10. Well she did 9 minutes better! I was barely done with my warm up when she zoomed into the transition area looking suitably exhausted for such an effort (I think her exact words were “Get back or I’ll vomit on you”)


I threw on the timing anklet and took off. I was passing people at a pretty steady rate on the initial climb which was mostly fireroad.


A good portion of the cyclists were using cyclocross bikes so I thought the whole course would be cake. Then it turned off the trail and onto … nothing. See the hills around this ranch were just wide open pasture so they did it “jungle cross” style with the course (poorly marked by white spray-painted arrows) just busting across the open grassy slopes. This led to some creative passing lines, interesting navigation requirements and some off-cambre, cow-crap encrusted, cow-hoof rutted, pseudo-trail descending. It wasn’t what one would call “technical” but I was glad I had my 2″ tires.

Speaking of which, my stans raven rear tire burped air pretty badly on one of the descents leaving me with 15 psi. Cost me a minute to pump it back up. There goes all the time I saved my lowering my rotational weight. Grrrr…

Only one guy passed me the whole time and I think I hit my VO2Max trying to stick with the bastard and his 17 lb Redline cyclocross bike up one of the steep climbs (of which there were many). There were also a lot of flatish dirt road sections around the orchards which were time-trail territory, a definite advantage to the cyclocross riders.

Anyways, I did the 16 mile MTB portion in about 1:06. Would have gained me second place in the MTB-only race.. not bad! For an early season race, I felt OK but my endurance waned near the end. I let my HR slide way down a few times near the finish. My lower back was hurting and my hamstrings and glutes were tight; probably from pushing too big a gear and doing all the climbing in the saddle (my style). A lot to improve on but a good way to start the season.


And, of course, a great way to share the day with my girl! Our team got 5th place out of 12 teams in the combined-age < 89 category.



January 18, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Congrats Matt and Joselyne!!
    And cool blog.

    Comment by Sarah | January 24, 2009 | Reply

  2. Matt & Jos,

    Awesome race! Sarah and I could never do anything like that together…. Now that we’ve found your awesome blog you can expect two loyal readers and lots of comments. Let’s make some plans for Sea Otter.

    Matt: Expert podiums are in your near future!


    Comment by John Comunale | January 24, 2009 | Reply

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