Red Bull Final Descent: 12 Hour Downhill

Hands down, the most gnarly race I have ever raced!!!

Staging started at 6:30am. Race started at 7am. Finished my last lap at like 7:10pm? 32 laps later.

I am always up for a good challenge, that's why I entered this race. With that said, I have never done a race like this...I have definitely done really long days in bike parks, but nothing like this. This was full on from start to finish. I had a strategy going into this race but without having done a race like this before it is hard to get the strategy spot on. I had no idea how important the start was...the start at 7am! You would think being a 12 hour race and all, the start wouldn't be THAT important but by getting a bad start I was already off to an entire chairlift ride disadvantage. The problem is that everyone is of similar speeds so everyone gets to the bottom and once you are at the bottom...there is a 15 second gap for every chair and you only load 2 people every 2-3 chairs. So when you have all of the competitors at the bottom waiting to get on the chair, its is going to space things out a fair bit! I went there to win so I was obviously slightly discouraged when I figured out that major miscalculation but at the same time I was there to have fun and put up a good fight right till the end! And I had fun too. At times. hahaha.

Food is important I mostly ate Navitas Naturals Power Snacks and a lot of water. Seemed to work pretty well. I could have used a bit of fruit too though. Kinda hard without pit support. Also, 32 laps is a long time on a bike park trail to not check your bolts but each lap was such a rush Icouldn't stop myself long enough to check the bolts. Now that's scary. Every run I was thinking please don't come loose, please don't come loose, please don't come loose! Bolts come loose, doesn't matter what bike it is, what components you've got...check your bolts boys and girls. Luckily none of mine came loose....BUT it sure was on the front of my mind!

Anyway, 12 hours hurts. Basically we rode one lift up, had a 1+ minute sprint to the next chairlift rode that chairlift up and had a 10+ minute downhill on the most used and abused trail on the mountain with a million braking bumps. The track itself was simple, I could have ridden my XC bike on it but the braking bumps made it totally necessary for a big bike...and even with a big bike my arms and my body in general hurt so bad. My arms were tender to the touch. ha.

Despite my bad start,  I put in a serious effort to make some ground on the other girls, and I was making some serious ground and then I pretty much bonked. I was like done, done... like I am going to get seriously hurt if I keep going kinda done. Riding fatigued is scary. But somehow I managed to push on and went into auto-pilot for the next 6 hours.

I really enjoyed the chase when I was trying to gain ground on the other girls...the was probably my favorite part oft the day. My least favorite part was when I was pretty much bonking, I was sooooo tired and I was not having fun, every run just hurt. A LOT. But I made it, right through to the end and I finished in 3rd- 1 lap behind first place and on the same lap as 2nd. To be honest I was pretty happy with the 3rd, I put in my best effort and I had nothing left in the tank. :)

One of my favorite things of the whole race was the feeling after...I loveeee feeling that tired. Feels like my body did it's job and I love it!!!

Stoked I did it, not sure if it is for me...but come next year you will probably see me out there once again because I will forget how bad it hurt and how much it sucked at times. hahah. And I want to win! :)


Katie Holden