2020 True Grit Epic Mountain Bike Race Report
The True Grit Epic Mountain Bike Race is an iconic, challenging, technical 100 or 50-mile race in Saint George, UT. The course consists of one or two loops through beautiful desert scenery and on some of the best trails in the area. Racers see a mix of technical trails and also fast flowy trails while climbing 10,000’ of vertical in 100 miles.
Race day- Saturday, March 14th2020 started out better than most people would have expected. The rain forecasted all night and through the morning had subsided the previous evening and racers woke up to partially sunny skies. The 100-mile racers were delayed by 40 minutes to help the course dry from the previous days heavy rainfall. At 8:40am they lined up and the race began.
At 9:00am the 50-mile racers started. After the neutral roll out on paved roads, racers began a short steep gravel climb to the cove wash area. Once over the climb, riders encountered heavy areas of mud. Almost immediately, people were stopped and walking their bikes through the mud or clearing the mud off of their bike. The gravel roads continued with areas of heavy mud and then completely ride-able sections. Some racers turned back at this point, carrying their bikes on their backs. Some bikes fared better in the mud while others became 50lbs with wheels that wouldn’t move. At this point the race changed from being a test of fitness to a test of who could avoid the mud, who’s bike handled the mud better and how long it took to get the mud off the bikes enough so they could be ridden.
Once past the muddy sections of road, the next area of road climbs and single-track descents was in much better shape. It’s sad to know this area of riding will almost all be demolished in the coming years as housing developments are being built here. At this point racers climbed up to the waterfall, descended and soon after went through Aid 1 at Zen. From here on out, the trails were in great condition. Zen, Bear Claw Poppy, Stucki, and Barrel Roll were all in hero dirt conditions. Finishing Barrel Roll, the 100 mile racers were directed to finish instead of taking a 2ndlap. The mud in the very first section was a large concern and all 100-mile racers ended up with a shortened 50-mile race.
For the 100-mile men, Taylor Lideen (Pivot), Kyle Trudeau (CZracing), Carry Smith and Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz) rode together until the mud sections. Here Tostado got caught in the mud while the others managed to ride through. Lideen, Trudeau and Smith rode together through the muddy sections. At the last large mud pit, Smith told the others to get off their bikes and walk around. Lideen and Trudeau put time on Smith throughout the first lap and when they learned after Barrel roll they would not be going out for another lap, the two decided to roll in to the finish together. For the pro men, Trudeau took 1stas he will be racing the whole NUE series (3:44:02), Lideen 2nd(3:44:04) and Tostado 3rd(3:54:12).
For the 100-mile women – Carla Williams (CarboRocket) was in the lead for the entire first lap. She won in a time of 4:44:02 followed by Julia Thumel (4:58:52), and Heidi Coulter (6:10:33).
For the 50 mile pro men; Brennon Peterson (Bear Professional Team), Mathieu Belanger- Barrette (BarreTendre Racing), and Spencer Glasgow rode together until they took a wrong turn on to the 15 mile course. After back tracking, they passed many of the other 50-mile riders. Peterson was climbing very fast and put space on the other top men. He eventually caught all of the 100-mile racers except the top three men. Peterson won, finishing in a time of 3:33:20, followed by Belanger- Barrette in 2nd(3:56:01), and Glasgow in 3rd(3:59:02).
For the 50-mile pro women, the first mud pits stopped all the women as they tried to clear mud off bikes. Marlee Dixon (Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles) took the lead, followed by KC Holley (Kuhl) and Sparky Moir (Pivot Cycles). After fighting a mechanical in the mud, Nicole Tittensor (Team Tittensor) caught all the girls except Dixon and stayed in 2ndplace until she flatted on Barrel Role. Dixon won in a time of 4:42:09, followed by Holley in 2nd(5:03:20), and Moir in 3rd(5:08:29).
The True Grit Epic is one of the most technical 100-mile races in the country. With the added sections of clay-like mud at the beginning, this year was exceptionally challenging. For those that were able to finish the race, what started as a challenging course ended with pristine conditions and beautiful weather.
See full results here: https://gropromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Final-Results-2020-Saturday-100-mile-race-2.pdf