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2017 Lost & Found Race Report – Todd Dodds

June 08th, 2017

Adam, Bill, Jed, John, Jonz, Paul and myself raced the 2017 Lost and Found Gravel Grinder Race which was held in Lake Davis near Portola.  The course was a 93 mile mix of gravel and paved roads with approximately 6500 feet of climbing.  There was 6 fairly big climbs throughout the course.  Note: Paul opted for the shorter course so he could ride with Bobby McMullen.  It was great he could ride with the former Redding local.

 

The start time was a 8:35 and we were blessed with great weather.  People started lining up pretty early so when we rolled up we were mid pack.  I had talked to Jonz earlier about the previous years starts and he indicated that they were not a drag race so I was fine starting where I did.  As it turned out, it was a benefit to do so which I will explain later.

 

When the gun went off, we saw the riders in the front roll off and we were bottlenecked so we were not moving for what seemed like a lifetime.  However, I kept Jonz experience in my head and did not panic.  We finally started to roll and I was able to quickly move up in the group on the paved section of road.  Before we hit the first big climb I was in the top 15 and was able to relax a little since I had the lead rider in sight.  Riding up the first climb I started picking off riders until we hit the top and I found myself into a group of 5 others.  It looked like 3 of the riders were in my field so I had to constantly assess how much energy they expending and how they looked on the bike.  I figured we were in the top 10 at that point.  I ended up riding with that group to Aid Station #3 which was 57 miles.  All of us stopped which was welcomed because I was nearly out of water.

 

We refueled quickly and got back on our bikes.  When we rolled out we picked up another 5 riders or so which turned out to be some other Open riders and some Pro riders who had started the race at 8:30.  We were greeted with a 20 mile pavement section which all of us were grateful for.  About 15 miles into the 20 mile section one of the guys in the group rolled off the front which I wasn’t worried about because he was not in my field.  However, about a mile later another guy rolled off and he was in my field.  I contemplated rolling with him but I knew that we had quite a few miles left so I hesitated for a little bit.  Soon after seeing him roll off I thought I could get the group motivated to accelerate a little so I got in the front and turned it up slightly.  I looked back and there was a gap that quickly formed so I knew that I was on my own at that point.  I had my competitor in sight so I knew that I had to keep up the pace if I had any chance of catching him.  Also, I knew that if I kept him in sight all the way to the top of the next climb I could probably catch him on the descent.

 

I finally hit the end of the paved section and last final Aid Station which I did not stop at.  I was feeling pretty good at that point and I had brought enough food that would allow for one stop throughout the ride.  As it turned out, that was to my benefit.  My competitor did decide to stop for a quick bottle fill up which I did not know until after the race was over.  I hit the dirt section and kept the pace at a pretty high level with the hopes of catching him.  I came to a section that forced you to dismount and there were a few riders there (riders from the 60 mile race) that caused a bottleneck.  I looked up and saw the two guys that had rolled off the group we were riding with on the pavement.  I was so happy at that point.  We had dropped the large group we were with on the pavement and I was with two strong guys that I could ride with all the way to the finish.

 

We ended up riding together for the remaining miles and kept a solid pace.  I am not sure how many people we passed from the 60 mile field but it seemed like a lot.  Anyway, we got to the top of the last climb and thought that I had a great chance to drop these guys on the descent and roll to the finish on my own.  As it turned out the descent was short and had recently been graded so my plan did not work out as well I had hoped.  As I got to the bottom and hit a small but steep kicker on the pavement I saw both of them coming for me.  I dug as deep as I could but my legs were shot.  They caught me at the top of the short climb and we were together again.  We rolled for about 200 meters and I was 2nd wheel and my competitor was 3rd wheel.  He made a vicious attack and I tried to roll with him but I was shot and could not bridge up so I settled back in and was happy that the finish line was seconds away.  However, I saw my competitor sit up a little and I thought I better try again so I attacked before we hit a little dirt section that led to the finish line.  He looked back as I was gaining on him and he stood up to attack again.  We were nearly neck and neck at the finish line but he ended up finishing just ahead of me.

 

I was so happy to have the race behind me and have a finishing time of 5 hours 36 minutes.  I was greeted by Paul which was great.  It was nice to see a familiar face at the finish.  Anyway, the guy I finished with must have started the race at the front of the group because his overall time ended up being a little bit longer than mine so I finished ahead of him.  By the way, he won the 2016 Lost and Found race.

 

Final result:

4th in my field (41 – 50) – 8 minutes behind the winner who had the fastest overall time for the Open Fields

7th overall in the Open Field (Mike Castaldo from Chico – he is riding very strong and is an overall cool guy)

Adam, Jed and Bill finished the race and for the most part had a great time.  Adam looked a little tired but overall happy.

John and Jonz were not at their usual best but they managed to find their way back to the finish with a little help from some friends.

 

Overall, we had a great time.  I want to thank John for allowing us to stay at Royce and Colleen’s place in Almanor Friday night.  It was nice having a great meal at Tantardino’s Friday night and great cup of coffee Saturday morning at 4:30.  And of course, thanks Owens for all the support you give us.

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June 08th, 2017 12:55:58