The top men soloists were on single speeds! I think single speed is the way to go for long events like this because as long as you don't pick a monster gear you save yourself throughout the race. Monte did a great job trying to reel in his team with killer lap times, but unfortunately his new found gears might have got the better of him and cut his race short. I'm sure racing every weekend since February and not resting much has a lot to do with it too. Get some rest Monte and you'll be killing it again soon. I think my 34x21 was just right for this longer race. If I come back for a short race I would use a 19 or 20.
The course was really amazing! There was only a few sections that were muddy despite the 2 inches of rain the night before. The worst of it came as a freshly bulldozed logging road that had most of the climbing for the race. The tires just got stuck and slopped mud over the brakes and gear(s). But once that was over you got to go through 40 feet of standing water that washed the mud from the tires and then my bike would feel lighter again. Then it was down hill swoopy awesomeness that was wicked fun! The rest of the lap was all like that with a few short climbs that were not too hard but towards the end of the race I was walking up.
I thought my back would kill me or my butt, but they didn't. My hands started to hurt a lot and get those blisters under the callus but then I switched to my old fox gloves that had some padding in them and they worked perfect. I wish they still made those. That WTB rocket v saddle worked really well. I kept the tire pressure around 23 and that helped too. I'm still not too happy with the lack of clearance the rear tire gets. Rocks were getting lodged between the tire and frame and grinding. Not cool. I also found out the next day that I broke a spoke on the rear wheel.