The Boggs 8-Hour race has been running for nine years now, but this year marks the first time we trekked up to see what it was all about. Inga was signed up to race as part of a 3 lady team with her Luna Chix teammates, and I decided to tag along last minute to offer trackside support and be her pit crew, as well as take some photos for her.
The course for the event consists of an 8 mile loop, and utilizes a few unimproved road sections for the reasonably graded climbs in addition to some fun rolling single track.
During the course of the day I managed to grab Inga’s back up bike and do a loop to sample the course and got a taste of the racing action. Although politely passing riders on the course could at times be a hell of a challenge, the nine mile loop was quite fun, and it got my gears turning for next year.
I didn’t race the event this time, but I’m planning to make it a point to register next year. While waiting on the side of the trail to get a shot of Inga, I shot a few hundred racers, and as opposed to letting all the photos sit on my hard drive, I reached out to our friends on Facebook that raced to hear the stories of their day.
For a first time 8 hour racer, Boggs was exactly what I imagined. A difficult race, but fun at the same time. Rockin’ a hardtail was the way to go. Push yourself on the climbs, then enjoy the sweet singletrack descents each lap. I had never ridden more than 24 miles on my mountain bike until Boggs, which I managed 4 laps with each under an hour. My secret? Eat something before the killer end climb! I was able to push past riders at the last climb to sprint ahead. Though I crashed once and practically rode singlespeed for one lap, I enjoyed my day and hope to get 5 laps next year!
Not sure if I made it into your pics, but if so I was number 664. Peter Durham was 665 and our 3rd was 666. Here’s a write-up for the site:
The Boggs Mountain 8 hr relay turns out to be the perfect race for the formerly fit racer who now rides about 1/4 as much as he used to, but who still wants to race. Don’t have the endurance for a 2+ hour XC race, but still want to get out an hammer? Race Boggs on a 3 person team. You’ll get to hammer a lap in 40-55 minutes, then have about 1.5hrs to recover before doing it again. And again. And possibly even a 4th time. My weekly ride time is down from several 3+ hr mtb rides per week to one 1.5-2hr ride and maybe a 30 minute commute each way once a week. However I have added HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts aka bootcamp 2x per week since I can do them at work. Apparently that has kept me in enough shape for shorter, harder efforts, like a lap at Boggs. Whereas a 2+ race with no stops would finish me right now. So, if you don’t have the endurance for longer events, try Boggs. It’s definitely worth it! The fact that the course has so much fast, flowing single track doesn’t hurt either. 🙂 -David
A super fun race with a great atmosphere of people. Unfortunately, a lot of us were unhappy with how they grouped expert riders with pros, as if expert class isn’t hard enough. But besides that, the xc course is super fun, including the Super D. Definitely a race not to miss.
This years Boggs 8hr race was not only my first Boggs but it was also my first race. It was everything my friends told me it would be; lots of bikes, lots of dirt and tons of fun! I joined a team and we competed in the womens 3 person category. It was the perfect way for me to experience my first race. We arrived Friday afternoon and pre-rode the course which made race day a bit easier. The trails were great XC trails, some fire road and climbing along with some slightly technical single track, very fun too. Over the last several months I did a lot of training as well attend some skills clinics, one with Bikeskills. Bikeskills have some great coaches and coaching techniques. This help tremendously to better my riding skills and prepare me for this race. We did better than I thought we would (due to my lack of experience) and came in at 6th place with each of us completing 3 laps. Overall Boggs was a great experience that I got to enjoy with my amazing teammates, many of my awesome friends, and making new friends. I will definitely race again next year.
Boggs is the one race of the season where you bring your A game, but leave your attitude at home. I’d always done it as a 2-man team, crushing a hotlap, relaxing for 40 minutes, rinse and repeat. This year, I chose to do the solo tour, mostly because I wanted to compete in the newish 3-day enduro (or funduro as the Bike Monkeys call it). My plan was to do a hotlap to get ahead of the traffic (and the fastest lap counts toward the enduro), then ease into a sustainable pace for the rest of the day. Right on target for about 6 laps, then the wheels fell off the bus.
I made some Alan Lim “portables” – fancy little sticky rice cakes, individually wrapped for each lap. Little did I know that I would have ZERO appetite for something savory while pinning it all day and they all just sat in my cooler at the pit. I had a couple of oranges and a couple of those really awesome salted caramel GUs that came out last x-mas. But alas, it was not enough food to sustain total glycogen depletion for an 8-hr race and I bonked hard. Still managed to grind out 3 more laps, burning fumes and a few pounds of body fat that I stored from excessive IPA consumption the past couple of months.
It was interesting watching old ladies blitz by me up the fire road climb in lap 9 – the same old ladies I aggressively passed at double their speed just 3 laps prior, hence, checking attitude at the door. But still, my hotlap, combined with a pretty decent hill climb the day before and peppy super D time the next day put me in a good spot in the overall “funduro” – 6th place, which included the genetic misfit pros they somehow decided should be in the same class. Those Bike Monkeys know how to put on a good race.
Racing Boggs solo is an annual experiment for me. Each year after the race, I push my dusty creaking bike back to my tent, pausing only to exchange my number plate for a bowl of whatever-they-are-serving and a hollow ‘hey’ to whomever I happen to recognize.
I break a cardinal velomati rule by eating in my wretched kit, sitting on a stump while picking dirt out from under my nails and wondering how much more fun I would have riding on a team. I swear not to race alone again. I wonder how much more fun I would have on a team how much faster I would be on the single track, and what it would be like to have the time to sit next to the course and listen to a stranger’s girlfriend complain about the TP missing from the porta-potties.
And every year, I check the solo box during sign up, just to see if I can do it again. This year I rode 8 laps, just over 70 miles, a new personal record and the furthest I’ve ridden a mountain bike in a single day. I finished mid-pack, in between racers of all shapes and sizes. I picked people with shiny new bikes and shitty form to beat and riders twice my age routinely passed me. My first 4 laps each took just under an hour, including a break to refill bottles. I cursed my way through laps 5 and 6, doing long division while pedaling up the fire road and along now-too-familiar paths. I took a break in the pits before lap 7 and had a PBJ and a Redbull. Breakfast of champions. Lap 7 ended up being my fastest and just for the hell of it, I went an 8th lap, which ended up taking 20 minutes longer than 7.
I cracked, I hurt, I pedaled, I frowned, I finished. There are 51 more weeks before the next Boggs. Plenty of time to forget the aches and pains and check the solo box again.
About Bogg’s Mountain
Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest is about a two hour drive north of the Bay Area. Managed by CalFire, the forest is open year round for public recreation and popular with campers, hikers, equestrians and of course, mountain bikers. There are about 14 miles of multi-use trails that roll through the forest. Although no water is available on the site, there are a number of campsites available.
Learn more about the event at Bikemonkey.net