Written by racing member, Evan Blackard
Rudolph’s Revenge is a 30-mile or 40-mile mountain bike race held on the Ray Roberts Greenbelt Corridor, the road between the FM455 Greenbelt access point and Isle du Bois State Park (FM455), the road in Isle du Bois State Park (from the park entrance to the DORBA trailhead), and the DORBA Trail at Isle du Bois. This year, it was held on Saturday, December 20th, with a start time of 9:00 A.M. Temps were in the low 40s and it was overcast and damp.
The 30-mile version began with a mass start from the red bridge at the FM428 access point of the Greenbelt Corridor. The start was very “low-key” compared to many XC races, with very few sprinting from the onset. Even those that did, quickly realized that the open areas of the Greenbelt trail would be better experienced in a drafting pack, and let the main group catch up. Drafting was very important on the greenbelt and the initial road portion of the trail. Riders that did this well had significantly more energy reserves for the upcoming single track and the return on the road and Greenbelt gravel.
After riding the Greenbelt and some road (around 9 miles) from the FM455 access point to the park, into the park, and all the way to the trailhead, the single track portion of the race began. Isle du Bois is a demanding trail both technically and aerobically, although more so technically. It is very well balanced with climbs and descents, and doesn’t have an abundance of “lung-busting” extended climbs or open flats to “pound.” The technical aspect of the trail is largely due to the short, rocky climbs and descents in the D and E loops of the trail. There are many and they are tricky. I walked 3 or 4 sections after putting a foot down. I got the impression that increased familiarity with the trail would help with that, although it would be technically difficult nonetheless.
The Isle du Bois trail is around 10 miles and is fantastically fun. It’s a great place to destroy your legs because you’re having a blast while you’re doing it.
The road and gravel on the return was NOT fantastically fun. It was the identical route you took to get to the trailhead but in reverse, except this time, there was no one to draft with. It was punishing for everyone, but particularly for those who were better in the trees than on the road (like me). It seemed like it went on forever and it was just flat-out suffering (I got reeled in by a rider that I had put around a minute gap on in the single track). Painful. 😊
The 30 mile version and the 40 mile version race the same course, but the 40 mile version did the singletrack TWICE. (Ouch… Ask Ben.)
Shawn McAfee and his family provided pancakes and coffee, and The Sock Guy provided some free socks for the riders. Shawn also used your entrance fee to work an arrangement with the state park to cover all the riders entries to the park. There were about 50 total racers in the 30 mile and 30ish in the 40 mile.
BWR had three participants:
Benjamin Leach, Nick Castro, and Evan Blackard.
Jesse Bernal from BWR is the trail steward at IDB and does an amazing job. There was rain leading up to the event that threatened to move the race to its backup date, but in the end, the race was a “go” and the trail was in fantastic shape. Thanks, Jesse.
I would highly recommend this race: multi-discipline, higher than average XC milage, in a “race void” time of year, held on a fantastic trail, and staffed by some really friendly people.
Rudolph may have had his revenge…
but I’ll be back.
- Evan Blackard, 2:28:52, 13th
- Nick Castro, DNF
40 Mile Singlespeed
- Benjamin Leach, 4:10:19, 5th
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